Classes are chock-full with worksheets, practice problems, repetitive quizzes as instructional tools, trips to the computer lab for Excel, Gleim, QuickBooks practice and more. Many larger schools lack the facilities to accommodate their students in a computer lab setting, where interaction builds understanding.
What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?
Accounting students at Western master the technical skills in financial accounting, auditing and taxation needed to compete in the professional arena. For students who choose to take the Uniform Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam, the professional accounting emphasis meets those requirements and gives them sufficient background to succeed on the exam.
Most accounting students complete a second major in business administration within four years. With our small classes students gain extensive experience making presentations and working in teams -coupled with the variety and breadth of a liberal arts education.
VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)
Participating in VITA introduces students to TaxWise professional tax preparation software - an advantage our graduates frequently cite when they compare themselves to recent graduates from other programs. Having “real” taxpayer clients helps students develop financial-interviewing skills needed to deal with typical, financially sensitive, taxpayer issues. The VITA experience provides an opportunity to build professional skills - from a required dress code, discussion and practice handling difficult clients, to an appreciation of the value of standardized business processes that lead to good outcomes. Our VITA site has only negligible return-rejection rates when compared to the VITA national average.
Western’s auditing class is taught in a CPA Exam-preparation format, with extensive use of professional exam-prep software. Our CPA Exam pass rates compare favorably with national averages.
AIS (Accounting Information Systems)
Rather than taking the standard, AIS textbook approach, with extensive discussion of technical-system design, Western’s course is a hands-on introduction to QuickBooks. Students complete a comprehensive, paper-based project that facilitates ‘seeing’ and ‘doing’ the entire accounting cycle, from debit and credit to financial statements.
Students choosing the Accounting Professional Emphasis are well prepared to accept entry-level, staff positions in Public Accounting and continue pursuit of their CPA certification.
Others choose to pursue a variety of graduate programs, including specialization in accountancy or tax, or combining their accounting degree with another discipline, such as law or an M.B.A.
Students who have gone on to graduate school tell us that they were very well prepared by their Western education and able to compete with other students from bigger schools. Several regional accounting firms return to Western every year to recruit graduates; once they hire one of our graduates, they come back to hire more. Students have successfully obtained jobs in government (City and County of Denver, the IRS, Gunnison County), in public accounting (Dalby, Wendland & Co., BiggsKofford) and in private industry.