Know Your Concentration: Accounting

Interested in a Concentration in Accounting? Learn more from Associate Professor Susan Hughes below!

Susan Hughes, started at UVM in 2006 and has taught:

    • BSAD 161 – Intermediate Accounting
    • BSAD 263 – Environmental and Social Accounting & Reporting
    • BSAD 363 – Accounting Research, Regulation and Ethics (Masters of Accountancy)

Can you give a brief overview of what it means to be a Accounting concentration?

An accounting concentration prepares students for many career options. I’ve had prior students who knew they didn’t actually want to be accountants but wanted to be sure they had a good understanding of business operations and affects on financial performance and profitability.

What are some important things for students interested in Accounting to know?

Accounting graduates are much in demand by public accounting firms (the Big 4: Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC; mid-tier multi-office firms like RSM; local firms in every area of the country).  Public accounting firms hire students who have completed 150 hours of higher education and are ready to take and successfully pass the CPA exam. Many UVM students graduate with a BSBA including the accounting concentration and then complete their 150 hours through the 30 credit hour MAcc program. Students with finance or data analytic concentrations are also attractive to public accounting firms. It’s best if these students also complete BSAD 161 and 162 Intermediate Accounting 1 and 2, then complete the MAcc to be ready to sit for and pass the CPA exam. Some students chose to work for corporations, not-for-profits or governmental entities after they complete their undergraduate degree. Students with accounting degrees often describe themselves as being employed in auditing, tax research and compliance, advisory services including the design and review of internal controls, financial reporting, and consulting.

What are some big things happening in Accounting right now?

There is a lot of excitement in the accounting area. Many of the routine tasks that entry level personnel did in prior years have now been eliminated through technology. Entry level personal today have more complex job responsibilities and report higher levels of job satisfaction. The public accounting firms are all working on improving the work/life balance of their employees. Some firms provide four a five weeks of vacation per year to these new hires.  A recent publication from the Center for Audit Quality identifies the following characteristics for the auditor of the future: a global mindset, an innovative mindset, the ability to overcome biases, a strong sense of culture awareness, an interest in life-long learning, and a basic understanding of psychology.

What types of careers could students with a Accounting concentration pursue?

Many UVM undergraduates enter the MAcc program. Most of these students go to work with public accounting firms in Boston, Stamford CT, New York City, Denver and other big cities. Others choose to stay in Vermont where they can work for KPMG in Colchester or PwC in Montpelier, Johnson Lambert or Crowe in Burlington, or one of the many smaller CPA firms in the region. They enter as either audit or tax hires. After working in public accounting for some time, some choose to move on to public and private companies as financial analysts, Controllers, tax specialists, CFOs, and CEOs.

By Amanda Simpfenderfer
Amanda Simpfenderfer Amanda Simpfenderfer