It’s nice to be wanted. And it’s especially nice to be wanted badly by employers after you’ve spent a not-so-small fortune on a degree – a master’s, for example, in accounting.
Hiring of recent Master of Accounting graduates trended upward from fewer than 5,000 in 2003 to 16,557 in 2012, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
And now a new opportunity is coming, that will prepare college graduates in one year to enter the field at the high levels a CPA certification confers. New York University’s Stern School of Business has just announced a new one-year master’s degree in accounting, which will satisfy the education requirements to become a CPA in New York and many other states.
In recent years, increasing regulations on business have spurred rising demand for CPAs, says Thomas Pugel, Stern’s vice-dean of MBA programs.
STRICTER REGULATIONS, MORE ACCOUNTING JOBS
“The regulatory environment’s becoming stricter,” Pugel says. “There’s just an ongoing need for people to join accounting firms, to work on accounting issues within companies.”
A price hasn’t yet been set for Stern’s new MS degree in accounting, but it will be competitive with other highly ranked schools, several of which charge about $50,000 for their programs, Pugel says.
The new degree is intended to broaden Stern’s offerings beyond its undergraduate dual-degree accounting BS/MS, known as “the CPA track.”
“We wanted to leverage what we were doing there and offer this to graduates from any college to give them access to NYU, NYU Stern, our faculty, and the New York City setting which is the center of much accounting business,” Pugel says. “We want graduates from our program to be totally ready to sit for the CPA exam.”
For several years, Stern students and graduates from other schools have expressed interest in a one-year accounting MS to meet CPA requirements, Pugel says. “We’ve been getting a steady stream of those requests and inquiries,” he says. “We started to look carefully at this a couple of years ago and realized there was a strong opportunity.”
STRAIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE
The majority of students are expected to come straight from undergraduate programs, mostly in accounting and business.
New York has reciprocity agreements with some 47 states that will allow Stern accounting MS graduates who become CPA-certified to practice without additional exams or requirements.
“Our goal is to draw nationally, even globally,” Pugel says, adding that the program will likely attract many students from the East Coast, and especially the northeast. “That might just be a natural outcome of our location and their interest,” Pugel says. Stern’s assistant dean of MBA admissions, Isser Gallogly, expects additional applicants from Texas, Chicago, and California, many of them intending to become CPA-certified in New York State. “China’s going to be a good market, too,” Gallogly says. “There’s a demand for many folk in China who want to come and work in the U.S.”
The program, scheduled to start in September 2016, will have two tracks: taxation, and financial accounting and assurance.
Gallogly says there’s particularly high demand for taxation specialists among employers. “They could always use more talent coming their way,” Gallogly says.
Area accounting firms are “really excited” about the new degree at Stern, Gallogly says. “They have a need for top-flight people and there’s a limit to what’s out there,” he says.
NOT FOR ‘THE ACADEMICALLY TIMID’
The program will be rigorous, Gallogly says. “It’s going to be what you would expect from an elite accounting program. It’s going to challenge people. This is not going to be for the faint of heart. This is not going to be for the academically timid.