New online governmental accounting certificate program addresses demand for financial workers

A new online governmental accounting certificate program was developed collaboratively by the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The program was created to address the growing demand and shortage of financial workers.

The "demand for accountants has exploded," according to Charles Ingersoll, principal at Korn/Ferry International, a recruiting and staffing firm, in a recent Washington Post article. State and local governments as well as private businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit enough qualified auditors, bookkeepers and tax experts, according to the Post article. The Big Four have "nearly tripled the size of their recruiting teams and budgets of the last three years." Many accounting standards from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) have changed in the recent past. Local and state governments need to provide greater accounting of state pension funds - states will have to provide more realistic estimates of amounts owed retirees, and greater accounting of the values of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in their financial statements, as well as the preparation of government-wide financial statements, according to an article that appeared last year in The New York Times.

Colleges and universities are addressing this increasing demand as well. For example, the Online Governmental Accounting Certificate Program is designed to help employees and prospective employees working in state and local-level governmental accounting better understand how to apply Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to the transactions and events that occur in a government environment.

The three sequenced modules that comprise this program cover the basics of accounting, elements of financial reports and the GAAP, fund financial statements, calculating revenues and expenditures, and how transactions are reported in external financial statements required for state and local governments.

For more information or to register, please contact Bob Wells at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education at (706) 542-6692, (800) 325-2090 or e-mail You can also find more information at the Online Financial Management Governmental Accounting Program Website.

The Georgia Center, celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2007, is a unit of the University of Georgia's Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. The Center provides innovative lifelong learning opportunities through its continuing education programs.

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