Venturing into the business world

Business journalism was never something that appealed to me, though I knew the job security was better in that field of expertise than say being an expert in education or environmental policy. Statistics, spreadsheets, tax law all seemed so, well, boring. But then I had a conversation with New Hampshire Business Review Editor Jeff Feingold.

“Our stories can be about anything really, as long as it has something to do with business,” he told me. Putting it that way, writing about business, which I know almost nothing about, didn’t seem so scary and not nearly as boring. My first piece for NHBR was published last week. You can read the full piece here.

Shortage of young people entering New Hampshire’s accounting industry is a worrisome trend

A high demand for qualified, entry-level accountants is driving up starting salaries and creating an environment of almost full employment for these young workers

“April is the cruellest month.” The line from T.S. Eliot is especially true for college seniors.

These near-graduates spend the month juggling senior projects and finals with polishing their resumes and visiting job fairs. College seniors not only want to start their careers, but also avoid another summer spent scooping ice cream, bagging groceries and waiting for their independent adult life to begin.

But there is one group of sought-after students that will spend this April worry-free, at least when it comes to finding a job.

According to professionals in New Hampshire’s accounting industry, a high demand for qualified, entry-level accountants is driving up starting salaries and creating an environment of almost full employment for these young workers.

“There are lots of good firms looking for good people,” said Robert Smalley, a CPA at the Manchester accounting firm BerryDunn, which hires between two and four accountants every year, often recruiting from the University of New Hampshire.

UNH offers a “very high-level program,” said Smalley, but it’s simply not producing enough graduates to meet the demand of the state’s accounting firms and corporations.

The demand is so great that Smalley and his colleague Jennifer Sanctuary, also a CPA, recently collaborated with UNH Manchester to create a new accounting “track” – essentially a minor – for business students beginning in the fall of 2014.

The track requires students to take seven accounting-based courses throughout their time at UNH Manchester, including managerial finance and federal taxation and auditing. These courses are designed to give students the skills and expertise needed for certification as a management accountant or as a certified public accountant.

The accounting track is modeled after UNH’s Durham program, but will also include curriculum Smalley and Sanctuary developed to reflect the kind of skills they use in their day-to-day work.

One thought on “Venturing into the business world

  1. Thanks for including Rob Smalley and Jennifer Sanctuary in your piece. At BerryDunn, we’re really proud of what they’re doing to share on-the-job perspectives with accounting students in their community.

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