While core courses introduce you to accounting fundamentals, choosing a concentration in Financial Analysis & Reporting, Tax or Audit will allow you to specialize. After making that selection, you’ll take some courses specific to that concentration. If you choose not to concentrate, you can develop a customized curriculum, using a combination of concentration courses and electives.
Many graduates initially pursue careers as tax accountants or auditors, so for those planning to follow the structured recruiting process, the selection of a specific concentration is recommended. Students who plan to pursue careers in corporate accounting or finance, or advance the careers they’ve already started, design a customized curriculum tailored to their specific needs, using a broader set of business and finance courses.
The courses offered to students focusing on tax as a career path are designed to provide a solid foundation in all aspects of tax for individuals and businesses. While every accountant needs to have a firm grasp of basic tax principles, tax accountants spend much of their time focused on tax issues. While preparing tax returns is one part of tax accounting, there is much more to the field.
Tax accountants must also be able to help individuals and businesses plan for and manage their tax liabilities. While tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is the common practice of considering the tax implications of various decisions. For a business, for example, whether to lease office space or buy an office building has tax implications. Most businesses, when making that decision, will consult with their tax advisors to help them understand the overall financial impact of their choice.
MAC students who select the tax concentration will take courses that cover individual income tax, corporate tax, tax research, international tax and flow-through entities. These courses are designed to give future tax accountants a strong foundation in all aspects of U.S. taxes. They learn how various business entities are taxed, how U.S. tax laws affect people and companies outside the country, and more.
Because tax law changes each year, and because it’s not always immediately clear how a particular tax provision should be applied, students also learn how to research tax law and then apply their findings to a particular situation.
Tax accountants aren’t hired simply for their ability to prepare tax returns. Businesses and individuals rely on them as experts in a complex, high-stakes subject. The tax concentration prepares you for this role.
Tax-specific courses include:
– International Tax
– Corporate Tax Strategy
– Taxation of Flow-Through Entities
– Tax Research
The other major specialty that MAC students often choose is Audit. Auditing is a routine activity that accountants engage in to ensure that business information, which many decision-makers rely on, has been collected and reported accurately. Public companies are audited annually to ensure their financial reports are reliable. Those audit results are publicly released as part of the company’s annual report.
Private companies, as well as many nonprofit organizations and government agencies, may also be audited periodically. Donors, legislative committees, lenders and others want to be sure they can rely on the information these organizations are providing. Most often, these audits concern how financial information is collected and presented.