Ben Affleck’s action thriller “The Accountant” challenged preconceived notions about the lowly green-visor wearing number cruncher. Out with the abacus, in with the AK 47.
While University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee officials may not go that far, they are hoping to recreate interest in accounting, a career path that has seen dwindling interest in recent years, being overtaken by tech-focused majors.
Officials at USFSM announced a new scholarship this week, aimed at breathing new life into the accounting program at the school.
The university is allocating funds from existing but unused scholarships in the college of business to fund the new scholarship, which will cover unmet needs for qualifying students, said USFSM spokesman Charlie Terenzio.
University officials hope the initiative halts a decline in the program at USFSM — a decrease even a non-accountant could notice — as the program went from 135 students in the fall of 2014 to 95 in the fall of 2016.
And that decline has consequences, as accounting is a program of strategic emphasis for the state and linked to the performance-based funding the state allocates.
Hopefully this will help counter what has become a trend in accounting student undergraduate enrollments at public universities across the country.
Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor.
“Hopefully this will help counter what has become a trend in accounting student undergraduate enrollments at public universities across the country,” said Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor.
Sarasota-based accounting firm Kerkering, Barberio & Co. and the Florida Institute for Certified Public Accountants in Tallahassee are both backers of some of the funds being used toward the new scholarship.
In addition to offering scholarships to entice students into the career, college officials can point to the one thing all future accountants must love — the numbers: 87 percent of accounting majors find jobs in their field of choice after graduation, and the major remains the second-highest paying for all USFSM graduates.
“Our accounting students are prepared to jump right into the workforce and many of them land careers right here in our community after graduation,” said James Curran, dean of the College of Business. “We are committed to continuing that partnership between our campus and the local industry.”