Accounting is often called the language of business. It is the information system that measures business activities, processes that information into reports, and communicates the results to decision makers. Financial statements and reports provide information to help people make informed business decisions. Decision makers include individuals, businesses, investors, creditors, governmental regulatory agencies, taxing authorities, nonprofit organizations, and many others.
Accounting offers many career opportunities both in private accounting and public accounting. Private accountants work for a single business or nonprofit organization and provide a wide variety of services for the entity, including cost accounting, budgeting, information system design, and internal auditing. Public accountants serve numerous businesses and other clients, and provide auditing, tax accounting, and management consulting services.
Public Accounting Option
Students interested in pursuing a career in public accounting have two options for completing the 150 credit hours necessary to qualify for CPA Certification. NOTE: For this purpose Berea College courses are considered 4 credit hours, while most courses at other institutions are considered 3 credit hours.)
Students may choose the Public Accounting Option offered by the Economics and Business Department. (It is possible to complete the 150-hour requirement in eight terms by taking full course loads coupled with careful planning. If more than eight terms are required to complete this option, a student may apply for a one-term extension by submitting a letter of explanation and a curriculum plan prepared in consultation with his or her adviser. Unless a student declares the Business Administration major late or has other extenuating circumstances, one additional term should generally be adequate to meet the 150-hour requirement. In rare cases, when necessary, a second additional term may be granted.) OR 2) Alternatively, upon completing a B.S. degree in Business Administration at Berea, the student can complete a Master’s degree program or otherwise obtain the additional credits needed elsewhere.
In addition to the requirements for the Accounting Concentration, a student, in consultation with his or her academic adviser, will select the additional courses to be taken to complete the 150 hours. Students should plan to take BUS 437-Auditing. In addition, students should consider a second concentration in Finance or Management Information Systems. A minor in Computer Science is also an excellent choice.
At this time, neither the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) nor the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy specifies which courses are needed to meet the education requirement. The State Board merely specifies a requirement for the Bachelor’s degree, 39 semester hours in business/economics of which 27 must be in accounting, and 150 hours overall. The courses suggested above are selected based on their content relative to the content of the CPA exam and to the skills and knowledge necessary to practice public accounting. As such, these courses are not required but are recommended. Your interest in a particular area of accounting, or your or plans for a particular graduate program may lead you to consider other options for the required additional courses, perhaps including mathematics, computer science, economics, or other areas. A student must explore these in consultation with her or his adviser.