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Advanced Financial Accounting

Author: Jared

Advanced Financial Accounting

I’m taking a break from Spring Break to send you greetings from the MAC Program! We certainly hope you all are doing well. We’ve covered a pretty wide range of topics here on the MAC Student Blog—hopefully you’ve found it a helpful resource! As we’ve moved through the application and interview process and some of you have chosen to come here in the fall or are still making that decision, I wanted to give you a brief taste of one of the classes you would take here: Advanced Financial Accounting.

Financial, financial, financial…

Take a walk with me a few years back down memory lane. It’s the first day of Intermediate I, and this is one of the first things I hear coming out of my professor’s mouth: “We are going to start learning things today that will be tested on the CPA exam. But more importantly, we will learn things today that will become an integral part of your accounting experience.” It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear at that moment, but I was always grateful to that professor for being honest, for communicating quickly that a solid foundation in financial accounting was extremely important to my academic and professional success as an accountant.

While you probably are already aware of this, I think it’s worth mentioning that graduating from your undergraduate institution does not mean you will have graduated from financial accounting. You will simply graduate from the “Intermediate” level to the “Advanced” level. (Now, if you’re anything like me, then there are times during those Intermediate classes that you feel quite strongly as if the term “intermediate” is a gross understatement, but that’s beside the point). So what is the point? Besides the FAR section of the CPA exam, is there anything worth gleaning from the wealth of classes dedicated to financial accounting? Well, in short, yes.

From the Classroom to the Profession

As you may know from looking into the MAC Program, most students here take Advanced Financial Accounting in the spring, which is what I am currently doing. In the first half of the class, we’ve covered pretty extensively the subject of consolidated financial statements and their ins and outs, and in the second half we’ll move into foreign currency transactions, foreign exchange hedging, accounting for derivatives, and other topics.

If you read much from the financial press, or any press for that matter, you’ll recognize that international economic turmoil and uncertainty has led to several outcomes, including increased acquisition activity (requiring consolidated financial statements) and issues relating to foreign currency risk management (potentially leading to FX hedging) and foreign investments. So at the very least, Dr. Branson’s Advanced Financial Accounting class gives some great context within which to digest moves that companies are making in the current economic environment.

But an email that Dr. Branson shared with us a couple weeks ago really drove home the worth and importance of this class on a personal level. A recent MAC alumnus had gotten in touch with him, giving an update on how work was going as a new accountant in an audit practice in Charlotte. He proceeded to tell Dr. Branson that after having been on the job for only five months, he had already dealt with three topics from the class, namely, goodwill impairment, foreign exchange gains/losses, and derivatives. Although the former student had not expected to apply his classroom knowledge so quickly, he realized that the topics covered in Advanced Financial are quite prevalent for many, many companies that are the clients for the various firms we’ll end up working for.

Short Answer

All that to say, there is much to look forward to! Financial accounting is a difficult subject, and it will only get more technical when you get to the graduate level, but it also becomes increasingly rewarding. As we are often reminded, accounting is a profession, and as professionals, we are held to a high standard by society and its institutions. The study of financial accounting is one of the ways that we uphold that high standard.

Thanks for reading! Please don’t hesitate to comment if you have any thoughts or questions. And have a great day!