Since Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are the accredited experts in field of accounting, CPA licensing is the goal of many accounting students. “Those who desire to work towards a CPA license open themselves up to an array of professional opportunities.” says Amy Russin, CPA and accounting professor at Geneva. However, a change in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s licensing requirements is altering the route to the CPA accreditation and Geneva College is ahead of the curve in helping its students to meet the requirements set forth under the new guidelines.
In the past, a Bachelor’s degree and what approximated two years of professional experience was required for CPA licensing in the Commonwealth. Beginning January 1, 2012, the new guidelines require students to have completed 150-credit hours of education in order to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. The 150-credit hours along with an approximated one year of professional experience is now required for all those who wish to become licensed Certified Public Accountants. In response to these changes, Geneva adopted a new accounting option which is the first and currently only four-year program in Pennsylvania to offer an all undergraduate option to meet the new CPA examination requirements.
Geneva College revised its accounting program to give students options for meeting the new 150-credit hour requirement. Professor Russin divided the Accounting Major into two tracks. One undergraduate track enables the students to graduate with 150-credit hours of education and, with some summer school, the students can still graduate in the traditional four years. This option meets the educational requirements while not contributing significant extra costs to the students. Most students who choose this option decide to double-major in Accounting and Business with a concentration in Finance.
Another track is for those students who do not wish to pursue public accounting, therefore not desiring to meet licensing requirements. This allows these students to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in a traditional four year program setting where students graduate with 126-credit hours of coursework.
For those students who wish to pursue graduate level studies, Geneva offers a second option for those interested in pursuing public accounting and CPA licensing through the track two program. In this option, the students will complete the undergraduate coursework and will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and 126-credit hours of education. They will then be enrolled in Geneva’s Master’s of Business Administration program for an additional 36-credit hours of graduate studies. At the completion of the M.B.A. program, the students will have met the requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination.
Senior Jennifer White is taking advantage of 150-credit double-major to meet the CPA requirements. Jennifer decided to go the new route for a couple of different reason. She says, “With a dual major, and CPA licensing, I will be so much more marketable. I will have a wider scope of opportunities.” Jennifer admits that she is a very driven individual and excited to seize this new opportunity in the Geneva’s accounting program. But it’s not just the classes that are going to help her be successful. She plans on using the professors as a resource. “I've been asking Professor Russin questions since I began here (at Geneva). And she welcomes me to continue to come back to her with more questions.”
The BSBA and MBA programs at Geneva College are nationally accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. Geneva College is a pioneer institution in adapting its accounting program to meet the needs of students in response to the changing CPA licensing requirements.
The process of developing the program has benefited students in other ways as well. Through the development of this track Geneva has been able to continue building and strengthening relationships with local accounting firms that have helped them maintain excellence. Geneva students have held internships and have been offered jobs by many reputable firms some of which are Deloitte, Alpern Rosenthal, S.R. Snodgrass, Cottrill Arbutina & Associates, Grossman Yanak & Ford, and Carbis Walker just to name a few. Most recently, Geneva’s accounting program holds a 97% job placement rate for graduates. Geneva has been able to stay true to its purpose by providing pathways for students to find and fulfill their calling.
- Micah Yarger (’12)