Cal Poly’s accounting alumni and industry partners made a major statement in recent years: they’re behind the area’s efforts to grow.
The area’s Campaign for 200 aims to expand the undergraduate and master’s programs to graduate 200 quality, CPA-eligible students per year — nearly double its current rate. The effort is a response to increased demand from global and regional accounting firms that depend on a steady stream of talent from the Orfalea College of Business.
Alumni, corporate partners and friends of the program have rallied around this effort with record-setting enthusiasm. From 2014 to 2017, donations to the Accounting Area nearly doubled to more than $375,000, the highest one-year fundraising total in the program’s history. In that time, the number of gifts to the area increased by 50 percent. A critical part of the total money raised included gift matches from employers — the most matching funds of any program in the college during the fiscal year.
According to Sheri Boscaro, executive director of Accounting Excellence, the area has made major progress on a smart-growth plan that engages more students without diluting hands-on programs or limiting faculty-student interaction. The funds have been put to use immediately to help attract and retain the best faculty possible to teach in the undergraduate, M.S. Tax and M.S. Accounting programs.
“The program depends upon our faculty,” said Boscaro. “We are lucky to have talented industry professionals as lecturers to inspire students to pursue an accounting career. Then we rely on our esteemed tenured and tenure-track faculty to delve into the technical skills and leadership instincts students need to be career ready.”
Students are already feeling the impact with the new options to double-concentrate in accounting or earn an accounting minor, attracting students from different majors to take upper division accounting courses and possibly attain a CPA license. In addition, signature Learn by Doing programs like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) have resources to include more students.
Outside the classroom, the program has introduced industry-sponsored Excel trainings to ensure students are ready to contribute on the first day of their internships. The Cal Poly Accounting Club (CPAC) has also bolstered career-readiness resources — résumé workshops, recruiter panels and networking sessions — for its member base of nearly 400 students.
To lend your support to the Campaign for 200, visit http://bit.ly/campaignfor200.