Innovator Article

New Program Launched: Master of Professional Accountancy
Degree Meets New Education Requirements for CPA Candidates

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School News • by Karen Nikos

The Graduate School of Management will become the first University of California school to offer a master’s degree in professional accountancy (MPAc)—a response to major changes in educational requirements and the resulting need for improved training of certified public accountants in California.

“The degree will provide a vital educational offering for the residents of California, as well as serve as a valuable component of the Graduate School of Management’s academic portfolio and business model,” said Dean Steven Currall. “Offering this degree is both timely and essential.”

The first students will be admitted to start in fall 2012.

The establishment of the new degree comes on the heels of new educational requirements for those seeking to become a CPA. A California law passed in 2009, Senate Bill 819, significantly revised the educational requirements for CPAs. The new law requires—starting in 2014—an additional year of post-secondary education before a candidate can become a CPA in California.

Students with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and who meet the minimum entrance requirements, may apply to the program. The School accepts the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) in its application process.

The MPAc program, largely designed around California’s new law, requires students to pass an examination after advancing to candidacy, and at the end of all coursework, in order to receive the degree.

Hiring Trends Up

Associate Professor Robert Yetman, faculty director of the program, said there are great employment opportunities for MPAc program graduates because the demand for highly trained accountants in California exceeds the supply.

“Already some accounting firms in California only interview and hire students who meet these new requirements,” he said. “I encourage students from all undergraduate backgrounds to apply to the program, and start their journey into the field of professional accountancy.”

The demand for accounting graduates nationwide has rebounded significantly from the economic downturn in recent years. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. accounting firms forecasted the same or more hiring of new accounting graduates in 2011 compared to 2010, according to “The 2011 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits,” an annual survey published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Seventy-one percent of the largest firms anticipated an increase in hiring in 2011 compared to the previous year, the survey found.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report in 2008 that looks at the job market for accountants and auditors through 2018. The report projects a growth rate of 22 percent during the 10-year period.

The School is now accepting applications for the new degree. Upcoming deadlines are February 15, March 31, and June 1, if space is still available.

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