A new accounting program, the Berkeley Charter of Professional Accountancy, will offer summer courses at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business that will be open to all members of the community.
The program will take place over the course of two summers and will allow students to earn 30 units in accounting-related coursework, a requirement for taking the Certified Public Accountant exam. Undergraduate students who are unable to meet these requirements often look to graduate school to obtain the units, but the BCPA would offer an alternative option.
“We wanted accounting education to be available Berkeley-wide, so not just to Haas majors,” said Jose Plehn-Dujowich, the program director of the BCPA and an accounting professor at Haas.
Getting into accounting courses offered by Haas often proves difficult for students outside the business school. To ameliorate this problem, BCPA will make its accounting classes available to all campus students regardless of major, according to Plehn-Dujowich. Non-UC Berkeley students will also be able to participate in the program.
The classes will take place during the evenings to accommodate students with internships or other daytime obligations.
The program was developed over the past year by Plehn-Dujowich and other members of the UC Berkeley faculty. The program’s curriculum will consist of courses taught during the school year at Haas and will be taught by regular Haas accounting professors.
In designing the program, faculty worked closely with recruiters at accounting firms. Plehn-Dujowich noted that there is a high demand for accountants in the Bay Area and said he is confident in the program’s ability to prepare students for obtaining a career in the field.
“People who go for the program, I think, are going to be much more attractive for the recruiters,” said Panos Patatoukas, assistant professor of accounting and finance at Haas. “(They) will be more aware of financial accounting and taxes and stuff that recruiters are looking for.”
The cost for each summer session will be $10,995, or $19,995 for both summers. Depending on eligibility, students can have financial aid applied to their course fees, and there are merit-based scholarships available.
Nevertheless, some students expressed that the cost of the program was not feasible. Zhiye Wang, a campus senior and Haas student, said the BCPA program’s price seemed excessive and suggested that the courses might be worth more if they included lectures and training specifically geared toward the CPA exam.
According to Plehn-Dujowich, in the future, the program might be expanded to include more tax-related courses and possibly offer an online program.
Applications for this summer will be reviewed by a committee on a rolling basis until April 1.