by Cedarville Accounting Faculty
A 100% job and grad school placement rate. A CPA pass rate that is well above the national average. Graduates working in top firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies.
A growing program ready to meet market demands. All can be said of Cedarville’s highly rated Bachelor of Science in accounting program. But what really sets the program apart is its biblical, Christ-honoring focus. Cedarville accounting graduates are not only equipped with the technical skills they need to succeed, but also with the Christian worldview to be ethical accountants, prepared to use their vocation to impact the world for the Gospel.
Cedarville Magazine asked accounting professors Anne Rich, Professor of Accounting; Chuck Hartman, Associate Professor of Business Law and Accounting; and Paul Schloemer, Professor of Accounting, to share what makes Cedarville’s accounting program so unique.
Q What sets Cedarville’s accounting degree program apart from other universities?
It is our desire in the accounting department to challenge our students to consider how to bring their faith to work, to bring glory to God as accounting professionals. The Bible minor and biblical integration give our students knowledge in Bible study methods and help them to evaluate business knowledge from a biblical perspective.
We have a solid general business foundation, as evidenced by our students’ strong scores on the Business Environment and Concepts portion of the CPA exam. We are always looking for ways to improve the accounting program and respond to emerging business practices.
In accounting classes, our students are using Tableau data visualization software, Sage 50 accounting system software, and other computerized applications that merge their academic knowledge with real-world practices of accounting.
Q What are some of the program’s biggest successes over the past several years?
Our graduates who are serving the Lord in businesses and accounting firms are our greatest measure of success.
Our graduates also have an excellent pass rate on the CPA exam and have a solid record of both placement and advancement in the accounting profession. In six of the past eight years, our first-time pass rate was the first- or second-highest among Ohio universities and received national ranking as well. In each of those years, the overall first-time pass rate was greater than 70%, compared to a national pass rate averaging about 55%.
Q To what do you attribute this remarkable record of success?
Our graduates would probably say that they prayed a lot! As faculty, we have the opportunity to work with a high-quality group of students, who arrive on campus with a diligent work ethic. We provide a solid slate of courses within an innovative School of Business Administration. Our faculty members have years of experience to enhance their teaching and they truly care about student success.
Q Where are some of our accounting graduates working?
Our accounting graduates are employed at national, regional, and local CPA firms including Ernst &Young, Grant Thornton, and Plante Moran. Those who are interested in corporate accounting are employed at companies including Marathon, Allegion, Nationwide, and JPMorgan Chase. Our graduates also find challenging work in various government positions at the Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Financial Accounting Services, the FBI, the FDIC, and the Ohio Auditor of State. These employers provide excellent internships to guide students in making informed career choices.
Q How do our accounting alumni give back to today's students?
There are many ways that our accounting alumni contribute to the accounting program and to the business school. Our accounting alumni give back by contributing to student scholarships and to student business organizations. They represent their firms at our accounting “Meet the Firms” career fair during the fall semester and network with our current students, guiding them through the employment process. We especially appreciate our alumni who let us know when they will be on campus and offer to speak in accounting classes. Their experience is a challenge and encouragement to our current students.
Q What do you anticipate for the future of the program?
The market for accountants and auditors has been very strong and is expected to grow in response to increasing tax and regulatory demands, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the auditing functions of accounting have changed to keep pace with developing information technology, growth areas such as business analytics and forensic accounting, have added to the constant demand for accountants.
Beloved accounting professor Sarah (Harriman) Smith ’75 went home to be with the Lord on November 12, 2018. She faithfully served Cedarville University and the School of Business Administration (SBA) for 37 years, retiring in 2018. Dr. Smith was an instrumental part of the SBA and its widely acclaimed accounting program. She helped establish the accounting major, pioneered online classes within the business school, and successfully led the effort at both the initial school accreditation in 2005 and the reaffirmation in 2015. Gifts may be made to the Dr. Sarah H. Smith Memorial Award at cedarville.edu/smithscholarship to provide scholarships for accounting students.
Accounting Degree Takes Grad to NYC
It’s a long way from Cedarville, Ohio, to the Big Apple, but that’s how far an accounting degree from Cedarville has taken Corbin Edmonds ’14.
Edmonds began his career with Ernst and Young — one of the largest professional services firms in the world — right out of college, originally as a Staff Assurance Associate, and then a Senior Assurance Associate, in the company’s Denver office.
He joined the company’s Financial Services Office in 2017, a move that took him to New York City. He was promoted to Manager in October 2019.
Today, Edmonds works within the banking capital markets practice and is responsible for managing diverse projects from start to finish, serving clients within the banking and private equity space. He is also responsible for facilitating training for new hires at Ernst and Young and serves as counselor/career coach for staff and senior associates within the firm.
Edmonds credits his time in Cedarville’s accounting program with preparing him well for his current role. “Cedarville has a challenging accounting and finance program,” he explained. “I took some very rigorous classes, especially in my junior and senior year. These prepared me to get my CPA license right after graduation and gave me the foundation I needed to succeed at Ernst and Young.”
Beyond just his coursework, Edmonds cites how his cocurricular experiences at Cedarville, including leadership roles in the CEO student organization, Integrated Business Core, and Discipleship Ministries, gave him a well-rounded résumé that afforded him an advantage when interviewing for a postgraduation position. “Not only did I receive the core classes and training that I needed to succeed technically, but I was also getting leadership opportunities outside the classroom that were instrumental in helping my résumé stand out,” he said.
More than his professional success, Edmonds appreciates how Cedarville instilled in him a desire to make a Gospel difference wherever God led him. “The Lord used my professors and campus pastors to teach me that we go where the Lord can use us most,” he explained. “My wife and I felt a unique calling to New York, a global city filled with diverse people. There are a lot of opportunities to touch lives.”