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College will offer Accounting Certificate

Augustana will offer an Accounting Certificate program beginning in the fall of 2011 that offers more credits so that students can take their CPA exam after graduation.

The faculty senate approved the program in the fall of 2010 at the request of the accounting faculty and students.

Students who go into public accounting need to pass the CPA exam. However, in order to take the exam, the student must have 150 college credit hours. John Delaney, accounting professor, said most students earn 123-132 hours at Augustana and then get the additional hours at other colleges through master's programs or summer courses.

"Our students over the past few years have asked why there is no certificate or master's program at Augustana," he said. "

He said a certificate program was proposed instead of a master's degree because the cost would be substantially less. Also, CPA firms polled by the department indicated that master's degrees are not required, and that Augustana students would be looked upon favorably if they did complete a certificate program.

"In fact, based upon our discussions with all the Big Four accounting firms (and other smaller firms), they find no correlation between job performance/promotion and attainment of a master’s degree," said Pamela Druger, accounting professor. "The employers are only concerned that applicants be 'CPA ready' prior to employment — that is, meet the education requirements to take the CPA exam."

The certificate program will combine current requirements of the business administration major and accounting major, coupled with two additional accounting electives and existing courses offered by other majors, including religion and communication studies.

The certificate program would provide a standard set of courses to ensure students gain the competencies needed to take the CPA exam. Some courses would be offered in the summer.

CPA Exam education requirements

In March 2010, the Illinois Board of Examiners published a proposed amendment to the education requirements for the CPA exam. The proposed requirement includes 30 semester credit hours in accounting and 24 semester hours in business.

The subject matter of the accounting courses will need to include financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting. The 30-hour requirement must include two hours of research and analysis in accounting, and internships are limited to a maximum of three hours. Though only 30 hours of accounting are required to meet the minimum standard, it is common that CPA candidates complete several additional accounting courses before taking the exam through master's or certificate programs.

The 24-hour business requirement must include two hours of business communication and three hours of business ethics. Business courses that qualify are those commonly included in the business curriculum and cover some or all of the following subject matter: business ethics; business law; economics; management; marketing; finance; business communication; business statistics; quantitative methods; information systems; or internships. A maximum of three internship credits are allowed to count towards the 24-hour business requirement.

Students who complete both the accounting and business administration majors, as currently designed, would easily meet these requirements.

ACCOUNTING CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS

1. COMPLETION OF 150 TOTAL HOURS

2. COMPLETION OF ACCOUNTING MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

3. COMPLETION OF

___3 Hours BUSN341 Business Law
___3 Hours BUSN205 Business Writing
___3 Hours RELG327 Business Ethics
___6 Hours Additional Accounting Electives From

ACCT451 Fraud Investigation
ACCT452 Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting
ACCT453 Corporate Accounting
ACCT454 Advanced Auditing
ACCT455 Advanced Managerial
ACCT456 Advanced Tax

4. RECOMMENDED SUPPORT COURSES

___3 Hours COMM401 Business and Professional Communication