Exploring Careers in Accounting

    The School of Business recently hosted on campus 350 high school students from around the state who are interested in majoring in accounting. Partnering with the School were the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants (CSCPA), SCSU admissions staff, and accounting faculty. The conference was an example of community impact and engagement and of workforce responsiveness.

    Teachers of accounting classes from the following high schools brought their classes: AITE (Academy of Information Technology & Engineering), Berlin High School, Bethel High School, Brien McMahon High School, Bristol Central High School, Bristol Eastern High School, Cheshire High School, Coginchaug Regional High School, Crosby High School, Farmington High School, Hill Regional Career High School, Litchfield High School, New Britain High School, New Fairfield High School, Norwalk High School, Ridgefield High School, Terryville High School, Westbrook High School, Wethersfield High School, and Wilby High School.

    In addition to being informative for students in attendance, the event also gave the School of Business an opportunity to showcase its accounting curriculum. The accounting concentration is designed to prepare students for careers as professional accountants, and non-business majors can minor in accounting. In addition, Southern now offers a new Certificate in Accounting program for individuals interested in pursuing a career in accounting who currently hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college in a discipline other than accounting. This program has been developed in response to the tremendous demand for CPAs in the state of Connecticut.

    The certificate in accounting program began at the start of the fall 2014 semester. Students take eight required courses in undergraduate accounting for a total of 27 credits. Admission to the program requires a minimum GPA of 2.3 at the undergraduate level, along with a bachelor’s degree.

    “The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a highly regarded, dynamic and lucrative profession,” says Janet Phillips, chairwoman of the Accounting Department. “There is tremendous demand for CPAs both because employment opportunities for accountants and auditors are anticipated to grow rapidly, and because of the expected exodus of soon-to-be-retired CPAs. The new certificate program is an excellent avenue to aid in the pursuit of joining the accounting profession as a second career.”

    A 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13.1-percent growth between 2012 and 2022 for accountants and auditors. The national median annual salary for an accountant in May 2012 was $63,550.

    Phillips says the program is geared toward two populations of students already holding undergraduate degrees; those with a non-accounting, business degree (such as marketing, management or finance), and those with a degree in a non-business field.

    “Students who have an undergraduate accounting degree and are looking to advance their education would be better served by the MBA program with a concentration in accounting,” she says.

    Phillips notes that becoming a licensed CPA is a multi-step process. First, individuals must meet the minimum education requirements to take the exam. The certificate in accounting will enable them to do so provided that they also have 22 credits in general business courses outside of accounting. Second, students must pass the CPA exam. Third, students must gain two years of experience working full time for a CPA, as well as having accumulated at least 36 credits in accounting; 30 credits in general business courses and a total of 150 overall credits. Individuals also must pass a self-study ethics course in Connecticut.

    The exam for CPAs in Connecticut includes four sections – auditing and attestation; financial accounting and reporting; regulation, and business environment and concepts.

    “The new SCSU certificate of accounting program is a practical, accessible and affordable means to begin meeting qualifications to become a Connecticut CPA,” Phillips says. “The certificate is evidence of the SCSU School of Business’s commitment to meeting the needs of the state workforce and emerging economy.”

    For further information about the program, call the Accounting Department at (203) 392-5691.