AAA President-Elect: Accounting is Sexy Again

Jane Mutchler is bullish on accounting, and sees a bright silver lining on the corporate scandals of the last couple of years. She is the Director of the School of Accountancy at Georgia State University, and the president-elect of the American Accounting Association.

In a recent interview, Jane Mutchler expressed enthusiasm for the state of enrollment in accounting programs across the country, and says the corporate scandals have been good for attracting students into accounting.

Undergraduate enrollment in accounting at Georgia State, for instance, is up 10% over last year, and the graduate program is experiencing a 15% increase.

How have accounting programs been affected by the recent scandals? Jane Mutchler sat down with the Atlanta-Constitution to offer her perspective:

"Picture five years ago, when the markets were going crazy and everybody was excited [about] the dot-commers. We couldn't get people into accounting. That was boring stuff.

"The numbers of students went down. That was a phenomenon across the country.

"And then, as things started happening, and the dot-commers fell apart, and the Enron scandal, we saw a total change. Students became more interested in accounting.

"First of all, that was because there are no jobs in technology. And so they have to find something else.

"But secondly, you're attracting the kind of student who thinks, 'Oh boy, I would really like to fight white-collar crime. And so I'm going to get into accounting and see what I can do. It means I can work for the FBI.'

"The other thing that is happening is we're seeing an increase in the number of MBA students who are concentrating in accounting. Some of them are saying: 'I'm already working for the FBI, and they want me to get my master's and they want me to concentrate on accounting.'"

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