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Accounting Major
  • Accountants play an important role in the operation of every business, government agency, and nonprofit organization. Accountants compile and summarize financial information and present it to shareholders, lenders, management, and regulatory agencies. Accountants must ensure that the information is prepared in accordance with both legal regulations and accepted standards of accounting. One challenge that accountants face is being able to communicate complex financial information in a way that is accurate yet understandable by those who use the information.

     
    Students considering a major in accounting should be able to analyze and summarize data, and should have good math skills and an interest in working with numbers. However, accountants must also have excellent oral and written communication skills so that they can effectively present and explain the relevance of complex financial information.

    Overview of the Accounting Program

    Like all students in the School of Management and Leadership, accounting majors take the University general education courses and a set of core business classes that provide the students with a broad business foundation. These foundation courses include math, economics, accounting, finance, marketing, law, ethics, information systems, and management. Accounting majors also take additional hours of upper-level accounting classes during their junior and senior years.

    The sample sequence of courses for the accounting major (PDF) will give you a clear overview of scheduling requirements and options.Course requirements for all majors and minors can be found in our online course bulletin.  

    Accounting Internships

    One important feature of the accounting major at Capital is the internship program. Potential employers interview qualified students on campus in the spring of their junior year for internships that begin in January of their senior year. Students work full-time on their internships for 8-10 weeks, and then return to campus to complete their accounting coursework during the final seven weeks of the spring semester. Not only do the students gain valuable work experience during their internships, but they receive both course credit and financial compensation.

    Accounting Courses

    Students who major in accounting gain exposure to a wide range of accounting specialties. Accounting majors take courses in financial, managerial, governmental, and tax accounting, and auditing and business law.

    For many courses, faculty emphasize the case approach, in which students solve complex cases that are intended to reflect “real world” situations. Students typically work on these cases in teams, and regularly practice their communication skills by making class presentations and completing written assignments.

    Accounting Faculty

    All of our full-time accounting faculty are CPAs with years of business experience. The faculty has a record of scholarship, including research and publishing, but the main focus of all faculty is on teaching. One of these faculty members will serve as your academic advisor once you declare a major in accounting.

    Careers in Accounting

    After graduation, our students gain employment in a variety of business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Some of the more common choices include careers in public, management, and governmental accounting.

    • Public Accounting
      Public accountants can work in large, international accounting firms, in smaller regional or local firms, or as sole proprietors. Public accountants provide services such as auditing, tax planning and compliance, or management consulting. Most public accountants become licensed as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), which involves passing a rigorous exam and gaining practical work experience. In order to take the CPA exam, an individual must complete 150 semester hours of college credit.
    • Management Accounting
      Accountants who work for an individual corporation or nonprofit organization are generally considered management accountants. They could be employed in positions such as cost accountant, internal auditor, tax specialist, controller, or treasurer. Some management accountants become licensed as Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), which involves passing a rigorous exam.
    • Governmental Accounting
      All government agencies employ accountants in a variety of roles. Accountants work for local or state governments, or in branches of the federal government, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).