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Program Helps To Fill CPA Licensing Requirements

Published: August 18, 2015

When aspiring Certified Public Accountants were informed in January 2014 that they would be required to have 150 hours of instruction to qualify for the license, they saw their salvation in the new Master of Science in Accountancy beginning this year at CSULB.

“CSULB provides the additional 30 units required to complete the 150 units and includes the relevant ethics courses including Professional Ethics required by 2017,” explained degree program director Rod Smith, a member of the university since 2006. Through a lock-step cohort-based model that begins every fall, the M.S. in Accountancy program consists of two semesters and a summer session. The first 14-member cohort will attend classes and complete three four-unit courses during the fall and spring terms, and six units in the first summer session.

Students interested in getting their CPA license can also work on taking their exams while completing the MS in Accountancy program.

Graduate students in the MSA program will work with the Career Development Center to help them continue their professional development and prepare for employment while pursuing their MSA. Additionally, students will interact with accounting professionals as active members of Beta Alpha Psi and the Accounting Society.

The new degree program to prepare CSULB students for a lifetime of public and private accounting jobs. “All the classes will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays and can be completed in one year,” explained Smith. We are trying to make it as easy as possible for our graduating seniors to move into the program. This year, the instruction begins in August and students will be out by July next year.

“We expect that many of the students will be working professionals,” he said. In the first year, half the students are international while the rest are local working professionals who need the additional hours to take their CPA exam. The Accounting faculty will teach the new classes that build on what the students learned as undergraduates. “Students will learn new material on such topics as corporate governance, accounting, auditing and business competence that they need for their CPA exams.”

The new program comes complete with an advisory board that will include accounting professionals, current and former students as well as faculty members. The advisory board represents local industries who have a history of recruiting at CSULB. “Our students will have the opportunity to talk with other professionals and CSULB’s Office of Career Services is ready to advise them. There’s an active market for accounting. This degree is valuable both for the department and the College of Business Administration. Accountancy is a good field to work for. Accountants are in high demand. It is a rewarding career.”

The master’s program prepares students for many careers. “I like to say accountants can do anything,” said Smith. “This degree is aimed at meeting the requirements of being a CPA and work in public accounting. The CPA certification looks good on a resume to work in almost any senior accounting position. It always has had a prominent place on my resume.”

Smith is grateful to the Accountancy Department and the College of Business Administration for their steady support of the new degree program. “This is important not only to the CBA but to the university as a whole,” he explained. “It is part of an active program that runs through the CSU in general to provide courses to meet the 150-hour requirement of the CPA exam.

“Plus, there is value in having this program here in Long Beach,” he added. “The market for accountants is probably at its peak in this area. We have all four of the major accounting firms working in this area. Long Beach is an active financial hub.”

Aspiring accountants ought to think about how they can get the biggest value for every dollar they invest in their education. “I think we provide that,” Smith said. “We are a bargain.”

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