Getting accounting degree to get CPA or CMA


R

Rob Wuhrman

I've been working on Great Plains as a software developer for about 5
years in the capacity of developing an eCommerce website for our
clients that does about a million in revenue per year, and also by
supporting the installation and configuration of the Great Plains
itself.

My inspiration now though is that I would like to take my work and
understanding of it to a much higher level by obtaining some formal
schooling in accounting and am perhaps considering the pursuit of a CPA
or CMA over the next few years which I understand is nothing to take
lightly and am deeply considering the implications of doing this. With
a degree in Computer Science this is all well and good, but I notice
that in my state (Maryland) one's bachelor's degree must be in one of a
handful of specific disciplines such as Accounting, Econ, or Business
Management in order to get a CPA. Has anyone here that's majored in a
non-business major gone back to get their accounting degree so they
could get a CPA? I'm assuming that as long as you go to the same
school, the electives you took for your first degree should generally
transfer to your second degree much like they would if you had double
majored to begin with.

I want to improve my accounting skills for 2 reasons, to obtain a level
of competence in working the product above and beyond what I already
have, and to obtain the credibility I need when I speak to clients and
internal finance staff about our Great Plains implementation. In that
vein, are there any other formally recognized accounting programs that
might fall short of a CPA or a Bachelors in Accounting for someone like
me, that would still deliver:

1) a reasonable level of competence in accounting principles
2) the credibility I need to help us get the most out of our system
regardless of whether I take the long term plunge to go for a CPA or
CMA?

Thanks.
 
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J

Joker

RW> I've been working on Great Plains as a software developer for about
RW> 5
RW> years in the capacity of developing an eCommerce website for our
RW> clients that does about a million in revenue per year, and also by
RW> supporting the installation and configuration of the Great Plains
RW> itself.

RW> My inspiration now though is that I would like to take my work and
RW> understanding of it to a much higher level by obtaining some formal
RW> schooling in accounting and am perhaps considering the pursuit of a
RW> CPA
RW> or CMA over the next few years which I understand is nothing to take
RW> lightly and am deeply considering the implications of doing this.
RW> With
RW> a degree in Computer Science this is all well and good, but I notice
RW> that in my state (Maryland) one's bachelor's degree must be in one
RW> of a
RW> handful of specific disciplines such as Accounting, Econ, or
RW> Business
RW> Management in order to get a CPA. Has anyone here that's majored in
RW> a
RW> non-business major gone back to get their accounting degree so they
RW> could get a CPA? I'm assuming that as long as you go to the same
RW> school, the electives you took for your first degree should
RW> generally
RW> transfer to your second degree much like they would if you had
RW> double
RW> majored to begin with.

I have known a few non-business majors who went back for the accounting
degree and later a CPA. The requirements for the CPA do not stipulate that
you need a degree in any particular field, only that you have so many
business and accounting hours. In Texas, you need 150 total hours, 45 of
which have to be higher level accounting. To get that, you could get an
undergrad accounting degree with some extra accounting, or like me, I got my
BBA in management then went back for a masters in accounting. Also, I
didn't think you need to go back to the school you got your first degree,
since most accredited colleges will let you transfer credit, but be sure
before you go getting enrolled.

RW> I want to improve my accounting skills for 2 reasons, to obtain a
RW> level
RW> of competence in working the product above and beyond what I already
RW> have, and to obtain the credibility I need when I speak to clients
RW> and
RW> internal finance staff about our Great Plains implementation. In
RW> that
RW> vein, are there any other formally recognized accounting programs
RW> that
RW> might fall short of a CPA or a Bachelors in Accounting for someone
RW> like
RW> me, that would still deliver:

RW> 1) a reasonable level of competence in accounting principles
RW> 2) the credibility I need to help us get the most out of our system
RW> regardless of whether I take the long term plunge to go for a CPA or
RW> CMA?

A comp-sci/accounting background would be a huge plus as far as I can tell.
Be warned though, accounting is not a black and white as computer
programming, so it may not fit your preference.
--
Joker
"...God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me."
Gen. 21:6

RW> Thanks.
 
G

Gregory L. Hansen

Joker said:
A comp-sci/accounting background would be a huge plus as far as I can tell.
Be warned though, accounting is not a black and white as computer
programming, so it may not fit your preference.
Funny thing is that computer programming is not so black and white,
either.

As I understand it, the geek is not in high demand these days. What they
do want is a technically-trained businessperson. They want someone that
can communicate with users and programmers, analyze business needs, and
translate them to specifications. And then send those specs to India for
implementation.
 
H

Holly Sommer

Joker said:
I have known a few non-business majors who went back for the accounting
degree and later a CPA.
I'm one of those weirdos.
The requirements for the CPA do not stipulate that
you need a degree in any particular field, only that you have so many
business and accounting hours. In Texas, you need 150 total hours, 45 of
which have to be higher level accounting.
Not 45 in higher level accounting... 30 (36 total, including the
standard two "intro" courses), plus a certain number of other business
course hours.

NASBA has requirements by state here:

http://www.nasba.org/NASBAfiles.nsf/3BC653050D2D8FA086256C1B00792FF5/$file/CPAPractReq2002.PDF

There are also links to the individual state boards on the NASBA site.

-Holly
 
J

Joe Canuck

Gregory said:
Funny thing is that computer programming is not so black and white,
either.
The actual coding of programs is the black and white part, the rest of
it isn't... in particular trying to nail down the business requirements
which often change during the project.

In any case, the program either compiles to executable code or it
doesn't... it either functions as per the specifications or it doesn't
As I understand it, the geek is not in high demand these days. What they
do want is a technically-trained businessperson. They want someone that
can communicate with users and programmers, analyze business needs, and
translate them to specifications. And then send those specs to India for
implementation.
Doing that doesn't always work as they expect it will.
 
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G

Gregory L. Hansen

The actual coding of programs is the black and white part, the rest of
it isn't... in particular trying to nail down the business requirements
which often change during the project.

In any case, the program either compiles to executable code or it
doesn't... it either functions as per the specifications or it doesn't
Choosing a programming style (object-oriented, structured, etc.), a design
philosophy (iterative, waterfall, etc.), designing the user interface,
designing the data structures, specifying logical units of program, etc.,
all bring subjectivity to it. Even determining what the specifications
actually are, and allowing them to change during development, is part of
the process.
Doing that doesn't always work as they expect it will.
No. But they do it.
 
B

Bill Lentz

I've been working on Great Plains as a software developer for about 5
years in the capacity of developing an eCommerce website for our
clients that does about a million in revenue per year, and also by
supporting the installation and configuration of the Great Plains
itself.

My inspiration now though is that I would like to take my work and
understanding of it to a much higher level by obtaining some formal
schooling in accounting and am perhaps considering the pursuit of a CPA
or CMA over the next few years which I understand is nothing to take
lightly and am deeply considering the implications of doing this. With
a degree in Computer Science this is all well and good, but I notice
that in my state (Maryland) one's bachelor's degree must be in one of a
handful of specific disciplines such as Accounting, Econ, or Business
Management in order to get a CPA. Has anyone here that's majored in a
non-business major gone back to get their accounting degree so they
could get a CPA? I'm assuming that as long as you go to the same
school, the electives you took for your first degree should generally
transfer to your second degree much like they would if you had double
majored to begin with.

I want to improve my accounting skills for 2 reasons, to obtain a level
of competence in working the product above and beyond what I already
have, and to obtain the credibility I need when I speak to clients and
internal finance staff about our Great Plains implementation. In that
vein, are there any other formally recognized accounting programs that
might fall short of a CPA or a Bachelors in Accounting for someone like
me, that would still deliver:

1) a reasonable level of competence in accounting principles
2) the credibility I need to help us get the most out of our system
regardless of whether I take the long term plunge to go for a CPA or
CMA?

Thanks.
I earned two degrees in Music and taught public school music for a few
years before going back to school and getting a Masters of Accountancy
(U of I) and sitting for the exam. At that time (late '70's), UI had
a special curriculum for Masters students that didn't have a business
of accounting background. Basically took an extra year to get the
degree, but I think it was worth it.

I don't know if they still have the program, but I'd look around for
something like that.

Bill
 
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J

Joker

HS> I'm one of those weirdos.

HS> Not 45 in higher level accounting... 30 (36 total, including the
HS> standard two "intro" courses), plus a certain number of other
HS> business
HS> course hours.

You're right. I was thinking of the total hours I needed to get my Masters.
--
Joker
"...God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me."
Gen. 21:6

HS> NASBA has requirements by state here:

HS> http://www.nasba.org/NASBAfiles.nsf/3BC653050D2D8FA086256C1B00792FF5/
HS> $file/CPAPractReq2002.PDF

HS> There are also links to the individual state boards on the NASBA
HS> site.

HS> -Holly
 

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