While accounting has been referred to as the “language of business,” it is really much more. Accounting information is not only the basis for business decisions, but also a critical element in the decision making processes of virtually all economic entities. Governments, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals must all rely on accounting information in making economic decisions.
Those with an understanding of accounting are in a unique position to provide valuable assistance to businesses and others making economic decisions. As a result, there are always employment opportunities available for individuals with the skills to create, analyze, and interpret accounting information.
Accountants are found at the highest levels of responsibility in a wide variety of organizations. These include federal, state, and local governments and not-for-profit organizations, as well as business and industry of all types. Accounting graduates also frequently use their training to enhance non-accounting careers in management, finance, law and governmental administration. Truly, a degree in accounting provides a solid foundation for a variety of successful career paths.
Unlike many accounting programs that concentrate on their graduate students, the accounting program at Christopher Newport University focuses on undergraduate education. Highly qualified full-time faculty teach our undergraduate accounting classes. Our classes are not taught by graduate assistants, and we seldom use adjunct faculty.
The accounting program at Christopher Newport provides students with both a broad based liberal arts foundation and a quality professional major. The accounting program is large enough to offer a variety of undergraduate accounting courses. At the same time, however, we have small class sizes and a substantial amount of individual attention. The average class size for accounting major courses is less than 20 students.
In Virginia, 150 semester hours of course work are required to be licensed as a CPA. To sit for the CPA exam, however, Virginia requires only 120 hours of course work, a baccalaureate or higher degree, and an accounting concentration or equivalent. CNU graduates who take the recommended classes are currently eligible to sit for the CPA exam in Virginia. Consult your State Board of Accountancy for the rules in your state.
In both good economies and bad, there is a continuing need for accountants, and there are a wide variety of opportunities available to those with accounting skills. Just a few of the more significant of those opportunities are listed below:
Corporate accountants maintain and are primarily responsible for the business’s financial records, internal controls, tax reporting and financial statements. Financial auditors examine the financial records of an organization so as to express an opinion on the fairness of its financial statements. Operational auditors evaluate the performance of management to assess its effectiveness and efficiency and make recommendations for improvement. Management consultants help organizations improve their performance by analyzing existing business problems and developing plans for improvement. Cost accountants create budgets and determine the actual cost of operations, processes, departments, or products, as well as the analyze variances, profitability, and the social use of funds. Personal financial planners assist individuals and groups in planning the use of their savings, income, and investments. Tax accountants not only ensure compliance with the tax laws, but they recommend strategies to ensure that transactions are completed and reported in the most tax efficient manner. Management accountants work for a single business to create internal financial information to be used by management as the basis for making business decisions. Forensic accountants utilize accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to assist in legal matters, including the detection and prosecution of white collar crime. Credit analysts evaluate an applicant’s loan request or a corporation’s debt issue in order to determine the likelihood that the borrowers will live up to their obligations. Financial analysts use a variety of tools to research and evaluate financial information for the purpose of making recommendations to businesses regarding how to invest their money. Systems accountants integrate information technology and accounting to design, install, maintain, and improve the accounting information systems of an organization. Governmental accountants and auditors work in the public sector, maintaining and examining the records of government agencies and auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulation or taxation. Year after year, accounting graduates are among the most heavily recruited majors in America. Even in a recession, businesses need accountants. As a result, accounting majors are on the fast track to a dynamic, secure, and rewarding career.
Graduate schools also actively recruit our students. In recent years, CNU accounting students have been accepted to business and accounting graduate programs at William & Mary, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth, James Madison, North Carolina State, George Mason, Old Dominion, Ohio State, and the University of Wisconsin, among others.