Spring 2019 Accounting Newsletter

In This Issue:


Message from the Department Chair

Ash Deshmukh

I hope you are having a wonderful spring semester.

The accounting world continues to evolve and change, and so does the accounting curriculum. We continue to keep up with the changes by introducing new technological and pedagogical tools in the curriculum. We have introduced a new data analytics track in the MIS major for the aspiring data analysts. Believe it or not, the accounting profession is now slowly being dominated by data analysts and data scientists. The accounting records are in the cloud, and accounting and auditing tools are electronic.

We had our advisory board meeting in January. The board members stressed the importance of technology, and we did hear a few snippets about ambitious technology projects that are on the drawing board. The board members all feel that the accounting profession is due for a major change in the coming years.

Accounting students continue to have numerous opportunities to prepare for life-long careers. The Accounting Club, internships, and collaboration with industry provide ample opportunities to get a real-world experience. We have added a new data analytics course to the MPAcc program. The MPAcc program soon will be offered in Cranberry Township and go to a hybrid delivery model. Our MPAcc students continue to get placed with Big Four, national, and regional public accounting firms. We also have a thriving accounting and finance double major program. Any student who has done a double major in accounting and MIS or a minor in MIS is likely to have excellent job prospects.

I wish you all the best for the coming year.

—Dr. Ash Deshmukh, Chair, Accounting and MIS

Faculty Spotlight

Scott McAuley, M.B.A., lecturer in MIS

Scott McAuley

What do you like most about Behrend?

The students! Students here are the best students I have taught over past thirty-five years.

Do you have any advice for current students majoring in Accounting?

Keep up with technology. There are always new tools to help us do accounting more efficiently. However, don’t become too dependent on the technology. Make sure you understand the accounting that the technology is doing.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy woodworking, working on my classic cars, and working on my Christmas tree farm.

Student Spotlights

Spencer Randall

Spencer Randall ’19

Accounting and Management Information Systems, Supply Chain Minor, and SAP Certificate

What are your hobbies/interests outside of school and work?

I tend to spend most of my free time reading, watching movies, and playing volleyball.

What classes do you feel were most beneficial to your success?

Intermediate Accounting 1 and 2 and MIS 204, 430, and 445. However, I think auditing will be my most beneficial class going into the future.

Why were these classes the most beneficial?

The accounting classes gave me the understanding I needed for my internships. This knowledge paired with the tools I learned in MIS allowed me to impress my employers, and was consistently mentioned in my performance evaluations at both Erie Insurance and Ernst and Young.

What are plans for after graduation?

I am starting with Ernst and Young doing financial services assurance this summer.

Andrew Gignac ’20

Andrew Gignac


What are your hobbies/interests outside of school and work?

Most of my free time in the summer is spent playing golf. I also like to spend time with family and friends and walk my dogs.

What classes do you feel were most beneficial to your success?

The first class is ACCTG 211 because this was the first accounting class I took, and I really learned I had a passion for accounting. The second class was ECON 102 Microeconomics because Travis Yates, lecturer in economics, gave me an understanding of hard work. Combining my passion for accounting and hard work has been a big reason for my academic success.

Do you have any current internships/jobs lined up? Where?

A job at Northwest Savings Bank’s corporate headquarters in their accounting department.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, the tentative plan is to attend graduate school to get my master’s degree in accounting. After that, I’ll take the CPA exam and become a Certified Public Accountant.

Alumni Spotlight

Catching Up with An Alumna – Kelsie (Bulger) Sackett ʼ16

Kelsie Sackett

Kelsie currently works for McCarty Printing as an accountant in Erie. We asked Kelsie to catch us up on life after graduation and find out if she has any tips to share with current students.

If you could go back and change anything about your time at Behrend, what would it be?

I wish I would have looked into more certificates, or picking up a minor or major in order to get my CPA. I also wish I had taken the time to participate with more on-campus activities. I spent a lot of time outside of classes working another job, but I feel like I missed out on some typical college experiences. Make the time to have fun and relax a little, too!

Do you have any advice for current college students?

My advice is to take advantage of all of the programs offered to obtain enough credits for the CPA exam or any other certificates that might fit right along with the classes you already need to take. My other advice is to always be open to learning more and learning from mistakes. You never know when something new will be thrown your way. Also, make Excel your best friend if it isn’t already! I’ve used it for typical accounting functions as well as creating a template for job tickets and packing labels that can easily be filled out right in Excel.

Is there anything else you’re proud of or would like to share about yourself?

Balance seems to have become a recurring theme for me. Aside from balancing the books, I practice balance almost every day through yoga. After working with numbers every day, I also try to balance my left and right side brain by working on art at home. You might see some of my art appear in shows here and there around the city throughout the year. I’m getting back into painting more again after getting married this past fall.

News and Events

Meet the Accounting Club Officers

Brianna Keith, President

Brianna Keith

Brianna is a junior accounting major with a minor in Finance. She is from Erie, and is planning on staying in school to get her master’s degree. Brianna is also a Black School of Business Ambassador and a member of Behrend’s track and field team. She is currently an intern at HBK CPA & Consultants. Briana can be reached at [email protected].

Hannah Kauffman, Vice President

Hannah Kauffman

Hannah is a junior accounting major with a certificate in SAP. She is from Portersville, Pennsylvania, and is planning to continue her college education to obtain her master’s degree. Hannah is currently an intern at Direct Allergy. Hannah can be reached at [email protected].

Brandon Kowalski, Treasurer

Brandon Kowalski

Brandon is from Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. He’s majoring in accounting, and he’ll be graduating in 2021. After he graduates, he plans on going to graduate school and get 150 credits in order to take the Certified Public Accountant exam. Brandon can be reached at [email protected].

Anthony Deppas, Secretary

Andrew Deppas

Anthony is a junior accounting major from Warren, Pennsylvania, working toward his 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam. He is currently employed at Northwest Bank, helping resolve a variety of account issues, from updating information to addressing ownership issues. Anthony plans to earn his 150 credits and aspires to work for a Big Four accounting firm. Anthony can be reached at [email protected].

What's New in the Accounting Major?

Commencement Address

Dr. Charles A. Brown, associate professor of accounting, gave the faculty address at Penn State Behrend’s fall commencement, which awarded 202 new undergraduate degrees and 33 master’s degrees.

Accounting Canvas Pride

The accounting department created a Canvas Pride course made specifically for students who have declared accounting as a major in LionPATH and students interested in accounting. We post news about what's going on around campus that is important for our accounting majors, as well as reminders about internship and career opportunities and resources for students that are starting to think about pursuing their CPA license.

MPACC is coming to Cranberry Township

Students wishing to continue working while they pursue their Master in Professional Accounting (M.P.Acc.) degree part-time will be able to do so with the hybrid format at both the Erie and Cranberry Township locations. Classes will meet live four times each semester, and the remaining work will be done online at a weekly pace so that students are able to fulfill their other commitments and still complete the coursework. Two classes will be offered in the hybrid format starting fall 2019 and will continue so that students are able to progress through the degree work on a part-time basis. For more information, contact Dr. Ash Deshmukh at [email protected] or the Graduate Admissions Office at 814-898-7255.

Advisory Board

The Accounting Advisory Board met on January 18 to talk about the accounting curriculum and get input on what our advisers are seeing in the workplace that we should be addressing as part of our accounting program. The topics that came up highest on the list to discuss were Excel skills, and our advisers were pleased to discuss the data analytics opportunities that are in place for our accounting majors now. We also reviewed the format of the MPAcc program, and you can read about the degree being offered on a hybrid basis in this newsletter! Our advisers expressed interest in hearing our internship presentations, so they will be invited to sit in on the presentations starting this spring. Expect to see Accounting Day continue next fall and an increase in activity with the PICPA as a result of the connections with our advisers, too. Thank you to advisers Justin Bushman, Mitch Kahlkof, and Brad Philips for taking the time to work with us!

Accounting vs. Finance Kickball Game

In October, accounting and finance faculty and students competed in a kickball game to win bragging rights over the other department. It was a great atmosphere for everyone to be able to come together. Plus, the Accounting Team was able to take home the victory!

Finance and Accounting Kickball Game Participants

VITA Presentation

Cheryl Bates from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Tax Program was on campus in November to visit and talk with our ACCTG 310 classes. She also held a Q&A session for those not currently enrolled in tax coursework and those who had further questions.

Club Showcase

The Accounting Club officers attended the Spring Club Showcase in January to encourage students to join Accounting Club and find their passion in the accounting field. They met several of eager students who enjoyed learning more about a possible future as an accountant.

PwC Recruiting Event

PricewaterhouseCoopers met with more than twenty students through an online session on February 12. Students learned about career opportunities and how to get into PwC’s recruiting pipeline. Events like these have helped several of our students. Nicole Overby ’19 and Anna Reed ’19 both received PwC full-time offers after building a connection with the firm from a past online session!

March 12: Senior Accounting Panel

Burke 002 from noon – 2:00 p.m.

Come eat food and listen to a panel of senior accounting students talk about effective ways of scheduling and advising strategies.

April 9: CPA Preparation Meeting

Burke 001 from noon – 1:30 p.m.

Laura Copley from Becker CPA Exam Review wants to talk to accounting majors about preparing for the CPA exam! There also will be a panel of MPAcc graduate students who have already taken the exam or who are currently studying for their exam to give you tips/advice and answer any questions about the exam.

Join The Accounting Club!

We encourage students to come to meetings not only to increase networking opportunities but also to further their learning experience in exploring career paths. The Penn State Behrend Accounting Club provides opportunities for students to broaden their knowledge in the field of accounting. Throughout the semester we schedule meetings and events which give students a chance to meet with professors and professionals within the accounting field, as well as other students interested in accounting.

Kickball Tournament Winners