IN THIS ISSUE
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Nexus, a newsletter from the Department of Accounting and Business at Manchester College. We hope that this will help both alumni and friends stay connected—to the College and to each other.
As many of you know, Jan Fahs served as the chair of the Department of Accounting and Business for nearly eight years, and she has also served the College in a variety of other capacities, including chair of the faculty for a number of years. She has done outstanding work in the department, and her efforts in other varied roles have benefited the institution in many ways. Manchester is a stronger college because of her talents and leadership.
At the same time, these additional responsibilities have made it extremely difficult for her to focus on the accounting program, as she would like to do. Consequently, she decided to step down as department chair and to relinquish some of her other non-teaching responsibilities. I stepped into the chair’s position on January 1, and Jan assumed the new role of accounting program coordinator. She will also maintain her regular teaching load of accounting courses. This change will free her to spend time recruiting new students to the accounting program and to provide all of our accounting students with more directed mentoring while they are at Manchester.
Accounting is the department’s flagship, and we are committed to maintaining and building upon the standards of excellence that Art Gilbert established many years ago. The change described here signifies a renewed commitment to everything connected to accounting at Manchester College, and we are excited about moving forward under this new structure.
We are fortunate that Manchester College is a small school. Small institutions can usually respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace than can larger schools. And there have been changes in the accounting profession. In April 2004, the CPA exam became a computerized exam; candidates can take one or more sections at a time throughout the year. When the State adopted the law that allowed for computerized testing, the legislature also stipulated that students must have attained their bachelor’s degrees and 150 semester hours before applying to take the exam. In addition, Sarbanes-Oxley has created an opportunity for CPA firms to provide more services to their clients, and most firms are scrambling for additional accountants.
What this means for Manchester is that we need to get more accounting students prepared and ready for the profession in a more timely way. Consequently, we suspended the Master of Accountancy at the end of the 2005-2006 school year and developed a 150-hour accounting program that allows students to complete the semester hours required for the CPA exam in four, four-and-a-half, or five years, depending on the needs of the individual student. Although the transition to the new program was difficult for the students who had planned to stay for the master’s, in the long run, the new program will benefit both firms and students. Already, some students are seeing opportunities to elect minors in areas related to their intended careers or to study abroad. Moreover, accounting firms have expressed interest in having our students prepared to enter the workforce in January, and this will work well for the students who choose to stay for a ninth semester.
For the alumni of the Master of Accountancy program, we know that the College’s decision might be difficult to hear. The master’s program was strong academically, and MACCT graduates were well prepared to begin their careers as accountants. However, enrollments were low, and the reality of the marketplace has shifted. By being responsive to change, we intend to continue the tradition of accountancy at Manchester College by preparing today’s students for today’s profession.
As the accounting program coordinator, my goals are to build relationships with CPA firms and other employers of accountants, to mentor our current accounting students, and to work avidly to recruit students to Manchester’s accounting program. If you know of high school students who are interested in accounting, I would be happy to meet with them. If you are recruiting students from Manchester (or would like to) and have suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following firms and individuals made donations to the department last year providing scholarship assistance to our students. Thank you for your support.
We would also like to offer special thanks to our friends at BKD. In addition to the scholarship assistance referred to above, BKD has been providing significant financial support to the accounting program for a number of years. For this we are extremely grateful.
Until December of my senior year in high school, I had planned to attend Indiana University. Though I was being recruited by the soccer coach at Manchester, I had never given much thought to actually going to MC until I visited. And even after I decided to come to Manchester, I was extremely worried that I would be disappointed with my decision, but I was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered during my first year.
I came to Manchester knowing no one, but by playing soccer in the fall, I was immediately connected to a group of students. It was a good feeling. I found Manchester to be a welcoming place not only on the field but also in the classroom. In the Foundations of Business class in the first semester of college, there were one hundred students enrolled. Two or three weeks into the class, the three professors who were team teaching the course had all of the names of the students memorized. I was extremely impressed.
I cherish the relationships that I have been able to make with the faculty, and I feel that the professors actually care about how I do in my classes and that they are willing to assist me in any way possible. It is also nice to know my professors on a more personal level because I feel it drives me to stay on top of my academics, especially within the accounting and business department. I have found Manchester to be a great college for me, and my first-year experience helped pave the way for my next three years here.
Case Studies in Business is hailed as the capstone course for the Accounting and Business Department, and with good reason. In it, students participate in two major activities: analyzing case studies and starting and running a business. Each week, students are expected to read, analyze and prepare arguments revolving around a specific business case. These cases are adapted from real-life situations; to solve them, students must carefully analyze the facts, recall information from their previous classes, and apply this information to the case to develop a cohesive argument for addressing the problems.
The cases, however, make up only one portion of the class. Much of the class time is devoted to starting and running a business. Students elect executive officers and build their own business. All disciplines are required for this to proceed effectively: management, marketing, accounting, finance and not-for-profit expertise are all required to ensure a smooth operation. The success of this business rests solely on the shoulders of the students, and the revenues generated by the organization are donated to a local not-for-profit organization.
Manchester College participated in the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) Case Study Competition for the fourth time this fall. This was the seventh year that the Society hosted the Case Study Competition, and a total of 11 Indiana colleges and universities participated. The Case Study Competition requires four-member teams to provide written case analyses within 10 days of receiving the case study from the INCPAS. Six teams are then selected to make oral presentations to the judges at the Indiana CPA Society in Indianapolis. The topic of the 2006 competition was the peer review process.
The Accounting and Business Club’s spring banquet will be held in April 2007 (date and location TBA). The department uses this opportunity to recognize the achievements of students through the presentation of scholarships and awards. If you would like to attend the banquet, please check the appropriate box when you update your profile, so that we may add your name to the invitation list.
Connect with us!
Please take this opportunity to update your profile, and if you have news to share with alumni and friends of the department, please send us that information, too. We want to hear from you! In addition, please indicate your interest in participating with the College in other ways.