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Department of Accounting and Finance

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Department of Accounting and Finance

    Department of Accounting and Finance

    Assessment Report

    As of February 15, 2006 (Updated as of April 25, 2007)

In 2007, the Department of Accounting & Finance launched a comprehensive review

    of our mission, learning goals, and assessment activities. The chair attended

    conferences sponsored by the AACSB our accrediting body to more fully

    understand the accreditation requirements of assessment. Because the accounting

    programs hold an additional AACSB accreditation, we must have formal assessment

    plans for those programs (over and above what the SoBA has for their assessment).

Because we are in the midst of formulating the departmental plan, the previous report

    has been amended with updates below.

The SoBA Undergraduate Assessment Committee gathers assessment data relevant to

    all undergraduate business disciplines. For example, this year, they will be

    administering the Defining Issues Test (ethics) and the ETS Major Test (business), as

    well as evaluating writing samples of business students.

A. MISSION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE

    The Department of Accounting and Finance prepares ethical and informed

    decision makers with effective analytical and decision making skills to become

    leaders in their respective professions. In pursuit of this mission, the Department

    of Accounting and Finance is committed to

    ? fostering excellence in teaching while maintaining high academic standards;

    ? promoting integrity and ethical behavior in the classroom and in the

    profession;

    ? participating in service to the university, to the community, to professional

    organizations, and to academic societies;

    ? emphasizing analytical and decision making skills in a broad range of courses;

    ? supporting both theoretic and applied research;

    ? actively contributing to the published literature in accounting and finance;

    ? encouraging the integration of research into the curriculum;

    ? responding to changes in the profession.

    2007 Update The department is evaluating its mission by looking at the mission from the perspectives of all three programs (undergrad accounting, undergraduate finance,

    and Masters of Accountancy). We are holding a department mini-retreat to revisit the

    mission and discuss whether each program needs a separate mission. The SoBA is

    also revising its mission, and we will be participating in that process to be sure our

    mission is consistent with the SoBA mission.

B. STEPS IN THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS

2007 Update The department is formalizing its assessment plan for each program,

    using the revised learning goals. The undergraduate programs benefit from a

    thorough organized assessment effort of the SoBA core, which all of our students must

    take. In the graduate program, we revised the exit exam to allow for assessment of

    both the student and the program at the same time.

    1. Student Learning Goals:

    i) Acquire technical skills to qualify for employment and/or to

    further their education.

    ii) Demonstrate the ability to compete regionally and nationally with

    other students in their option area.

    iii) Achieve competence using skills obtained in the classroom through

    experiential learning.

    iv) Show an understanding of current issues, standards, and

    developments in their respective areas of competence.

    v) Be ethical students and ethical members of their respective

    professions.

2007 Update The department formed three sub-committees to address assessment in

    each of the three programs. The sub-committees revised the learning goals for their

    respective programs. The department will hear reports from each subcommittee on the

    new learning goals at the department mini-retreat in late April and will approve/modify

    the learning goals as they see fit.

    2. Measurement of Goals

    i) Acquire technical skills to qualify for employment and/or to

    further their education. This goal is measured in the following

    ways:

    a) Pass rates on the Uniform CPA Examinations are tracked

    for our Masters of Accountancy students and compared

    against all universities nationally. Our students consistently

    have scored among the top universities in the country and

    they achieved the highest first-time pass rate in the nation

    on the May 2000 examinations. Table 1 summarizes the

    Uniform CPA Examination results for the most recent three

    years for which data is available (2000, 2001, and 2002).

    b) Placement statistics are tracked to show numbers of

    students accepting jobs in their major and numbers of

    students continuing their education. Data are shown in

    tables 2A, 2B, and 2C for the three most recent years

    available (2000, 2001, and 2002). With virtually all of the

    graduates responding, the statistics show that nearly all of

    the graduates of the Master of Accountancy program obtain

    employment in their major area. Response rates for the

    undergraduate accounting option range from 53% to 66%

    and show the majority of students continuing their

    education. The next largest group of respondents report

    obtaining employment in their major area. Response rates

    for the undergraduate finance option vary from 35% to

    46%. The largest group of respondents report obtaining

    employment in their major area.

    c) The Department of Accounting and Finance Advisory

    Council, composed of alumni and leaders in accounting and

    finance, advises the department on the ability of our

    students to compete for employment opportunities locally,

    regionally, and nationally. They also are helping us to

    identify successful alums. The department has identified

    alums with significant national standing in their respective

    professions (e.g. John Connors (Microsoft CFO), William

    Felix (American Accounting Association President), and

    Craig Crawford (KPMG partner and member of the

    Auditing Standards Board). Their success attests to the

    quality of training they received from our department.

2007 Update Masters of Accountancy students continue to perform above the

    national average on the CPA exam. Pass rate statistics have been slow to be released

    since the exam became computerized in 2005. We have been using self-reported data

    and comparing this to published national averages.

Accounting students are in extremely high demand. We are participating in the second

    annual Accounting & Health Professions career fair in the fall, and 15 firms recruited

    on-campus in the fall of 2007 alone. Finance students are also in high demand, and

    we are working to link our finance students with potential employers.

Our A&F Advisory board remains active. They have taken an interest in enhancing

    writing skills, and discussions are underway regarding methods to do so.

    ii) Demonstrate the ability to compete regionally and nationally with

    other students in their option area. This goal is measured as

    explained below:

    a) As noted in i) a) above, most of the graduates of the Master

    of Accountancy program complete the Uniform CPA

    Examinations and national results are reported. Our

    students consistently perform at about twice the national

    averages and have ranked first in the nation on the May

    2000 exam and have achieved national rankings in specific

    exam categories on both the May 2000 and May 2001

    exams. See table 1 below for a summary of the statistics.

    b) The Department of Accounting and Finance supports the

    Delta Kappa Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, a national

    honorary fraternity for accounting, finance, and information

    systems students. This chapter has earned superior status

    nationally for their overall program in the 2002-2003

    academic year. Students have made presentations at

    regional and national meetings and have demonstrated their

    ability to compete in both arenas.

    c) Each year DA Davidson & Co. sponsors a course primarily

    for finance students at eighteen colleges and universities in

    the region. Our course is FIN 410 - $50,000 Portfolio. In

    that course our finance students learn about investing in the

    stock market and actually invest $50,000. In reports from

    DA Davidson & Co. our student portfolio results have

    compared with those of other schools but have been below

    the average. This is mixed news. Our students appear to be

    learning investment principles well enough to make a

    reasonable showing among other institutions in the region

    but they have not excelled in their performance. It should

    be noted that the success of the portfolio is heavily

    influenced by economic factors beyond the control of the

    students.

2007 Update BAP earned “superior” status from the national organization, a feat

    that requires much student participation. BAP also co-sponsored a number of events

    with firms and other organizations that aim to prepare students for obtaining a job.

    There has been one joint meeting of the BAP and Finance Clubs.

The DA Davidson program continues, and most recently our program rated in the top

    ten for portfolio performance. Tim Kato, VP-Investment Advisors at DA Davidson, will

    be presenting a summary of this rich and unique course to all SoBA advisory councils

    in May.

    iii) Achieve competence using skills obtained in the classroom through

    experiential learning. In support of the School of Business

    Administration’s mission embracing experiential learning, the

    department has done the following:

    a) We have ensured that all students complete a minimum of

    three experiential courses. This is a graduation requirement

    monitored by our advising office and we are assured that all

    students meet this requirement. Experiential courses are

    designated by the School of Business Administration

    Undergraduate Curriculum and Assessment Committee

    after a review of the course content. Experiential courses

    must require actual work experience or simulations of work

    experience as a substantial part of the course.

    b) In addition to the minimum required experiential courses,

    the department has elective experiential courses offered to

    students including internships in accounting and finance

    and an accounting leadership course. Due to the nature of

    the accounting and finance professions, substantial portions

    of each course contribute to preparation for future work

    experience.

2007 Update We maintain the experiential learning requirement. In addition, our

    Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program remains very popular. This year,

    Dr. Barbara Reider also took five students to Alaska over spring break to participate in

    the Alaska VITA program that targets remote fishing villages.

Recruiters continue to seek our students for internships in accounting and finance.

    We have begun posting these internships in a Blackboard area that is available to

    students in all upper division accounting and finance courses. An advisory board

    member has also initiated new internships at his organization after hearing of their

    importance to our students.

    iv) Show an understanding of current issues, standards, and

    developments in their respective areas of competence. This is

    demonstrated in the following ways:

    a) Outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA

    Examinations, as explained above and in table 1. These

    examinations are consistently updated to reflect current

    issues in the accounting profession.

    b) Distinguished visitors to campus have made presentations

    to classes. The administrators of the School of Business

    Administration, Faculty, and Delta Kappa Chapter of Beta

    Alpha Psi have all hosted nationally known individuals to

    make presentations on current issues and events in

    accounting and finance. In 2002-2003 the Byrnes Seminar

    Series was instituted and some of the presenters spoke in

    classes or to student groups. Select students were also

    invited to attend research presentations.

    c) Course content is consistently reviewed and revised to

    reflect updated standards and regulations in accounting and

    finance. The typical life of a text is two years, reflecting the

    constant need to update materials.

2007 Update The Byrnes Seminar Series continues and has built a reputation of

    attracting prominently national speakers. In addition, the first Byrnes Distinguished

    Speaker was brought to campus. Mr. Jim Leisenring, currently sitting on the

    International Accounting Standards Board and formerly a member of the Financial

    Accounting Standards Board and the Auditing Standards Board, spoke to

    approximately 60 students during the day and spoke at a public forum in the evening.

Also, Mr. Lyle Knight, a sitting member of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Advisory

    Council, addressed students in a senior level finance class and faculty in a brown bag

    lunch. Finally, the SoBA brought in Mr. Raymon Thompson, founder and CEO of

    Semitool, Inc. His presentations were very well attended.

    v) Be ethical students and ethical members of their respective

    professions. This goal is the most difficult to find output measures

    to support. Consequently, efforts have concentrated on reviewing

    inputs and making revisions to courses and other programs.

    a) With the publicity of major business failures and

    allegations of fraud and corruption, course content in many

    courses was modified to address ethics and integrity in

    business. Discussion of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

    was integrated into appropriate courses.

    b) A review of the Financial Accounting Course, BADM 201,

    was performed and ethics was added as specific objective

    in a common course syllabus.

    c) Several of our distinguished visitors to campus have

    included ethics in their presentations. Most notably, Mary

    Beth Armstrong one of the Byrnes Seminar presenters, who

    is nationally recognized for her work in this area.

2007 Update The SoBA Undergraduate Assessment Committee is measuring ethical

    development of all business students, and we intend to leverage this assessment for our

    two undergraduate programs. For the Masters of Accountancy program, we have

    modified the exit exam and included questions on ethics and professionalism.

    3. Modifications Based on Assessment

    i) Acquire technical skills to qualify for employment and/or to

    further their education. In this area the primary weakness noted is

    lack of data. The Department of Accounting and Finance voted to

    offer majors in accounting and finance at the undergraduate level

    to allow tracking of our majors and graduates in the Banner system.

    The university was unable to give us statistics or contact

    information for students in our previous options.

    ii) Demonstrate the ability to compete regionally and nationally with

    other students in their option area. We are continuing obtain date

    on CPA examination success. Note that we have no new date to

    report due to changes in the examinations and delays nationally in

    compiling the results. We also continue to send students to Beta

    Alpha Psi meetings where they compete in presenting to peers.

    iii) Achieve competence using skills obtained in the classroom through

    experiential learning. The Department voted to add two new

    experiential courses related to taxpayer assistance. These

    curriculum proposals are being developed.

    iv) Show an understanding of current issues, standards, and

    developments in their respective areas of competence. In this area

    have accomplished the following:

    a) Involved more students in the Byrnes Seminar Series

    presentations and other presentations of significant visitors

    on the cutting edge of research and/or professional practice.

    Students participated in discussions with two national

    accounting leaders, William Felix and W. Steven Albrecht.

    In addition, several notable visitors attended classes and

    made presentatons. These visitors included John Connors,

    past VP of Finance at Microsoft and Craig Crawford,

    national partner in KPMG.

    b) Continue to revise courses as appropriate to assure

    coverage of current issues. Common final examinations

    were agreed to for all sections of ACCT 201, Financial

    Accounting, beginning fall semester 2006.

    v) Be ethical students and ethical members of their respective

    professions. We have identified two courses which include a

    module on ethics, ACCT 441 and ACCT 641. In addition, Jim

    Alderson who was involved in breaking up a national accounting

    fraud scandle in the health care industry was invited to speak to

    students.

2007 Update We have made no significant curriculum modifications due to

    assessment, because we are in the midst of revamping our assessment plan. This is the

    first year of all business majors being held to a higher grade standard for prerequisite

    courses. We have anecdotal evidence of increased quality in our junior and senior

    level courses. The SoBA Undergraduate Curriculum Committee is addressing issues

    that surface in the SoBA assessment process.

    Table 1

    Pass Rates for CPA Exam Candidates

    Expressed as a Percentage

    Exam Overall Overall Nation UM Nation UM Nation UM Nation UM Date National UM AUD AUD LPR LPR FARE FARE ARE ARE

    Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

    Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate* Rate*

    stststndndMay 1 1 1 2 2 2000 18.3 82.4 30.9 94.1 33.4 94.1 30.4 88.2 31.4 88.2

    thththMay 4 5 5

    2001 17.2 52.2 29.9 60.9 34.9 91.3 30.4 86.4 28.8 81.8

    May

    2002 18.8 56.3 30.9 62.5 34.9 68.8 32.0 62.5 31.4 68.8

    * Pass rate for first-time candidates successfully completing all portions of the Uniform

    CPA Examination (overall) or completing specified subject examinations in the following

    areas:

    AUD = Auditing

    LPR = Business Law & Professional Responsibilities

    FARE = Financial Accounting & Reporting Business Enterprise

    ARE = Accounting & Reporting Other Areas

    National rankings are designated as 1stnd, 2, etc. above the pass rates

Source of data:

    Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, 2001, 2002, and 2003 editions

    published by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy

    Table 2A

    Placement Statistics

    Master of Professional Accountancy Degree Program

     Full-time Average

     Number of Number of Continuing Employment Annual

    Year Graduates Responses Education in Major Salary 2002 24 24 0 22 $ 32,564 2001 22 22 0 20 $ 32,200 2000 19 17 0 17 $ 33,708

    Table 2B

    Placement Statistics

    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

    Accounting Degree Option

     Full-time Average

     Number of Number of Continuing Employment Annual

    Year Graduates Responses Education in Major Salary 2002 38 20 14 5 $ 29,300 2001 58 32 15 9 $ 26,724 2000 61 40 22 17 $ 29,493

    Table 2C

    Placement Statistics

    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

    Financial Management Degree Option

     Full-time Average

     Number of Number of Continuing Employment Annual

    Year Graduates Responses Education in Major Salary 2002 50 23 3 11 $ 31,564 2001 55 25 4 8 $ 27,372 2000 40 14 2 12 $ 30,545

Data provided by The University of Montana Office of Career Services Graduate Surveys

    for 2000, 2001, and 2002.

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