School of Accountancy and Finance

B.S. Accounting

Why Accounting?

To Make A Difference

A vast understanding of business processes, financial reporting, taxation and business regulation places the accountant in the role of financial doctor. Just as M.D.s perform check-ups, diagnose illnesses and prescribe programs of treatment to help restore and maintain their patients' health, through audits and advising, accountants help organizations to remain healthy and grow. An audit is an annual examination of a company's controls, transactions and financial reports by a CPA (certified public accountant). At the close of the examination, the CPA will give an unbiased opinion as to the fairness and completeness of the company's financial reports. Investors, lenders, government agencies and others rely on the CPA's opinion to help them determine the quality of financial information they are receiving from the company.

To Be Challenged

Accounting is one of the most challenging and value-adding of the business curricula. Students learn the financial language of business; how to assess, measure and report on the profitability and financial health of an organization; and ultimately how to recommend solutions to business problems. The practice of accounting — whether in the for-profit, not-for-profit or governmental sectors of the economy — is challenging. Seeking to help organizations increase their efficiency and effectiveness, accountants identify and research business problems, determine which solutions are viable and present recommendations based on sound logic.

To Have Choices

Accountants are essential to all organizations. Whether it is a business, a government agency, a hospital, a church, a school or the Red Cross, all organizations have finances to manage, and resources to employ efficiently and effectively. Accountants are needed to report on the organization's use of resources and help the organization plan and assess the merits of its programs and alternatives. Accountants help organizations restructure activities to get the most out of their resources. Because accountants are idea and solutions people — professionals who exercise judgment — their work is varied, dynamic and challenging. Having a thorough understanding of the financial aspects of business — along with good presentation and people skills — accountants frequently move into management positions or start their own businesses. The study of accounting also provides an excellent base for students who are planning to enter law school or pursue a career in federal law enforcement.

To Be a Professional

Many occupations claim to be professional, however, professions always include a duty to society, recognized expertise, certifications, a code of professional ethics and a commitment to lifelong learning. To serve organizations and society, accountants seek certification, subscribe to and advocate codes of ethical conduct and complete continuing education programs each year. Why all this commitment to learning? Consider: Would you want to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor who has not read a medical journal or attended a medical conference since finishing medical school? 

To Be Respected and Trusted

Society expects accountants to be ethical and monitor the ethics of the organizations they serve. Because of their commitment to honesty, confidentiality, unbiased decision-making and giving the best possible service and advice, accountants have become trusted organizational advisors. 

To Be Rewarded

It is rewarding to help an organization overcome its problems, grow and become better at what it does. Beyond this internal reward, accountants are among the highest paid business professionals. Accounting graduates typically are among those receiving the highest starting salary offers.

The following chart is adapted from information published in the 2012 Robert Half Salary Guide, as well as, information provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. A masters degree in accounting or an accounting certification — such as, CPA, CMA (certified management accountant), or CIA (certified internal auditor) — will add up to an additional 10 percent.

Public Accounting (audit, tax and management advisory services)

1st Year Large Company $51,500 – $64,250
  Small Company $42,250 – $57,250
1-3 Years Large Company $58,000 – $75,250
  Small Company $47,750 – $67,250
3-6 Years Large Company $71,000 – $94,250
  Small Company $57,000 – $86,000
1st Year Partner Large Company  >$500,000
  Small Company $100,700 – $500,000

*Large firm > $250,000,000 in sales, small firm < $250,000,000 in sales

Corporate Accounting (financial, tax, audit, cost, budget and treasury functions)

1st Year Large Company $41,250 – $58,500
  Small Company $36,750 – $55,250
1-3 Years Large Company $50,750 – $74,750
  Small Company $43,000 – $68,750
3-6 Years Large Company $67,750 – $97,250
  Small Company $52,250 – $87,750
Chief Financial Officer Large Company $189,750 – $411,000
  Small Company $96,750 – $190,500

*Large firm > $250,000,000 in sales, small firm < $250,000,000 in sales