alumni header 2022

Campus Blog

November

There is more than one way to earn a CPA!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 08:00 AM

There is more than one way to earn a CPA!
After graduating from Walsh, Kevin Phung returned to Macomb to take classes in preparation for his CPA exam, and you can too!

By Brian Newman and John Chirco, Macomb accounting professors and CPAs

Before discovering I’d rather teach full time, I worked for years as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) after earning an MBA first from Walsh and then sitting for my CPA exam. 

My way, however, is not the only way.  

There are students in my classes who have earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and need just 30 more credits to sit for the CPA exam.  But they don’t want to commit to nor pay for a master’s degree that they really don’t need. That’s why they’re here at Macomb, completing the extra college credits and beefing up their accounting skills at the same time.  Kevin Phung is one of those students.

Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Walsh in December of last year after attending Macomb for two years before transferring.  He is back at Macomb taking three accounting classes to complete the extra college credits he needs to have the 150 required to take the CPA exam, which he is on track to do in 2024.

“This route was a more affordable way to earn my CPA license,” said Kevin, who is currently working as an associate at an accounting firm. “Macomb’s affordability and amazing professors have been a tremendous help in achieving my academic goals.”

Kevin was not paid to say that but along with Professor John Chirco, also a licensed CPA and one who shares my passion for accounting, it was nice to hear! That is why we’re here, after all. 

I also have students who never took an accounting class before who want to become a CPA. They’ve earned their bachelor’s degrees in nonaccounting fields and after working for years in their profession, decided they want to change careers. Amie Brown falls into that category.

Amie earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and taught for 11 years before deciding she wanted to do something else.  She had the 150 credits but no accounting background, so she was required to complete 21 credits in accounting and 24 credits in general business to qualify for the CPA exam. Amie took courses at Macomb, Oakland and Lansing community colleges and passed the CPA exam in September. She is now working part time at a small accounting firm and as an auditor for the state of Michigan.

“Earning a CPA license opens up many career opportunities for me as a professional. CPA is a designation that separates you from the rest,” said Amie. “It really makes sense to use this alternative path to sit for the exam. It is much more cost effective.”

If you’d like to know more about becoming a CPA, I’d be glad to talk with you! Contact me at 586.445.7309 or newmanb@macomb.edu, or visit the Accounting page on this website.