Calvin introduces new major and minor in accounting

Calvin is expanding its accounting program to include a minor for the first time, as well as a third major, Bachelor of Science in Global Management Accounting (BSGMA), after a faculty senate vote Monday night.

About 15-20 percent of accounting students are non-U.S. citizens, and professor Julie Voskuil, who helped develop the new major, feels that the two existing accounting majors are not serving these students well. The new major, she says, is “particularly beneficial for international students.”

The global management accounting major will prepare students to take an international competency test based out of England rather than an exam like the CPA that U.S.-based public accountants must pass.

Calvin’s accounting program currently offers two majors: a four-year bachelor of science in accounting and a five-year bachelor of science in public accounting, which prepares students for careers as CPAs.

Because many international students plan to return to their home country to pursue a career, most chose to study managerial accounting rather than the five-year public accounting program. But the four-year program still requires classes in auditing and U.S. income tax.

With the new major, Voskuil says, students “don’t have to understand U.S. taxes, U.S. business law or other standards that are specific to the U.S.”

In place of the classes they would drop, global management accounting students will take three courses: internship in accounting, operations management and a new course “global supply chain management.”

The internship is a key difference from the other accounting majors. Internships are “critical to learning how to research and report in an operational setting,” the proposal for the new major stated; and for students whose career goals include government or non-profit work rather than firms, the experience is valuable.

With cognates included, the major will be 69 credit hours. Because of this, global management accounting majors will be exempt from one of the two religion core requirements.

Calvin’s accounting program is competitive and highly-ranked, recently placing sixth in the nation for students who pass the CPA on their first try. However, not all students are looking for such a rigorous program. The introduction of a six-course minor in accounting will allow students to explore the subject area more generally.

“Not all students are interested in the breadth and depth required in the accounting majors,” the program proposal stated, “These students could benefit from a minor in accounting.”

Voskuil also saw the benefit. “The minor would be nice for students in international relations or who want to work in government or not-for-profit management,” said Voskuil. Some knowledge of financial systems could also assist business or economics majors.

Faculty expects 8-10 students per year initially to choose the global management accounting major and 10 to add an accounting minor.