New accounting programs offer accounting majors options at WKU

Cameron Koch

WKU’s Master of Accountancy Program (MAcc) is set to begin in the fall of 2012, along with a new program for those majoring in accounting that will provide another avenue for achieving a graduate degree.

The Professional Program in Accountancy (PPA) allows students to begin work on their MAcc degree during the first semester of their senior year, taking graduate level classes while still an undergraduate.

The MAcc program came out of a desire to give students another means to achieving Certified Public Accountant status. Accounting students interested in becoming CPAs as required by most states must pass the CPA exam. However to be eligible for the exam and CPA certificate, students must have completed 150 hours of academic course work.

WKU’s current accounting program offers 120 hours of course work, leaving students interested in becoming a CPA with few options. Students must either take additional irrelevant classes or go to another university that has a MAcc program.

Starting in fall of 2012 students can continue to take relevant accounting courses and at the end of an additional 30 hours of coursework receive a MAcc degree.

The PPA grants undergraduate students who already know they want to get their MAcc degree another option for doing so. There are several benefits of going the PPA route rather than leaving and returning to WKU for the MAcc. They will be able to pay normal undergraduate fees instead of graduate fees when they take graduate classes their senior year. They won’t have to take the Graduate Management Admission Test or student assessment course normally required. It is the only program like it in Kentucky.

Jeffrey Katz, dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business, said the upcoming programs continue the business school’s reputation for innovation and high-quality students.

It’s the reduced cost and waiving of the GMAT test that Morgan Johnson, a junior majoring in accounting, said is the most beneficial aspect of the new program.

“That’s two big tests that people have to take that I don’t have to take,” Johnson said. “Having a master’s coming out of school will help me take the CPA for one and help me stand out above others as well.”

Steve Wells, chair of accounting, believes that the PPA is a great option for WKU students and that its format could be applied to other WKU graduate programs.

“If you’re going to be spending 150 hours you might as well be getting another degree,” Wells said. “We’re kind of breaking new ground, but I suspect some other programs will follow suit.”

Johnson said that not having to study for the CPA exam as much because of training in class due to the MAcc and PPA programs will really help her personally.

“I think after people start realizing what we’re doing…it’s only 30 more hours and everybody needs it,” Johnson said. “It will help a lot, I think it will bring in a lot of people.”