by Christy Heitger-Ewing
For some time now, other departments at Kelley have offered workshops that are designed to give students the opportunity to interact with professionals in the field they think they want to enter, including finance and marketing. Students earn college credit toward their undergraduate degree for taking these formal courses that not only expose them to numerous career opportunities but also improve their communication and presentation skills. During the 2021–22 academic year, the Kelley Department of Accounting will start offering its own workshops.
“Four workshops allow students to do a deep dive into all of the possible career opportunities that are open to them as an accounting major,” says Sonja Rego, department of accounting chair and KMPG professor of accounting.
“Offering these workshops is a way to incentivize students to educate themselves about their futures. For a lot of them, they quickly realize they enjoy or dislike a particular area of accounting. If they dislike one area, they can focus on careers in another area of accounting and they will have a much deeper understanding of the opportunities in that area.”
Kelley undergraduate accounting majors typically take their core accounting classes during their third or fourth years. Until then, they don’t know what auditing or managerial accounting is or what a tax professional does. Yet many students are accepting internships, if not job offers, during their second or third year.
“Students are being asked to make years-long career commitments before they really know what they’re getting into so the accounting department developed four workshops that will allow students to do a deep dive into all of the possible career opportunities that are open to them as an accounting major,” says Rego.
When students first get to IU, they will take a prerequisite course called Introduction to Careers in Accounting taught by Professor Dave Greene. He will bring in accounting professionals across different types of careers to talk to students. The interactive course will help students identify their strengths, weaknesses, and interests to determine the career that best suits them. At the end of that intro class, students can choose from four different broad career paths.
Four accounting workshops should be launched in the next 18 months. The first, Assurance Control & Information Systems, will cover all different career paths related to auditing. The second, Tax Advisory Services, is aimed at those who are interested in various tax careers, including state & local and international tax. The third, Corporate Accounting, is for those students who want to start their careers at an operating company instead of public accounting. It will introduce them to budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting, internal controls, treasury, and tax planning all within a single organization.
“We have firms like Cummins and Caterpillar who are super excited about participating in this one,” says Rego, who stresses that for these workshops to be successful, firm and professional engagement is key. Rego is currently taking volunteers for accounting professionals who want to participate in a class session, perhaps once in the fall and once in the spring.
“We’re looking for a broad set of people— not just public accounting but also corporations,” says Rego, noting that they also welcome those who work for nonprofits or government organizations.
The fourth workshop, Financial & Transactional Consulting, is accounting and finance interwoven together. Primarily professional service firms would be hiring students to do this sort of consulting work, which would involve consulting related to mergers & acquisitions, financial due diligence, and litigation support. This workshop is required to enter the 3/2 MBA program.
Introduction to Careers in Accounting and Financial & Transactional Consulting will both be offered in the spring of 2022. The other three workshops will be available in the fall of 2022. Each is one semester-long and will meet one day a week, most likely in the early evenings so it doesn’t conflict with regular classes.
Each of the four workshops will have advisory boards that will include four to six professionals in that area who will provide feedback to instructors on course design and content. Ideally, they will participate in at least one class session in a particular semester.
“The Tax Advisory Services workshop, for example, will invite tax professionals who love IU, love Kelley, and want to engage and influence future tax professionals,” says Rego.