New Program at Rider University Offers Aspiring Accountants Practical Experience
This fall, under the direction of Dr. Evelyn McDowell, associate professor of Accounting, the department launched Aspiring Accounting Professional Program designed to help minority Accounting students succeed in the classroom and ultimately their careers through tutoring and practical experience.
The program, supported by a $10,000 grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, aims to leverage traditional classroom concepts with focused tutoring and learning from exposure and practical experience. In particular, the program uses externships with partnering businesses to complement the in-class learning experience of financial and intermediate accounting lectures. As students complete a topic, the host company or firm provides field experience to reinforce the related topic. Tutoring is made available and informal mentorship between the host company employees and the students is encouraged.
McDowell created the program in order to provide education and mentoring to ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the accounting profession, according to the American Institute of Public Accountants.
“Our approach is to focus on helping students obtain a firm understanding of accounting concepts, thereby increasing their ability to achieve academic and professional success,” McDowell explained. “The main objective of this program is to encourage African-American, Hispanic-American or Native American accounting students to more actively engage the material, resulting in a better understanding of the course work, while simultaneously gaining valuable work experience.”
Six students in the new Aspiring Accounting Professional Program had the opportunity to meet with representatives from EisnerAmper on October 27 and with representatives from KPMG on November 16 for informal networking luncheons. In addition to the luncheon, the students were paired with mentors from the firms and were invited to shadow the individuals at their offices. The other externship providers include Mercadien Group and Rider University.
Janeesa Carter ’14, a Business Administration major, was paired with Gina De Tata ’04 and Tiana Lautato of EisnerAmper. Carter attended a company symposium with De Tata in November. Topics included how to incorporate new technology, and the differences between IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).
Carter said the symposium was beneficial because it reinforced concepts she has learned in class.
“The presenters described IFRS and GAAP and how the procedures connect to the firm and the accounting world. I found that very informative,” Carter said. “I learned that you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in Accounting. You learn along the way. That allowed me to feel really secured about my future career.”
Joaunte Knight ’14, a Business Administration major, said she has found the externship and tutoring components of the program very helpful.
“When I went to the externship (at EisneAmper) after my accounting class, the concepts that I learned were clearer,” said Knight, adding that in class, she had learned about financial statements in corporations. At the externship, she learned about financial statements in non-profit organizations.
The rest of the participating students included Emmanuel Adedigba ’14, an Accounting major; Dave Brown ’13, an Accounting major; Duanne Neal ’14, a Business Administration major; and Michelle Register ’13, an Accounting major.
McDowell plans to add a service component to the program where participating students to can share their knowledge of accounting with high school students. She has also secured another $10,000 grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to run the program next year.
To learn more about the Aspiring Accounting Professional Program at Rider University and the requirements to qualify, please contact Dr. Evelyn McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org.