Accounting Presentations Benefit Students, Local CPAs

MAcct presentation attendees

Dec. 11, 2018

Jesse Mueller graduated from the University of Montana’s nationally ranked master of accountancy program in 2017, but he was back in the classroom this week. The Wipfli accountant joined more than 54 certified professional accountants from 23 employers at presentations given by current master’s graduate students during finals week.

The end-of-semester presentations for students in UM’s Advanced Auditing and Accounting Theory courses doubled as free continuing professional education for the CPAs. Like Mueller, many of the attendees were UM grads.

“I had to do this when I was here for my master’s, so it’s fun and interesting listening to these presentations from the other side,” Mueller said, adding that the no-cost CPE credits toward state accounting board requirements enticed him as well.

While the presentations are an annual event, MAcct Director Terri Herron said the response to this year’s invitation topped past years. Topics included cryptocurrency, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and ethics.

“These presentations are so well received by the local CPA community,” Herron said. “The students knock it out of the park. They provide leading-edge content, and the free CPE is a bonus for the attendees. This is a great example of outreach that really has a positive impact on everyone.”

Master’s student Dan Fouts was part of a group that presented a case study about a Denver company that failed an ethics inspection. Originally from Butte, Fouts hopes to practice in western Montana after he graduates next summer and said the presentations provided an ideal time for  networking.

“It’s a great opportunity to network with people who are already working,” Fouts said. “The more times we get our faces in front of them the better chance we’ll get hired if we want to stay local.”

The University of Montana Accounting Program has a longstanding reputation for preparing top accounting graduates and its alumni are in demand. About 50 firms actively recruit potential accounting hires from the College of Business each year. The 10-year average for master’s alumni who have jobs within three months of graduation is 94.7 percent.

The reason for such competition to hire UM accounting grads has to do with excellence. UM students and graduates passed the certified public accountant exam at a rate higher than any other four-year public school in the West in 2017. Also that year, Public Accounting Report’s 36th Annual Professors Survey ranked UM’s master of accountancy program 16th in the country for master’s programs of similar size.

UM’s accounting programs are the only programs in Montana that are separately accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Accounting is one of the original degrees offered by the College of Business; the master of accountancy program was founded in 1993.

For more about the UM master’s in accountancy program, visit

Photo: College of Business accounting alumni who attended the master of accountancy presentations.