Accounting is the analysis, interpretation and communication of financial information about the resources of an organization and the use of those resources. Accountants help others make business decisions and provide auditing and tax services, as well as fraud examination (forensic accounting services).
The accounting major offered by the College of Business prepares students for entry-level positions in public accounting, corporate accounting, government accounting and forensic (fraud) accounting. The accounting curriculum includes accounting and business courses with a wide range of other courses selected to help develop well-rounded, well-educated graduates. Computer and information systems courses give students the ability to apply accounting knowledge using computers—a very important skill in today’s business environment. Courses in other areas of business help students understand how their work relates to marketing, management and finance.
North Dakota law requires that persons who sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) professional examination must have completed 150 semester hours of college education. Students are expected to meet this requirement through a combination of the undergraduate accounting major and the Master of Accountancy (MAcc.) degree offered at North Dakota State University.
To succeed in the accounting profession, an individual should have a solid mathematical background and be able to interpret information. Good communication skills are essential to be able to present information to others. Interpersonal skills and the ability to work with others are also important.
An accountant could find a position in public accounting, management, private industry, governmental or other not-for-profit accounting, academia or forensic accounting. Therefore, the employment opportunities for an accountant are many and varied. In addition, some students use accounting as a pre-law program.
The most familiar professional designation in accounting is the CPA. Achieving this certification involves passing a comprehensive examination and meeting other requirements set by each state. CPAs provide auditing, tax and advisory services to businesses, other organizations and the general public.
Management accountants are employed by a single enterprise to perform services such as measuring and controlling costs or budgeting. These specialists may earn the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certificate.
Internal auditors are concerned with determining whether the auditee is following prescribed organizational policies and procedures along with safeguarding organizational assets. The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is the professional designation of these accountants.
An accountant may also work in the area of governmental or not‑for‑profit accounting. Governmental accountants work for federal, state or local government agencies. The duties of governmental accountants include the control of tax revenues and expenditures. Not-for‑profit organizations, such as charities and universities, also need the services of an accountant.
Forensic accounting is a rapidly growing area of accounting concerned with the detection, investigation and prevention of fraud and white-collar crimes. A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a specialist in the detection and/or deterrence of a wide variety of fraudulent conduct—from discovering employees or executives who misappropriate company assets to assisting investors who are defrauded in the course of commercial transactions.
Accountants also are employed in the academic sector to teach accounting courses, conduct research and write educational materials such as textbooks.
Cooperative Education Program
Accounting majors are able to gain experience at professional level jobs through the Cooperative Education Program. Co-op experiences are most commonly taken during the final two years of the program. The experience can include employment during the summer, during the school year or both. Students’ salaries vary with the career field and job complexity.
Three credits of cooperative education can be used to fulfill the practicum requirement. Three credits are typical for a semester-long, full-time work placement. Students make these credit arrangements with NDSU’s Career Center.
Students who wish to study accounting at NDSU enroll as pre-accounting majors in the College of Business for the first semester of their freshman year. Pre-accounting majors then apply for admission to the professional program after completing the pre-professional courses required for professional program admission, including ENGL 120, COMM 110, MATH 144, ECON 201 or 202, and PSYC 111 or SOC 110. Transfer students with appropriate course work also may apply.
Admission to the professional program is based on the successful completion of the pre-professional course requirements and a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5.
Plan of Study
Please note this is a sample plan of study and not an official curriculum. Actual student schedules for each semester will vary depending on start year, education goals, applicable transfer credit, and course availability. Students are encouraged to work with their academic advisor on a regular basis to review degree progress and customize an individual plan of study.
|ENGL 110||4||COMM 110||3|
|PSYC 111 or SOC 110||3||ENGL 120||3|
|Gen Ed Humanities/Fine Arts & Cultural Diversity||3||MATH 144||4|
|Gen Ed Wellness||2||Gen Ed Sci & Tech (w/lab)||4|
|Non-Major Elective||3||Non-Major Elective||3|
|ACCT 200||3||ACCT 201||3|
|ECON 201||3||ECON 202||3|
|MIS 116||3||PHIL 216||3|
|STAT 330||3||STAT 331||2|
|Non-Major Elective||4||Gen Ed Science & Tech||3|
|ACCT 311||4||ACCT 312||4||ACCT 3971||3|
|ACCT 320||3||ACCT 420||3|
|ENGL 320||3||BUSN 430||3|
|MRKT 320||3||MGMT 320||3|
|ACCT 318 or 418||3||BUSN 489||3|
|ACCT 421||3||300-400 Level Business Electives (2)||6|
|FIN 320||3||300-400 Level Accounting Elective||3|
|300-400 Level Business Elective||3|
|Total Credits: 122|
Complete one of the following options: ACCT 413 Internship, ACCT 397 Cooperative Education Program, UNIV 492 Study Abroad Program, or AGEC 371 Export Management. Requires successful completion of ACCT 311 and faculty advisor's prior approval.