Management Accountants Get an Edge at Penn State

The Penn State Smeal College of Business is offering a new concentration of courses for accounting majors interested in entering careers in corporate accounting and financial management immediately upon earning their bachelor's degrees. Graduates with the concentration in Corporate Control and Financial Management (CCFM) will be prepared for careers in industry, government, consulting, and advisory service firms that can lead to executive positions as treasurer, comptroller, budget director, and CFO.

The CCFM concentration, a unique offering in a bachelor's degree accounting program according to Steven Huddart, chair of the Department of Accounting at Smeal, is designed for accounting majors interested in accounting careers outside of the audit and tax functions performed by public accountants.

"We created this course sequence in response to recruiter demand for accounting majors who have an interest in corporate accounting and are prepared for entry-level positions in financial management immediately upon graduation," Huddart said. "Sometimes it's hard for corporate recruiters, even recruiters from huge corporations, to be heard above the voice of the CPA firms."

The CCFM concentration, Huddart said, gives recruiters a louder voice to let students know what type of jobs are available to them after graduation, and allows students who are poised and prepared to enter the ranks of private companies to signal their intention to recruiters.

"The CCFM concentration aids the matching process between accounting majors who want to work in financial management within an organization, and the companies that want to hire them. It's a way for students to select a career path in the accounting profession that matches their goals, and for corporations to build their pipeline," Huddart said.

Huddart said the Smeal College of Business is also currently considering whether to adopt the CCFM concentration as a formal certificate program.

Huddart said the CCFM concentration provides accounting students with the additional skills they need to secure entry-level jobs in financial management jobs upon graduation—skills that surpass the general requirements for a bachelor's degree in accounting.

"The CCFM curriculum should appeal to students with superior analytical skills. It specifies coursework in advanced managerial accounting, financial statement analysis, and communications," Huddart said. "It's a nice way to stand out."

Candidates in this concentration are also encouraged and prepared to seek a professional credential in management accounting, specifically the Certified Management Accountant designation, or CMA.  

Huddart said graduates would be positioned to enter the financial management training programs of the leading corporations that recruit at Smeal.

"There are many students who still like the idea of working for a company that makes things, who are very attracted to particular products or industries, and the CCFM curriculum appeals to those students," Huddart said. "This concentration can offer an expedient route through the curriculum that can lead to good corporate jobs for the benefit the student and the employer."

The course sequence, Huddart emphasizes, also leaves the door open for students to earn their CPA.

That balance definitely appealed to Penn State accounting student Sean Katyal, president of the CCFM Student Organization and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) student chapter. Katyal, who plans to pursue both his CPA and CMA designations, said he believes pursuing both credentials will broaden his horizons make him twice as valuable to all potential recruiters.

"Completing the CCFM program will help in my future career because now, not only do I have the skills to succeed in public accounting, but I also have the skills and advanced knowledge of managerial/cost accounting to help me succeed in the world of corporate accounting," Katyal said.

For more information on the accounting program at the Smeal School of Business visit

Related article:

Two More University Accounting Programs Endorsed by IMA



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