How professionals stay up-to-date on current trends in accounting

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Accounting is a field in which practices, rules, laws, and tools change frequently. Accountants need to be able to keep up with this evolving industry to best serve their clients or companies.

Staying current on latest trends is stressed throughout the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Master of Accounting curriculum. No course drives home the importance of staying relevant and in the know more than AC 600: Current Topics in Financial Accounting.

In this course, students will discuss the many authoritative bodies that dictate best practices, including the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission. They will also review the most recent statements and changes made by these groups, as well as dive into case studies and research projects to broaden their understanding of well-established and more recent rules and protocols.

What students may learn in AC 600

Because AC 600: Current Topics in Financial Accounting is focused on the most recent trends and changes issued by authoritative bodies, this course may evolve significantly over the years.

However, each semester the course will have a few key features in common, including the practice of reviewing case studies and engaging in research projects. By building the skills required to develop a research project, students can learn how to conduct their own relevant independent studies in their career.

This course will also discuss recent changes to the accounting field. For example, in the wake of recently adjusted tariff policies, many businesses across the country anticipate challenges ahead, according to the Journal of Accountancy. These changes will have real effects on many industries, though it may impact various businesses in different ways. What’s important for accountants is understanding how these changes may impact their clients or company.

Why professionals should consider pursuing continuing education

Professionals in any industry should work to keep a close eye on trends and advancements that impact their field. This is the best way to stay relevant to your company or clients. A lack of understanding of a new tax law, for example, could impact the way you help your clients file their taxes. Not only could this disadvantage your client, but it could also lead to legal implications as well.

Beyond the importance of knowing the latest trends in the industry, accounts who have a professional license, such as a Certified Public Accountant, are required to pursue their own education, even after they graduate from a bachelor’s or master’s in accounting program.

Each state has its own requirements as to how many continuing professional education hours CPAs need to keep their license up to date, as well as how often they need to take CPE courses, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

For example, in Alabama, CPAs need to complete 40 hours of CPE annually and eight hours of education specifically related to accounting and auditing. Further, they’re limited to eight hours of behavioral courses that will count toward their CPA renewal, and only one-quarter of CPE can come from authorship credits.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, while CPAs also need to complete 40 CPE hours annually, they also must dedicate four of those hours to ethics, professional conduct, and public accountancy law and regulations, and at least one hour of CPE needs to speak specifically to Mississippi public accountancy law and regulations.

How accountants can stay current

Professionals can find CPE courses through the NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors’ course library. But while they may need to enroll in courses to maintain any licensing they have, there are plenty of methods outside of taking classes which professionals can use to stay up to date as well. Industry publications like the Journal of Accountancy and Accounting Today, as well as news sources like the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and the New York Times all offer relevant, useful information for accountants.

University of Alabama at Birmingham teaches accounting best practices

Future accounting professionals can learn certain skills and habits that are necessary for their careers early on when they pursue a Master’s in Accounting online through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. One of the most useful routines they’ll develop is the habit of continually learning about changes in the industry through the course Current Topics in Financial Accounting. To learn more about the valuable knowledge, skills, and methods accounting students can learn through this online degree program, contact an enrollment advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
Which skills do you need to be a not-for-profit accountant?
5 certifications to consider after you finish your Bachelor’s in Accounting

Sources:
Journal of Accountancy
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors’ course library
University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Master’s in Accounting
University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Master’s in Accounting course descriptions