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MAS (Leadership) Handbook

Choosing a Track

There are no limits to the career opportunities available to you. Following are some examples of entry-level accounting careers that many MAS (Leadership) students have accepted upon graduation. Choosing one track over another in the MAS (Leadership) program does not prevent you from choosing career opportunities in another area. All tracks within the degree program offer broad-based accounting knowledge, and knowledge in other business disciplines that will make you a successful, professional accountant in today's complex business environment. Choosing the Financial Reporting and Assurance or the Taxation track will give you the most complete preparation for the CPA Examination.

The most popular track is Financial Reporting and Assurance. Generally graduates begin their careers in the following:

External Auditing

Auditing is one best known service provided by CPAs in public practice. To better protect consumers and investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires every publicly-held company to issue an annual financial statement. These financial statements are examined by an independent CPA and the results are referred to as an "audit." The CPA's role as an auditor is to examine a company's financial statements in order to assure stockholders and other financial statement users that a company's financial statements are reported fairly.

Although privately-held companies are not required to have annual audits, many do so anyway. Privately-held companies that do not undergo an annual audit often engage CPAs to conduct a "review" or "compilation" instead. Both involve an examination of a company's financial statements, although a review contains less assurance than an audit while a compilation contains no assurance.

Internal Auditing

An internal auditor is responsible for providing an objective review of the company's financial and operating systems. He/she may also assist outside CPAs in their examination and evaluation of the company's financial statements. The internal auditor also functions as an in-house management consultant to senior management.

Students who choose the Taxation track generally begin their careers in the following:

Tax Advisory Services

With the ever-changing tax laws and the growing complexity of business, tax professionals are involved in everything from preparing tax returns to reorganizing a multinational company's domestic and foreign operations in a manner that takes into consideration such factors as U.S. and foreign taxes, cash investments, dividends, and economic growth. The tax specialist must deal with a variety of tax problems and opportunities in three primary areas of tax practice-tax consulting, tax compliance, and representation of clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tax Planning

Accountants are responsible for determining the company's liability to various taxing authorities for income tax, licenses, sales tax, property tax, and payroll tax. They analyze the effects of tax accounting alternatives and study laws and regulations to ensure correct application of new tax measures.

Students who choose the Managerial Accounting Systems track generally may begin their careers in the following:

Information Technology Services

There is a tremendous need for professionals who can design and implement advanced systems to fit a company's specialized needs.

Management Accounting

Management accountants are responsible for the accumulation, analysis and reporting of financial and non-financial data in a format and level of detail required by management for making business decisions. Management accountants may make recommendations on business policy, resource allocation, and business operations to improve financial performance.

The above career path information is taken from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants website. For more information about additional career paths (such governmental and not-for-profit), please see www.aicpa.org.