Interview with Somer Anderson

Nearly 7,000 students are enrolled in college or university across the U.S. Maryville University has become a popular education destination, however, many students at Maryville have chosen to utilize one of the 90 programs that the school offers online.

By the end of 2014, it was reported that 5.8 million students across the world had been enrolled in an online class, and that 3 million were enrolled in only online courses.

The interest surrounding online degrees is growing, and with this interest comes questions from prospective online students. To clear up some of the questions about Maryville’s online courses and programs, here is an interview with Somer Anderson, Assistant Professor of Accounting at the university.

 

How long have you been in higher education and what do you teach?

I’ve been in higher education for seven years. Before that, I was an Auditor at a public accounting firm and a finance manager at a healthcare organization. I teach Financial Accounting, Auditing, Accounting Information Systems, and QuickBooks at the university.

 

What led you to switch to teaching full time?

While working as a finance manager, I started to teach in a weekend accounting program. I fell in love with teaching and became a teacher full time as soon as a position was open.

 

What are the core components of the online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program?

The core curriculum is based around career goals. We have pathways that can take you directly to the CPA, forensic accounting, or to an accounting services career.

 

What makes the program special?

We are primarily focused on our students’ career goals, and have specially designed the course curriculum to provide support and guidance.

 

Why is now a good time to earn a BCACC degree?

The industry is rapidly changing. Technology and cloud computing are huge, as are mobile devices, social media that improve our access to financial data. This can mean more clients who are better informed, and professionals who are knowledgeable with the new technology.

 

What courses are popular?

The forensic accounting courses are particularly popular. We see the importance of developing these skills and in turn, require our students to take a forensics accounting class.

 

Are there any other certifications or exams that are required in addition to the BSACC for a typical career?

Students are encouraged to continue on to the Master of Science in Accounting degree so they get adequate credit hours to take the CPA exam. They are also encouraged to become QuickBooks certified.

 

What is teacher-student interaction like?

The accounting teachers are interested in individual success. We interact with online students weekly through discussions and videos. We’re well connected and active within the accounting community, enabling us to connect students with internships.

 

Can you describe the educational backgrounds of BSCAA students? Are they already interested in accounting?

It depends on each student’s position upon entry. Freshmen students should not have had an accounting course and don’t realize their talent for it until they take ACCT 210. Students who are further along have often taken ACCT 210 and 211, and have already realized that they enjoy this type of work.

 

Do you have any advice for new students?

Don’t just go through the motions. Take your time and engage, ask questions, and video chat with your professors when prompted to do so. You get what you put into your education, and when your teacher knows that you are interested and understands your goals, they will help you meet these goals.

 

Do graduates usually pursue a master’s degree? If so, why?

Yes. The CPA exam requires 150 credit hours. Students typically have 128 credit hours and get the rest through the Master of Science in Accounting. The program helps you obtain the hours, and sharpens your analytical skills.

 

What are the most desirable career outcomes for BSACC students?

To become employed in the chosen field, be it CPA at a firm, or as a forensic accountant for the FBI.

 

Which employers are popular for students?

Accounting firms, corporations, banks, insurance firms and the government, in many cases.

 

Does Maryville offer career assistance?

Yes, through the Maryville career services page. I post jobs, events, etc onto the Accounting Program Canvas page.

What feedback do you get from students?

Students are thankful for their experience because they are employed at the end and prepared for the CPA exam.