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State Board Report

July 2016

The career possibilities offered by an education in accounting have encouraged some bright, articulate students to focus on the discipline, as was evidenced at NASBA’s Regional Meetings. Student panelists at both meetings stressed the importance of inspiring teachers, classroom time and personal contacts in guiding them to their curriculum choices. Participants in the panels were: Eastern – Eric Bajek (Rutgers University – NJ), Kamela Marjarie Brown (North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University), Adam Gerald Holsing (Florida State University) and Malcolm Avery Mueller (Ohio University); Western – Richard Eric Duron (University of Colorado – Denver), Jaylea Michelle Lillard (East Central University – OK), Erica Clarice McDonald (Creighton University – NE) and Taylor Marie Rock (University of Kentucky).

In response to NASBA Center for the Public Trust President Alfonzo Alexander’s question as to what caused these students to focus on accounting, Mr. Mueller replied: "I came into college as a finance major and my accounting professor convinced me to come into accounting. The CPA is the gold standard." He was impressed by the ability to practice in multiple states and the possibility of working on international assignments. Mr. Bajek also said he switched over to accounting: "I wanted to become a detective. I learned that to do that you don’t have to be a criminal justice major: Accounting offers a huge amount of added opportunities."

Western panelists were asked by Mr. Alexander to identify their most "exciting accounting class." Ms. Lillard said it was the computer class for accountants, including EXCEL. Ms. McDonald replied that because of her professor, cost accounting was the most exciting for her. Similarly, Ms. Rock said because of her professor the first accounting course was the most exciting. Mr. Duron gave his vote to financial accounting. In response to the same question at the Eastern Regional, Mr. Bajek and Mr. Mueller both thought cost accounting was the best. Ms. Brown said that was her least favorite course and selected intermediate accounting – 2 as the best. Mr. Holsing picked advanced information systems.

Asked about getting the required 150 credits for a CPA, one panelist said she had taken enough Advanced Placement courses so that she had a full year of college credit and would be able to get her master’s degree within her four years at college. Another said he was going to have a double major in business intelligence and will have accumulated 150 hours with both. However, a third said he would take his last few courses in a community college studying photography, introduction to logic and, perhaps, guitar. He explained that he was going to exercise his "creative side."

Overall, the panelists gave high marks to their teachers. Ms. Brown commented: "My professors made students feel like family, sending you e-mails of things you might be interested in and inviting you to their homes for dinner. All my accounting professors are licensed CPAs."

Mr. Alexander asked the students how family members had reacted to their career choice. "Both my parents were English majors," Mr. Mueller answered, "and they didn’t want me to go into the liberal arts. They were happy I wanted to go into accounting."

The students had all attended the NASBA Center for the Public Trust’s Student Leadership Conference, held June 21-23 in Denver. It brought together 69 students, coming from 25 schools that have Student Center for the Public Trust Chapters and 11 schools that are looking to start chapters in the coming year.

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