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Calvin accounting students rank sixth in nation among similar schools

File photo.
File photo.

Accounting students ranked sixth in 2012’s Certified Public Accountant exams according to the National Board of Accountancy. Calvin’s ranking is among mid-sized schools, and Calvin’s students also achieved the high pass rate of 74.7 percent, outperforming universities and colleges such as Cornell, Loyola, Samford and Hope.

“Calvin’s strong combination of the liberal arts and professional programs prepares our graduates well, both for their lives of service, after graduation, and even for things like taking the CPA exam,” explains accounting professor Julie Voskuil.

Calvin students have always done well in the past, but 2012’s results are certainly better than last year’s. In 2011 Calvin students came in 15th place among schools of a similar size.

Calvin students also did well outside of the “mid-sized” pool, or the group of schools with accounting programs similar in size to Calvin’s.  According to the NASBA 2012 CPA exam performance results, Calvin ranked in the top 40. This means that Calvin students are faring well among large, selective institutions with accounting master’s students.

The percentage of Calvin students who pass the test exceeds the national percentage of 54.3 and the state of Michigan’s — 63.8 percent.

Professor Voskuil said, “These results go to show that Calvin students have a good work ethic and that we can compete with more selective institutions with master’s programs.”

The American Institute of CPAs certifies accountants after they have passed the “three E’s” — education, examination and experience. The CPA exam fulfills the second “E.” The 14 hour test encompasses four sections including, auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.

After passing the “three E’s,” students are given a card proving their CPA certification.

Calvin’s accounting major has been a flourishing part of the business department for almost 30 years with about 30 accounting majors graduating this year.

One of the department’s strengths is its faculty. “The accounting faculty is well-prepared academically and professionally prepared because we’ve worked in the field before. We know the expectations and goals of the field and can set those same goals in the classroom,” says Voskuil.

Senior Erin Deckinga echoed this thought, “What I appreciate is that the majority of the profs have experience. They can give applications they got from real life [experience].”

As she begins to gain practical accounting experience, Deckinga explains, “It’s been cool to see how classes applied to the real world.”

Mike Fennema, also a senior, expressed enthusiasm for his major and department as well. He says, “I chose accounting because of the many job opportunities and how practical it is. It’s the best.”

According to the accounting department website, 92 percent of graduates from 2012 and 2011 have jobs and the other 8 percent are in graduate schools. Voskuil explains, “Calvin has a national alumni network that students can tap into when they want to get a job.” Calvin accounting grads are working in Michigan, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Boston and Seattle.

Freshman accounting student Ana Barahona Reyes, explains that she came to Calvin because of other Calvin accounting graduates she knew. One was the vice president of a non-for profit organization and the other a consultant at a local firm.

She says, “They had good jobs and they were doing meaningful things in their job.”

“I think Calvin prepares students to work well anywhere.” As an international student, Barahona expressed appreciation that her accounting major from Calvin would enable her to do good work in the U.S. or abroad.

About the Author

Julia LaPlaca

Julia LaPlaca is a Chimes writer for the 2013-14 school year. She is a freshman at Calvin majoring in literature and art history.

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