2020-21 Accounting Newsletter

In This Issue:

New Things Going on in the Major

Ashutosh Deshmukh

I hope you are all enjoying the fall semester. As you are all well aware, these are difficult times. The Black School of Business was always at the forefront of online teaching and started offering an online MBA program 15 years ago. However, a complete shift to online teaching has stretched technological resources to the limit. Our faculty members have done a remarkable job of rising to the challenge and delivering quality education to all accounting students.

We recently had a virtual Accounting Day. CPA firms in the region, our corporate partners, faculty, and students participated to make the event a great success. My special thanks to Dr. Charles Brown, associate professor of accounting, for organizing and executing the event.

We have added a new faculty member, Dr. Linh Le, to our faculty. Please welcome her and read more about her below.

The profession of accounting is changing and evolving, and so is the department of accounting and our curriculum. We continue to add more technical skills to the curriculum such as Excel, SQL, and advanced accounting software. The Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) program is now being offered in Cranberry Township, near Pittsburgh, in a hybrid format and has steady enrollments.

We graduated a strong accounting class in May. Many of our graduates landed an excellent position despite the soft job market. We continue to work with our students. The prognosis for recent accounting graduates with the right technological skills is great, though the job market remains uncertain at least in the coming year. I wish you all the best in the fall semester and beyond.

—Dr. Ash Deshmukh, Chair, Accounting and MIS

Faculty Spotlight

Linh Le

Dr. Linh Le teaches Accounting and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making ACCTG 211 in fall 2020 and will teach Accounting Information Systems in spring 2021. Her research interests include the impact of technology and corporate executives’ characteristics on financial reporting quality.

What do you most want accounting students to know, do, and learn?

There is a misconception that accounting is all about numbers. Powerful software and technology are capable of handling many standard accounting tasks, but it does not mean the end for accountants. What cannot be replaced is the ability to interpret and analyze accounting data. Thus, I want accounting students to be able to think beyond numbers and understand what those numbers mean. Critical thinking will help students to remain competitive in the job market.

What is an interesting research project you have worked on?

One of my current research projects examines whether companies with greater access to information technology (IT) capable human capital demonstrate higher quality financial reporting. This investigation is particularly important since many corporations today continue to face challenges of human error, exponential growth in data sources and volume, as well as ineffective technology. A recent 2019 survey shows that nearly 70 percent of global business leaders and finance professionals affirm that their company has made a significant business decision based on inaccurate financial accounting data.

What talent would you love to have?

I would love to know how to compose music. Music is a part of my life, and it would be fun to be able to express emotions through music.

Alumni Spotlight

Hannah Kauffman ’20

Hannah Kauffman

Hannah Kauffman currently works as an accounting clerk at Accudyn Products Inc. She works in accounts receivable, where she handles invoicing, collections, and customer accounts. She also works in payroll where she processes hourly, salary, and temporary workers’ pay and makes any other changes to employee accounts and benefits.

What do you miss most about being a Behrend student?

I miss being at Behrend where I would see my professors and friends almost daily. In a time like this, with COVID-19 restrictions, I miss that interaction. I especially miss those interactions with my fellow classmates and friends that were cut short.

Which Behrend course helped you most in your career?

My SAP Certificate classes and Accounting 422 have helped me the most in my career. Being familiar with ERP systems helped me learn the systems at Accudyn Products Inc. more quickly. Accounting 422 helped me with knowing how things flowed department by department in a manufacturing plant.

Student Spotlight

Jessica Snider ’21

Jessica Snider

Jessica Snider is currently interning at Channellock and will be with HBK for the upcoming tax season. After graduation, she intends to complete the MPAcc program at Behrend and get her CPA and CMA licenses.

What’s been your proudest moment at Behrend?

One of my proudest moments at Behrend was receiving the CMA scholarship. A huge thanks to Zachary Williams, lecturer in accounting, for educating us about the CMA certification and nominating me for the award. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to take the exam free of cost.

What was your biggest take-away from your internship?

I have certainly learned a lot throughout the course of my internship at Channellock. However, a piece of advice from my boss that I think I will take with me wherever I land is this: “The best thing about accounting is if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can always go back and look at the prior period.”

Club Updates and More

Because of COVID-19, all Accounting Club meetings this semester have been moved to an online platform. We have still been able to conduct multiple informative and beneficial meetings for our club members. We have continued our once-a-month meeting on Zoom and have had guest speakers talk with our students about opportunities in the accounting field.

Our first meeting was held in September. Lauri Enterline, from the Academic and Career Planning Center, advised students on how to prepare for the online career fair. She also gave useful tips about how to set up a résumé for success.

Our October meeting featured guest speakers Zachary Williams, lecturer in accounting, and alumni Daniel Kriegel ’11 and Brandon Smith ’13. All three of the speakers had received a Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) certification. Williams offered an in-depth description of what the CMA certification entails and how it can help further students’ accounting background and career. Kriegel and Smith told students about how much the CMA certification had helped them throughout their time after graduating from Penn State Behrend.

The next meeting will feature guest speaker Laura Copley, account manager for Becker Professional Education. She will offer an overview of the Becker CPA review and any changes that have been made to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. She plans to go over what the study material covers, how much it costs, and how to best prepare for the CPA exams. This is a great opportunity for upcoming seniors who plan to pursue the CPA certification.

If you are an accounting student and you are interested in getting involved in more activities like these, sign up on BehrendSync or email our president, Alexis Burkhart, at [email protected].