by Kassidy Taylor
The demand for accountants is rising, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a faster-than-average employment growth of 10 percent nationwide through 2026. And in New Hampshire, the need for accounting professionals is even higher, projecting 12.5 percent growth between 2014 and 2024.
In response to market demand, the University of New Hampshire at Manchester has launched a new accounting option within its Bachelor of Arts in Business program.
Jeanne Gerard, Certified Public Accountant and lecturer of business at UNH Manchester, says the accounting option was created so business students are qualified to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam upon graduation.
“Accounting as a career has a very positive hiring outlook,” Gerard says. “This option allows students to fulfill the state’s requirements to sit for the CPA exam, and gives them the business and financial background that is extremely attractive to potential employers.”
Requirements to take the CPA exam in New Hampshire are a bachelor’s degree, 24 credits in business and 30 credits in accounting. Students in UNH Manchester’s accounting option will fulfill 32 credits in accounting while also earning their bachelor’s degree in business.
The job outlook is encouraging for graduates with a background in accounting, says Kaylyn Landry, CPA and audit manager at the accounting firm BerryDunn. Landry says the demand for accountants has spurred greater competition between firms to hire qualified individuals.
“Accounting graduates and new CPAs entering the job market are in high demand, which makes for greater competition between firms to recruit candidates,” Landry says. “Firms are having to find ways to set themselves apart in order to attract great candidates in this competitive job market.”
Robin Abbott, CEO of the New Hampshire Society of CPAs, says the growing demand and dynamic landscape of the accounting field make it a solid career choice.
“The accounting profession is ever-evolving, particularly with the today's broadening and complex financial environment. With technology modernizing our financial information and documents, there are unlimited possibilities for career growth and development,” Abbott says. “It is undoubtedly one of the most revered professions.”
Math has always been Brooke Alpers’ strong suit, so she was excited when UNH Manchester added the accounting option this fall. Alpers, a business major, says the accounting option will be beneficial in finding a job when she graduates in 2018.
“I was always placed in advanced math classes in school, and after taking an accounting class my senior year of high school, I knew it was the career path I wanted to pursue,” Alpers says. “The accounting option allows me to graduate with a focused degree, and the qualifications to take the CPA exam.”
Alpers says the most rewarding part of the business program is the individualized attention from faculty who have industry experience—such as Gerard, who has worked with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte & Touche) as well as regional and local public accounting firms.
Gerard says the career-driven curriculum, small class sizes and faculty mentorship will give students in the accounting option the skills and experience to meet the growing workforce demands.
“Public accounting firms are eager to hire, and our students will graduate prepared and motivated to meet the demand for accounting professionals.”
The Business program has also developed curriculum guides to help students or graduates of Great Bay Community College, Manchester Community College, Nashua Community College and NHTI transition into the Business, B.A. – Accounting at UNH Manchester. For more information about the accounting option, visit manchester.unh.edu/accounting or call UNH Manchester’s admissions office at 603-641-4150.
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