Fall 2015 Black School of Business Accounting Newsletter

Fall 2015 Black School of Business Accounting Newsletter

Fall 2015 Accounting Newsletter
Penn State Behrend, Black School of Business


This Month's Headlines

Alumni and Friends

The Impact of Involvement


Do you really need a Master’s degree in accounting?

The opportunities in public and corporate accounting are numerous and many career paths are open to well-prepared students. You now need 150 hours to take the CPA examination or get licensed. The CPA examination is changing; the newly licensed CPAs are expected to possess higher order cognitive skills such as critical thinking, analytical ability, and problem solving. You also need strong communication and technological skills. The majority of the new hires in public accounting have a master’s degree. How will you measure against such competition? 

MPAcc can help in the following ways:

  • The graduate courses are aimed at developing higher order thinking skills.
  • The presentation and research requirements will allow you develop communication and technology skills.
  • You will learn to make decisions using professional and ethical frameworks of the profession.
  • The accounting profession is changing at light speed.If you want to know more about forensic accounting, fraud auditing, and variable interest entities, then think about MPAcc.Not only will you become conversant, but you will learn to enjoy the challenges of accounting!

The faculty in accounting have worked hard to develop a meaningful and strong curriculum for the program. Please visit the MPAcc website for further information. You need to take 30 credits and the MPAcc program can be completed in one year (fall, spring, and early summer). If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact Dr. Ash Deshmukh


Message from the Department Chair, Dr. Ash DeshmukhDr. Ash Deshmukh

In the past year Accounting majors have done internships from Erie to Pittsburgh, and Baltimore to New York City. Our students who will graduate in December ’15 and May ’16 are accepting offers faster than we can keep track of them, in Erie, Jamestown, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Bethesda, and Burlington, among other places. If YOU have had an internship or accepted an offer for after graduation, please email Linda Hajec, so we can stay in touch.

And if you have not yet had an internship or accepted a job offer for after graduation, get signed on to Nittany Lion Career Network and find the right position for you! A reminder to undergrads – you can get three credits towards your CPA license requirement by taking your internship for credit. Check in with Linda Hajec, lecturer in accounting, or stop by the school office (Burke 281) for information.


Alumni and Friends


David PaternoSenior Spotlight: David Paterno

What is your current position and where?
I have accepted a position at CohnReznick as an audit associate in Bethesda, Maryland.

How did you find your current job?
I found my current job by attending the Penn State career fair last fall at University Park, and took a winter internship with the firm, where they offered for me to come back full-time upon graduation.

Do you intend to pursue any further education or training?
I am hoping to pursue my CPA after graduation.

How has your minor/certifications helped you?
Double majoring in Accounting and Finance was a huge help in obtaining my internship, which led to the job offer.

What advice do you have for future graduates?
Take full advantage of the professors for help and guidance as well as the ACPC for resume help, attend the careers fairs and ask questions to see what employers are looking for, and you can never have a big enough network. Branch out, meet new people, and stay in touch with them. They will remember this.

What was your favorite class at Behrend?
I did not necessarily have a favorite, some classes I had with the same professors, so it was really nice that everyone knew me and that I could easily get help when needed.

Do you have anything else you’d like everyone reading this to know?
Like I said above, networking is key. I have learned that you can never have too big of a network and keeping in touch with people higher up than you will only help you down the road, especially when you least expect it.


Chelsi Riodan Chelsi Riordan, May 2014 Graduate in Accounting and Finance

What is your current position and where?
I am currently an audit associate at KPMG in Pittsburgh. I graduated from Behrend in May 2014 and started with the firm the following month.

How did you find your current job?
I included my resume in the resume packets that University Park sent out to different accounting firms and got a phone call from KPMG for an on-campus interview.

Do you intend to pursue any further education or training?
Maybe down the road, but not at the moment. After passing my CPA, I would like to take some time off from studying.

How has your minor/certifications helped you since you graduated?
I had a dual major in Finance and Accounting which helped me tremendously with the CPA exam. It has also helped me with my career in auditing. For anyone interested in public accounting, I would highly recommend dual majoring in Accounting and Finance, especially since you have to have 150 credits now.

What advice do you have for future graduates?
SCHEDULE YOUR EXAM EARLY! It is so easy to keep putting off studying if you don’t have an exam scheduled. Also, I recommend getting the exam out of the way as soon as possible. Your work schedule (and most likely personal life) will only get more demanding as time passes.

What was your favorite class at Behrend?
Looking back, I really liked Advanced Accounting. This entire class was applicable to the FAR section of the CPA exam. I would highly recommend to take FAR directly after taking this course and pay attention because it will save you a lot of time and confusion in the long run.

Do you have anything else you’d like everyone reading this to know?
I would also recommend to study regularly and make it part of your daily routine, but don’t make it the only thing you do for a year. You will get burnt out. Squeeze in some time to actually have some fun. I used Becker for my study materials and I highly recommend the program. As long as you follow their suggested study schedule, you should be fine in passing the exam. The Becker practice exams follow the same format as the actual exams so there are no surprises on exam day.


Dr. Flora DongDr. Flora Dong

What is your educational background?
I got my Accounting Ph.D. from Boston University. On the professional side, I have a CPA license in Massachusetts.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?
I adopt the concept-based teaching method. That is, I'd love students to understand the reasoning behind the rules and regulations and be able to apply it to real world scenarios rather than mechanically memorize numbers or rules.

What made you want to become a professor?
Accounting and tax are logical and interesting. Becoming a professor allows me to explore research ideas as well as share my accounting/tax knowledge with students.

What do you like most about Behrend? What are you looking forward to?
I like the collegial environment at Behrend. I get great support for both teaching and research here. I look forward to seeing students benefit from our classes and succeed in their careers.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I'd love to spend time with my family.

What is your favorite topic to research/work on within accounting?
My favorite topic for both research and teaching is tax. Accounting is the language of business. Just like learning any language, you need a lot of practice before you can master Accounting.


Student Success Story: A Message from Rachel WehanRachel Wehan

My road in college has been a long one, but nothing short of successful. I started here as an undecided major and took a handful of general courses that would satisfy most business majors. After taking Accounting 211 with Ms. Linda Hajec and realizing that most people looked at me like I had four eyes when I said I liked the class, I knew it was the profession for me. I learned that there are so many opportunities in the world of accounting. I transferred to University Park during my junior year, and discovered my heart was still at Behrend. I came back to Behrend my senior year and continued my education in Accounting. In the fall of 2014, I had been informed of a company called Grossman Yanak & Ford, read into them, and immediately knew that was the company for me. I sent in my resume to apply for the summer audit position and was called shortly after to set up a phone interview. After connecting immediately with the HR director, I was called in for an in-person interview, and was accepted. The internship was better than I could imagine. The work, employees, and the diversity in my day-to-day work was exciting. I received a full-time offer for fall 2016 upon my completion of my internship. I am currently working towards my Masters of Accounting at Behrend as a full-time student with plans to sit for the CPA this year.

My advice for students is to give yourself credit and have confidence; put yourself out there and follow your gut. I knew Grossman Yanak & Ford was where I wanted to end up so I made it known. I was assertive, attentive, and showed my excitement for the opportunity to work there when I was going through the interview process. Another piece of advice that I would pass on is to start early. Knowing in December that I had my summer internship already set up made school my first priority.


Impact and Involvement

Accounting for Athletes

As a Division III School in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), academics come first at Penn State Behrend. For students who choose to play on a team, there are eligibility requirements. Students must maintain at least a GPA of 2.0 or higher beginning their second year of college, and they are not allowed to miss more than eight days of school per semester for games. To ensure those guidelines and others established by the NCAA are met, each school is required to appoint a Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) who audits eligibility and serves as a liaison between academics and athletics and also between the institution and the NCAA.

Dr. Chuck BrownFor the past six years, Dr. Chuck Brown has been Behrend’s FAR. It’s a role well-suited to Brown, who is an associate professor of accounting, an avid sports fan, champion for students, and a Certified Public Accountant familiar with auditing techniques and complex policies and procedures.

“It’s a role that plays to my strengths,” Brown said. “I’m sort of an academic auditor, making sure everyone abides by the rules put in place by the NCAA.”

His primary duties are to certify 300-plus athletic academic reviews each semester and to review and approve athletic schedules.

Brown has played an invaluable role in opening the lines of communication between coaches and faculty members and has the full support, cooperation, and respect of those coaches who reside over Behrend’s twenty-two NCAA teams.

“He’s a mediator who understands where both sides are coming from,” Brian Streeter, director of athletics, said. “He’s been such a great asset.”

Additionally, Brown serves on the University-wide Committee on Campus Athletics in an effort to help modify rules and policies to better benefit Behrend’s student-athletes.

More impressively, in January, Brown accepted a four-year appointment to the NCAA Interpretations and Legislative Committee, where he is working directly with the NCAA to review all of the legislation for Division III athletes. 


Chris Deeb Speaks to Accounting Club

The Accounting Club hosted a speaker series meeting on October 2 with Chris Deeb being the guest. He shared with the club his interesting career path and gave some life advice to younger students. Deeb is currently working at the VA Hospital in Erie as the facility revenue manager. He recently reached his ten year mark with the government where he started as an intern in Washington D.C. following his graduation from Behrend. During his college career, Deeb had the opportunity to work as a management intern in Orlando, Florida, through Disney. He shared several interesting stories about working long hours and making an attractive bonus through Disney’s Stock Option plan. Chris encouraged students to keep focused, work hard, and not let negativity get to them. He’s currently renting out three houses as side income to his government position and says renting properties has its benefits. “Rental properties are the way of the future… ok, maybe not, but the extra cash is definitely a plus!” Deeb remarked. Chase, Deeb’s Bernese Mountain Dog, accompanied him to the meeting.


Lauren KayDavid PaternoAccounting Students Join Behrend Alumni at Leading Accounting Firm in Bethesda, Maryland

Two current Accounting seniors recently accepted job offers from CohnReznick, a leading accounting firm in the United States. These future graduates will be joining alumni Maggie Stepnowski ('12), Rachel Tompkins ('13), Sean Kelly ('14), and Amanda Weihaus ('15).

Lauren Kay accepted an offer as an entry level assurance associate. She applied for the job through the Nittany Lion Career Network and will be working with their auditing team.

David Paterno will be working as an audit associate. After attending University Park’s fall 2014 Business Career Fair, David received an internship with CohnReznick over their 2015 winter season. He was offered a full-time position on the last day of his internship.



Employer Spotlight: CohnReznick

CohnReznick is headquartered in New York City and has over 3,000 employees in the United States with 28 offices stretching from the east coast to Chicago, Austin, and San Diego, and is one of the largest accounting firms in the country.


Jackson Day Speaks at Behrend

On Monday, April 13 at 4:00 p.m. in Burke 180, the Black School of BJoackson Day, Partner at Ernst & Young LLPusiness hosted a presentation by Jackson Day, Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, New York, NY. The topic was “The new standard on revenue recognition.”

Jackson Day, currently also a member of the Emerging Issues Task Force of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and former SEC acting Chief Accountant and FASB Staff member, gave the audience a thorough understanding of the new standard and also talked about its effects for business and audit practice. The new standard, which took the FASB and the IASB more than a dozen years to complete, will impact all business as it changes the when and who revenue is to be recognized. Furthermore it requires extensive disclosures and – given its length of about 700 pages – will be a challenge to implement.

Jackson Day also talked about the consequences of the new rules for students and faculty as Universities need to prepare early and need to incorporate them into their teaching.

Numerous questions were asked concerning the standard but also about the requirements accounting firms have for university graduates and how they keep their staff up to speed with all the new requirements.

The presentation was very successful as it attracted lots of students and a number of faculty members that engaged in a good discussion after a thorough presentation.


Business Blitz

Business Blitz was held on September 23 from 5:30-6:30pm in McGarvey Commons and was a networking success. The annual event allowed students to work with professionals who gave feedback in an honest, useful, and positive way before students headed to the career fairs and had to face the real thing. Business Blitz is set up in a speed interviewing format with professionals sitting at tables and students moving from table to table as the bell rings. Meeting as many professionals as possible and getting feedback allows students to polish up their presentation skills before being put on the spot with employers they are trying to impress. Sometimes the students are so polished when they come in that they can't help but be noticed by the professionals participating in the event. Students appreciate the fast pace because they don't have time to be nervous, and the repetitive nature of the event helps them walk in confidence and prepared as they blitz the job market. 


Students at the Business BlitzStudents at Business Blitz