Business Economics and Accounting

"A certified public accountant (CPA) in today's environment must not only have a high level of technical competence and a sense of commitment to service, but must also have good communications and analytical skills, and the ability to work well with people. Employers are looking for individuals who have the ability to analyze and evaluate complex business problems and the interpersonal skills and maturity to make decisions in a client- and customer-service environment."

-- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Some people wonder why Wooster doesn't offer more accounting courses as part of our Business Economics curriculum. This page is designed to talk about this question and about how Wooster's program can benefit students who are interested in accounting as a career.

We DO think that accounting is an important part of a business curriculum and we offer a solid course in Accounting fundamentals. Most business and economic decisions are based on accounting information and it is important to know how accounting data are constructed and what they do and do not mean. Thus, our course is designed to teach accounting concepts and how accounting information is and is not useful in making economic and business decisions.

We do not offer an accounting major or a number of specialized accounting courses. It has been Wooster's philosophy from the beginning that we could best help students to become successful in business by offering a broad platform of business training and an emplasis on how the parts of a business enterprise interact and relate to the external economic environment. This is different from trying to teach you how to be an accountant, or marketer, or financial analyst, for example. We believe that most of the specific details of a profession can be best learned on the job or in a graduate program.

Many employers such as Deloitte/Touche and Price Waterhouse have appreciated our approach and have hired our students on a regular basis. Most recently the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has adopted the the 150-hour rule which reflects our approach.

We can't say it better than the quotation at the top of this page. The AICPA urges state certification boards to require at least 150 credit hours of course work in a variety of areas in order to receive CPA certification and most states have followed this advice. This goes well beyond what any undergraduate program can offer. Thus, our job as an undergraduate institution is to give students a broad program of business study that prepares them well for the graduate work or business experience that will give them the necessary technical training in accounting.

Our Business Economics major and Independent Study programs do exactly that.