CONTACT: GEORGE McCRORY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0024
UI accounting program leads way for new, state-required CPA standards
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- With a new five-year master of accountancy degree,
University of Iowa accounting students will have an edge in this increasingly
complex and growing field.
The UI department of accounting recently modified its five-year program
to include specialized tracks. It is currently the only program in Iowa
to have its accounting program accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate
Schools of Business (AACSB).
Beginning Jan. 1, 2001, students must have completed 150 hours of college
course work and pass the certified public accountant (CPA) exam in order
to be licensed as CPAs in Iowa. One way to accomplish this licensure requirement
is to complete a five-year, combined graduate and undergraduate course
leading to the master of accountancy (M.Ac.) degree.
Daniel Collins, head of the department of accounting, says the 150-hour
requirement is part of a national trend brought on by the increasing complexity
of the field.
"The feeling is that to be technically competent in today's business
environment, accounting students need the extra year of education,"
Collins says. "There's been an explosion over the past few decades
in the complexity of the standards and reporting regulations that accountants
need to know in order to be up-to-date in their field. Accounting has just
become much more complicated."
Beginning in 1989, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
began asking state licensing boards to require 150 hours of college credit.
Iowa passed the requirement in 1992 to take effect in 2001. A total of
44 states have passed some form of the regulation. South Dakota, Kansas
and Nebraska currently have the regulation and Missouri will add it next
Under the UI program, students will declare their interest in the M.Ac.
degree at the end of the junior year and need to complete the regular sequence
of courses leading to a bachelor's degree in accounting. For the fifth
year of graduate-level work, students specialize in one of four tracks:
management information systems, taxation, financial/auditing, or managerial
Thomas Carroll, assistant professor of accounting, says students who
complete the program will have a more thorough understanding of accounting
and the expertise to apply their knowledge. "Accountants are no longer
just the keeper of records," Carroll says. "They have to be experts
in tracking information, locating it, retrieving it, and using it to best
represent their clients."
The new program also places a strong emphasis on placing students in
internships, one of the keys to getting a full-time job at graduation,
Carroll says. Currently 72 UI accounting students have been placed in internships
at top employers such as Deere and Co., Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst
and Young, and Arthur Andersen. There continues to be a strong demand for
new hires in accounting, Collins added.
Carroll said students interested in studying accounting at the UI will
still be able to earn the traditional, four-year degree and graduate with
a bachelor's degree. There will continue to be plenty of accounting positions
in private companies where a CPA license isn't needed. But he says students
who want to be CPAs, the standard in the field, will have to take the five-year
The UI department of accounting annually enrolls about 120 undergraduates.
The department's goal is to have an annual enrollment of about 60 in the
M.Ac. program. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the UI graduate
accounting program in the top 30 in the country. UI accounting students
also do well on the national multi-part CPA exam, ranking second for scores
in the country in the accounting and reporting section in the November