MAJOR PROFILE: Accounting

by Rachel Burns
Staff Writer

Dr. Daniel Fulks has taugh many accounting courses at Transylvania, including May terms in Ireland and Grand Cayman.

Accounting. It’s listed first in Transylvania’s university catalog. Before glossing over this major, however, take a minute to better understand what accounting is and the opportunities it creates.

Accountants focus on the financial concerns of various groups, and having a background in accounting is useful for other fields such as management. Majoring in accounting means receiving a wealth of information on all relevant topics, from taxes to microeconomics.

The accounting program at Transylvania is somewhat unique. The nature of Transy’s credit system requires only 1.5 additional courses beyond the 36 units needed for graduation to qualify to take the certified public accountant (CPA) examination.

Instead of having to attend graduate school to earn the extra credits — though many students take this route — Transy students can qualify to take the CPA test at the time of their graduation.

The department’s home page explains the advantage of this setup.

“This allows our students greater flexibility in deciding whether to enter the business world or attend graduate school,” the website reads.

Being able to major in accounting in a liberal arts environment is another benefit that accounting majors have.

“Our students have the benefits the liberal arts school provides, which is enhanced by the liberal arts approach our accounting and business administration faculty take to their classroom teaching,” said Dr. Daniel Fulks, program director for accounting.

The program faculty are skilled and experienced. Professor John Zink is a current CPA, Professor Judy Jones has received a service award from the Kentucky Society of CPAs and Fulks himself serves on the Kentucky Board of Accountancy. Fulks’ expertise on the financial aspects of intercollegiate athletics is respected nationally.

Accounting majors have many opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience.

Internships can be arranged through the career development center with Lexington businesses or CPA firms. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, students can help low-income taxpayers with their tax returns. This occurs during winter term in the Cowgill Center and draws 150 to 250 community participants annually.

Fulks heads Transy’s Accounting Club, too, which provides extra career knowledge. Alpha Lambda Omicron is the accounting honorary on campus.

May term courses provide travel abroad combined with special topics in accounting. According to Fulks, these trips take place every two years, when possible. Past topics include Accounting in the Equine Industry in Ireland as well as Forensic Accounting and White Collar Crime in Grand Cayman.

Transy’s accounting students fare well after graduation. Popular destinations for graduate school include the University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.

Aspiring students of law can major in accounting and continue their studies at law school. This is especially useful for students who wish to focus on corporate or tax law.

The accounting home page lists Fifth Third Bank, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as some of the employers of Transy graduates. Fulks added that companies both locally and nationally often hire them.

Fulks spoke fondly of the relationships that he develops with his students.

“Our graduates are all so wonderful about staying in touch and maintaining the relationship,” Fulks said. “Each summer some of our alums spend a weekend at our house on the lake, with skiing, tubing, boating and just visiting.”

About 20 students graduate each year with a major in accounting.

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