Accounting grad program seen as improvement

Accounting grad program seen as improvement

Beginning Fall 2018, Baldwin Wallace University’s accounting program will be replacing the current MBA in accounting with a new program.

The Master of Accountancy program (MAcc) is set to meet specific criteria to enable students to further advance their accounting education and prepare them for the Certified Public Accountant Exam (CPA).

Assistant Professor Dan Schrag said that the new MAcc program will properly train students for the CPA exam, a qualification that ensures an individual is properly trained for the professional workplace.

“The CPA exam is an important designation for accountants,” said Schrag. “[Students] will be CPA ready the day that they finish.”

Department chair of the accounting and finance program, Linda Chase, said the MAcc gives students experience with Becker Professional Education, while the accounting faculty have implemented a two-semester, faculty-led capstone class, using Becker CPA review course materials.

“Becker education is the industry leader in CPA exam review,” said Chase. The Becker CPA review course costs $38,000 as a standalone course, and having that review embedded in a full sixteen-week semester eliminates that cost and allows thorough coverage of two out of four parts of the CPA exam, said Chase.

Chase said interaction with the Becker Professional Education was not the only reason for changing programs.

Chase said the MBA in accounting was originally 33-34 credit hours, involving four MBA core classes, while the rest of the courses were accounting focused, whereas the MAcc is 30 credit hours and will be strictly accounting focused.

Eliminating the MBA core classes allowed the MAcc to “bring in some new curriculum that is very pertinent to today’s work environment,” said Chase. “One of those examples is data analytics. We felt that the MBA in accounting was a great program, but with the curriculum choices that we made in the MAcc, we just felt that this was the time that it will help propel our students for a changing work environment.”

The MBA and MAcc strive to focus students for CPA licensure, but the MAcc is “the gold standard” across the country regarding preparation for the CPA exam and the accounting profession, said Chase.

Discussion for the new program began back in the fall semester of 2016, where the accounting department met weekly for a year to discuss all that would be considered for the new MAcc program.

Chase said the accounting faculty researched across the nation during the fall semester, while they brainstormed and talked to several companies to gather information in what was best for the program and students. Chase personally attended the Accounting Program Leader Group Conference where, after obtaining information from several well-accredited personnel throughout the conference, it became evident that the MAcc was the best program for the benefit of the students.

“What kind of curriculum we could develop, what kind of program, whether it was modifying the original [MBA] program, or should we move to a different program, it was all student focused,” said Chase.

After determining that the MAcc was the best option, Chase said the department presented two initial drafts to BW’s School of Business. Once approved, the department moved forward to receive approval from the university, and finally received approval from the state on December 7, 2017, which allowed the implementation of the MAcc program that will begin in the fall.