In this age of rampant digital connections, what better way to account for student development and professors' leadership than examining first-hand testimonies in blogs? While exploring careers and degrees in accounting, blogs can provide personal views on academic life and on the profession. Oftentimes, these accounts breathe life into the daily practices of aspiring accountants where more traditional methods of exploration (glossy brochures, official college websites, etc.) do not.
Professor blogs offer industry insight beyond classroom walls
Accounting blogs let professors demonstrate what they really think in ways that academic papers and lectures often don't. Great professor blogs offer fascinating insights into experienced accountants who have spent time in both the boardroom and the classroom.
- Grumpy Old Accountants: Villanova University accounting professor Anthony Catanach doesn't look grumpy or old in his official headshot. However, the author of this weekly blog has been a practicing CPA and auditor since 1980. Dr. Catanach has been running the site solo since the retirement of his former co-author, Penn State's Edward Ketz. Their archives include over three years of posts about the ethics and practices of large accounting firms, especially ways to bring academic accounting models outside the classroom and into the boardroom.
- The Summa: Professor David Albrecht uses his blog to chart the work of accountants, from the dawn of the profession in Venice during the late 1400s to the late-night work that professors and their students put in during exam periods to enhance their skills. Formerly a member of the faculty at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Professor Albrecht has been blogging the process of taking on a new appointment at California's Zapara School of Business. Frequent topics in the archives include the impact of setting accounting standards and ways accountants can use LinkedIn for career networking.
- Accountinator: Curated by Mark Holtzman, the accounting chair at Seton Hall University, the Accountinator offers a "do-it-yourself" approach to accounting for students, professionals and curious observers. The site's index collects posts by topic, instead of in chronological order. Articles include insight on bookkeeping using free and open source accounting software tools, such as GnuCash and Google Apps. Holtzman's most popular posts explain key accounting principles, including balance sheets, depreciation, owners' equity and step costs.
- Professor Elam: Dennis Elam has chronicled financial markets for over 40 years, as an author, newspaper columnist and commentator for radio and television broadcasts. His blog for his students at Texas A&M University San Antonio continues the tradition with daily commentary on breaking financial news. Professor Elam uses frequent links to The Wall Street Journal as jumping-off points for online conversations about corporate earnings, income taxes and professional certifications. Elam's personality shines through with off-the-cuff posts about education, ethics and the arts.
- 21st Century Taxation: San Jose State University's Annette Nellen uses her website to collect articles and to provoke conversations about tax reform on the local, state and federal levels. With over 20 years of experience as a tax reformer in Silicon Valley, Nellen walks readers through her collection of "tax oddities," along with more serious discussions about operations at the Internal Revenue Service. The site's tax blog tracks news stories about multistate tax reform, virtual currencies and scrutiny of nonprofit organizations seeking tax relief.
- HSBE Faculty Blog: Accounting: Under the leadership of Interim Dean J. Preston Jones, the faculty of Nova Southeastern University's H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship share their positions on business ethics, corporate strategy and quality improvement. The site's archives include corporate environmental responsibility and accounting ethics. Over two dozen active contributors add new posts, papers and discussion topics to the blog.
All of these blogs illustrate the concerns that dedicated professors share about the state of their profession, the future of our economy and the well-being of their communities. If you've ever considered accounting dry or boring, some of these educators' adventures and editorials could convince you of the passion and the vision that CPAs and other accountants bring to the profession.
Student blogs examine life as a prospective accountant
While most professor blogs emphasize the practice of accounting in the business world, student blogs tend to explore the social aspects of pursuing a number crunching career. Many of the country's compelling accounting blogs are written by teams of students, often sponsored by their school or by a professional association.
- Live and Learn: Six Master of Professional Accounting students use this blog to chronicle life at UT Austin. Over the course of a school year, the bloggers have covered some of Austin's most delicious food, along with business-oriented events and competitions. This blog's internship recaps offer insight and guidance for business students eager to gain hands-on work experience with some of the world's most prestigious employers.
- Student Life Blog: A pair of first-year students in the Jenkins Master of Accounting Program at North Carolina State University document how they adjusted to pursuing their niche graduate degrees. The student bloggers share their own experiences of working through the school's admissions process, including some checklists for prospective accounting degree candidates. Other features include job search advice and profiles of unique concentrations.
- TXCPA2B: This blog's rotating group of authors has posted pointers on e-mail etiquette in the office, communicating effectively with clients and picking the right wardrobe for your first professional assignment. Student bloggers also offer firsthand examples of how local networking organizations, such as the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, can help future accountants build relationships with potential employers.
- An Accounting Student's Blog: This accounting tumblog reveals some of the stress and struggle that can accompany a professional degree program. A fear of failure and the delight of success shine through in posts that consider how a student might choose an accounting career. Other posts include how to overcome tough feedback from a professor and how an accounting degree can lead to jobs fighting fraud in the workplace.
The nature of student blogs means that new authors rotate through at the beginning of each school year, adding even more diverse perspectives to each website's archives. The real-time nature of student blogs illustrates how degree candidates evolve and grow with help from their professors and mentors. They can provide a model for your own professional development as you consider an accounting career.