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“SUP” in the Department of Accounting and Legal Studies

Ken Smith, Accounting and Legal Studies Department Chair
Ken Smith, Accounting and
Legal Studies Department Chair

As most of the Perdue School faculty are aware, we received official notification from Linda Livingstone, chair of the Board of Directors of AACSB International, that we now have separate AACSB accreditation for the accounting program. This notification marked the culmination of an effort that unofficially began in fall 2007 when initial steps were undertaken to align the department with the accounting accreditation standards. We officially applied for and were accepted for candidacy in fall 2010. This began a long and concerted effort on the part of the faculty to meet each of the standards required for accreditation. While we are proud of this achievement, we also are cognizant of the fact that we are up for Continuous Improvement Review in approximately three and a half years, and as is the case with the Perdue School, it will be under the “new” 2013 standards. So, we already are beginning to address the challenges posed by those new standards.

Another challenge facing the department is the impending retirement of three of our senior faculty members. Doug Marshall will be retiring at the end of this semester after 39 years at SU. Two additional retirements are anticipated next year. We are presently in a search to replace Doug and hope to get permission to hire for next year’s departing faculty members.

Susanne Holloway continues to serve as the managing partner of our capstone internship course where we provide accounting services for non-profit organizations on the Shore. Michael Schuldt is running our ABLE/VITA program where SU students provide income tax assistance to people in the community. David Emerson is serving as faculty advisor to the Iota Pi chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, and Michael Schuldt is serving as faculty advisor of the SU chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.

The department faculty have been working diligently on scholarship activities over the past few years. Several faculty members have published mission-supporting, peer-reviewed journal articles, and many have made presentations at regional and national academic conferences.

On May 1, the department will be hosting its inaugural awards banquet at the Peaky’s Restaurant banquet room on the top floor of the Fenwick Inn in Ocean City starting at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by accounting firms that have purchased tables with seating for eight. At the event there will be presentations of student awards and scholarships, an outstanding accounting alum award, and other recognitions. (There may even be music and dancing after the formal proceedings are concluded.) If anyone is interested in purchasing a ticket for the dinner and award ceremony, they are encouraged to contact Ken Smith or Beth Bloom for details.

This summer marks the sixth year of our on-campus offering of the Becker CPA Fast Pass Program. This intense, seven-week program prepares our accounting grads to sit for the CPA exam before they have to report for work at their respective employers. SU faculty who have taught in this program include David Emerson, Michael Garner, Julie Gittelman, Margaret Stewart, Tom Keeton, Susanne Holloway and Ken Smith. Our CPA exam pass rate is increased steadily since the start of this program, many of our students have passed all four parts of the exam on the first sitting. Valerie Sheehan graduated in spring 2013, took Fast Pass and was a 2013 Elijah Watt Sells award winner. More than 94,154 individuals sat for the examination in 2013, with 55 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award. We anticipate formal notification by midmonth that John Buntz, 2014 SU accounting graduate, also has received this prestigious award. This will put our program in the company of only a few other schools nationwide that will be able to claim back-to-back Sells Award winners.

This September, the department will co-host the fourth annual Meet-The-Firms night where recruiters seeking accounting, finance and information systems students come to informally meet-and-greet interested students and then dine with faculty. This program has grown from a dozen firms to twice that number since the inaugural event in 2012. Our students have been heavily recruited by Big Four and other large public accounting firms, employers in private industry, and government agencies.

Accounting alum Frank Abel just released the brochure for the 11th Annual Shore Fraud Conference, which once again will be co-sponsored by Accounting and Legal Studies Department of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, the Delmarva chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, the Iota Pi chapter of Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Honor Society and the SU chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants. It will be a day-long event providing practitioners with eight hours of fraud-related continuing professional education. Among the notable speakers already booked to speak are:

  • Richard M. Scrushy, HealthSouth’s former CEO, was the first executive to be tried under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, accused of “cooking the books” and altering financial returns at the company he founded. In June 2005, an Alabama federal jury found him not guilty on all counts. Four months after his acquittal in the HealthSouth case, Richard was indicted along with a former Alabama governor on political corruption charges for money laundering, obstruction, racketeering and bribery. Richard was found guilty and was sentenced to a prison sentence of 82 months, which was later reduced. Richard was released from federal custody in 2012.
  • Toby Grovesplead guilty in federal court in 2008 to charges of mortgage fraud and income tax fraud, admitting that he and his Groves Funding Corp. mortgage brokerage defrauded several financial institutions. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison, and it was in prison that he began researching the psychology behind white-collar criminals.

This fall, the department also will be co-hosting a professional issues update with Beta Alpha Psi and the Maryland Association with CPAs, and the banker’s conference that is put on by TGM Group, LLC. We also maintain a community presence through service on boards and, in the case of our Professors of the Practice, continuing work in the field.

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