||Schofield Hall 218|
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Accounting Major Offers
Many Career Options
MAILED: March 21, 2000|
The accounting profession is on the rise, and for those graduating with a degree in accounting, the sky's the limit.
Dr. Lucretia Mattson, associate professor of accounting and finance at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said there are a number of different routes a student can choose to take after graduation other than the standard role of a certified public accountant who handles taxes and auditing.
"The opportunity is there," she said. "If you have a particular interest, you can dovetail your particular interest to that career."
A former graduate of UW-Eau Claire has used his accounting major in his job with the FBI. He became the lead investigator in a case for the Chicago Board of Trade where he helped convict some individuals in a case dealing with insider dealing and manipulation.
Mattson said those with a background in accounting will have the business background to work just about anywhere. Accounting majors have gone on to work with the National Football League and the National Basketball Association handling teams' business affairs. Others have traveled around the world to help establish accounting principles in other countries.
A recent graduate traveled to China where he started from scratch to establish China's accounting principles. Three other UW-Eau Claire graduates, working at different times, have gone on to work with the Financial Accounting Standards Board to develop the accounting principles for the United States.
As for using an accounting background in the sports world, yet another UW-Eau Claire graduate worked with the Minnesota Twins.
"I was involved in the negotiations of the Kirby Puckett contract," said Jann Ozzello Wilcox, a 1974 accounting graduate.
When structuring the contract, Wilcox, chief financial advisor for Marquette Financial Companies, had to consider things such as the possibility of a baseball strike and any bonuses Puckett might receive.
"The concept was really simple," she said. "And it was really fun."
Mattson said those pursuing careers in accounting have so much potential for expansion and growth that they quickly can exceed salaries made in some of the top jobs.
"An accounting background gives you the ability to analyze technology information needs and the versatility to help with business-making decisions," Mattson said.
Mattson believes people may be turned off by accounting because of the 150 semester hours required to sit for the CPA exam. Because only 120 semester hours are required for graduation, students at UW-Eau Claire will have to work toward a double major or go on to graduate school to earn the extra 30 hours to take the CPA exam. The 150-hour requirement will be enforced beginning Jan. 1, 2001. Mattson said the extra hours are worth it because of all the exciting opportunities accounting has to offer.
Career paths in accounting are broadening to include opportunities in management, credit, information technology systems, business valuation and international services. Currently there is special emphasis on e-commerce. Accounting majors gain solid backgrounds in leadership, project management, problem solving and written and verbal communication, a background that provides opportunities in many different areas.
According to the 1999 Robert Half and Accountemps Salary Guide, the hiring outlook is particularly good for those with skills in financial analysis, accounts receivable and systems expertise.
"There are so many opportunities, and things are changing so rapidly," Mattson said. "You are not stuck in one area, and after three or four years you can change your career path entirely. It's wide open."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 21, 2000