Accounting: math for the real world


Prakriti Adhikari

Alainna Haddad, a junior finance major, studies at the College of Business. The Department of Accounting and Finance offer opportunities for students to prepare for in-demand careers in diverse areas.

Maiah Woodring, Staff Reporter

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, the Department of Accounting and Finance offers a stepping stone to in-demand careers.

“Accounting is very valuable,” said Instructor of Accounting Julie Stovall. “It’s kind of what I tell students, because it’s so diverse. If you go into one area and you don’t particularly love it, you can swap and do something else.”

Stovall explained that an accountant can specialize in different areas.

“It’s just very diverse,” Stovall said. “You can do taxes. You can do financial planning, business evaluation. There’s an area called forensic accounting, audit managerial. So, it’s just so many options that you’re never just stuck in one area.”

Department Head Dr. Robert Braun discussed the compatibility of accounting and finance and how the two fields of study goes together.

“That’s that marriage between the two programs,” said Braun. “I think we have some great opportunities there because we have an amazing finance faculty. We have an amazing accounting faculty, and I think that students who cross over really realize those benefits.”

Braun gave an example of an unusual field that is in need of an accountant.

“I just got a request for an intern for a company that rehabilitates horses who are in need of rescue and connects those horses with children,” said Braun. “Well, guess what? That company needs an accountant too. So, it can be anywhere from Fortune 500 companies that need to communicate all their information, or it can be a small mom-and-pop that’s doing charity work and has a charitable mission. They’ll need an accountant too.”

Stovall explained how an accounting career is constantly in demand.

“Compared to other jobs, it’s always growing,” said Stovall. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that it’s going to grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is higher than the average growth for other areas.”

Organizations like the Southeastern Accounting Society, Beta Alpha Psi and the National Association of Black Accountants aim to bring together students in the field and help them find success.

Stovall clarified a common misunderstanding in the field.

“A common misconception would be, if I’m not good in math, I won’t do well in accounting,” said Stovall. “Accounting is math, is what a lot of folks say, and that’s not true. If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, you have the math part covered, but it’s a lot of details, so you have to like to pay attention to details, be very thorough, organized.”

Associate Professor of Accounting Dr. Margaret Boldt shared a quality important to an accountant’s success.

“You have to want to know what the right answer is because if you don’t care what the right answer is, I think it would be very hard to study it,” said Boldt. “I’d say that’s probably the thing successful accountants have. No matter what area we’re in, we like that part.”

Boldt offered advice for anyone considering a career in accounting.

“As soon as you can swing it, get an internship in accounting too,” said Boldt. “That is usually a really good thing. It’s a good experience for people to like go and actually do it. We actually work really closely with career service, so we have a lot of recruiters that come on campus. So, the ‘Career Fair’ is kind of a kickoff for us. We usually have a lot. I wouldn’t even want to put a number on it. It’s a lot of employers that are specifically here for accounting majors.”