Beta Alpha Psi

Southern Miss Newsletter // Spring 2016

School of Accountancy to the Top!

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) Program is continuing to grow and expand, and students are achieving success in many different areas. The MPA Program is offered on both Hattiesburg and Coast campuses, and students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the program in one calendar year (summer, fall, spring), and students can enter the program any semester. A new course has been developed, ACC 615 - Audit Analytics and IT Auditing, that incorporates the use of IDEA Data Analysis software. The IDEA Academic Partnership, sponsored by Audimation Services, Inc., donated CaseWare IDEA software (valued at $77,000) for MPA students to use professional data analytics technology in the context of the ACC 615 course. Microsoft Excel continues to be an area of focus, and 22 of our MPA students obtained Excel Certification at both Basic and Expert levels during this past academic year. USM graduates continue to do very well on the CPA Exam, with USM alumnus Oliver Leal receiving the Fred T. Neely Gold Medal award for the highest score in the State of Mississippi during this past year. In the prior year, USM graduates Amber Cole (gold) and Jordan Church (bronze) were medalists. Several students have been taking sections of the exam while enrolled in the MPA program this academic year, and they have been doing very well. The MPA Program has continued to achieve a 100% placement rate for those MPA graduates actively seeking full-time employment.

- Amber Hatten, CPA

Professor of Practice

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2014-2016 MPA placement highlights include the following:

BKD LLP – Ridgeland, MS

Ernst and Young – Dallas, TX and Houston, TX

GranthamPoole – Ridgeland, MS

Horne LLP – Ridgeland, Hattiesburg, and Gulfport, MS offices

Matthews, Cutrer and Lindsay – Ridgeland, MS

May & Company – Vicksburg, MS

PricewaterhouseCoopers – Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA, and Kansas City, MO

RSM (formerly McGladrey) – McLean, VA (Washington, D.C. area)

Topp McWhorter Harvey, PLLC (formerly Nicholson & Company) – Hattiesburg, MS

William F. Horne, PLLC – Laurel, MS

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – New Orleans, LA

State of Mississippi Department of Revenue

The University of Southern Mississippi

International Education

The British Studies Program offers students the opportunity to earn six course credit hours while studying abroad in London. The course is experiential in that we offer exceptional visits to some of the UK’s most important and iconic institutions such as Lloyd’s of London, Jaguar, the British Parliament, and Wimbledon. Students also have numerous opportunities to travel outside of London on their own. In the past, we have had students travel to various European destinations, including France, Ireland, Switzerland, and Spain. This program allows students to grow as both individuals and professionals and to become more competitive in today’s global economy.

- Amber Cole, CPA


MS CPA Exam Gold Medalist


Presidential Legacy

During this year, we have seen our chapter grow more than it ever has before. During the academic year, our chapter has grown to approximately 60 members. With more members brought more ideas for service projects and different individuals to speak to our group. This year we were able to have representatives from 3 of the Big 4 accounting firms to our yearly "Meet the Firms" career fair on campus. Our programs this year consisted of speakers from our state auditor, Stacey Pickering, to representatives from the Government Services division of the regional firm Horne, LLP. Our chapter has also participated in many team building exercises throughout the year with a challenge course in the fall and paintball in the spring. Some of the service projects that our chapter participated in this year were with Habitat for Humanity, and our university wide community service day called "The Big Event". On top of all of our calendar filling activities throughout the year, our members are still actively working towards winning the Beta Alpha Psi Gold Challenge Competition, the international organization's highest recognition that can be given to a chapter.

- David Sones, President

Striving for Greatness

This year our chapter decided to participate in a program, sponsored by the Office of Student Activities at Southern Miss, called STRIVE for Five. The STRIVE for Five program is designed to challenge Southern Miss student organizations through increased opportunities for leadership and organizational development. Organizations will receive rewards for each level of requirements met. In order to meet requirements, members and officers will engage in activities and opportunities throughout the year designed to help them learn, grow, and achieve success. We are proud to say that our chapter completed all five levels of the program. In prior years, five or less of the over 280 student organizations at Southern Miss achieve this accomplishment.

- Walker Watkins, Vice President of Professional Development and Reaching Out Activities

Scholastic Achievements

I was honored to receive the first Beta Alpha Psi Scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year. This scholarship has been a wonderful blessing and has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. Managing finances is a concern that many college students experience. It can put extra unnecessary stress on students and therefore cause grades, health, and social life to decline as well as other factors conducive to a fulfilling college experience. I attribute my success in school largely to the financial aid I have received. It has allowed me flexibility in the time I am required to work and has therefore allowed me to have the study time I need and to participate in more events on campus and with Beta Alpha Psi. I thank you for allowing Beta Alpha Psi to be able to give such a wonderful blessing and hope to encourage future blessings to other students.

- Kayla Alford, Vice President of Social Outreach

Recruiting Never Ends

During my year as the Vice President of Membership and Recruitment, I have had many fun and educational experiences. Junior Beta Alpha Psi is a great program we implemented to get lower level accounting students involved with our chapter earlier in their collegiate career. My favorite experiences were when we volunteered at Homes for Hope as well as attending our regional and national meetings in various cities. On these trips, you get to learn about other chapters as well as meet the members to get ideas on events and programs for your chapter. While in Beta Alpha Psi, I have formed friendships that will last for a lifetime and have bettered myself personally and professionally through this organization. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to be an officer in Beta Alpha Psi.

- Morgan Smith, Vice Presidet of Membership and Recruitment

Accounting - Not just Bookkeeping

Being in Beta Alpha Psi has taught me many things about accounting and my potential career but also about myself. Attending the regional and annual meetings were some of my favorite activities, mostly because they opened me up to new relationships. People I might have never otherwise talked to in the program became friends and people to go to for help in class. Being the treasurer, I was basically the accountant of the accounting society. I gained experience with programs that I have used and will continue to use in my career. Beta Alpha Psi has made me a better student, a better accountant, and a better person.

- Teresa Keen, Treasurer

Continuing Growth

This year has been full of growth for our chapter. We really do have a bright and talented group of students that enjoy working together to support each other and the community. I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful and active chapter! Our membership numbers have been growing each semester as we have taken initiatives to reach and inform more students on the benefits of being a member of BAP. It's great thing to see something you have been working with grow and blossom. The positivity within our chapter has helped strengthen the relationships between members and foster lifelong friendships.

- Hailey Rushing, Reporting Secretary

Bringing Communities Together

To reiterate Amber Cole's discussion on The British Studies Program, I participated in this prestigious program during the summer of 2015. Being someone that's only left the city of Hattiesburg a few times, I quickly jumped on the once in a lifetime opportunity. I soon knew I made the right decision, and the program allowed me to grow in ways I didn't think possible. Thanks to The British Studies Program and the School of Accountancy, I know that I can do anything that I set my mind to.

One thing that our group is known for is how we give back to our community whenever we see the chance. As already mentioned, we participated in the Homes of Hope project this year, and by assisting in the clean up of their construction site, we were able to save them over $5,000! Being the newest officer of the 2015-2016 school year, I wanted to find a way to contribute to the group and find a way to make us even better than before. While interning at Topp McWhorter Harvey, PLLC in Hattiesburg, I was exposed to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. This program allows anyone certified to prepare free tax returns to low income families in our area. The integration of this program in the Beta Alpha Psi curriculum is still fresh and new, but I am very excited to see how this will shape our group as a whole, and each of our members as individuals.

- Bruce Kirk, Vice President of Community Outreach

Our beloved Faculty Advisor

Thank you so much for your support of our Beta Alpha Psi scholarship! You all have done an outstanding job in contributing and I am very happy to report that our current balance with the USM Foundation is $5,245! We awarded our first ever USM Beta Alpha Scholarship for the 2015–2016 in the amount of $500 to Kayla Alford.

Thank you to everyone who has assisted and contributed as we work to make a difference for our best students and Beta Alpha Psi members! If you have not done so and would like to make a contribution, there is a giving form online at . Just click on the ‘Give Now’ button and complete the required information. You can select ‘Give to the area(s) of your choice’ in the Designations section, and then select ‘Other’ located at the bottom of the pop-up screen. Type ‘Beta Alpha Psi Annual Scholarship Fund No. 2145’ in the Comments section. There is an ‘Additional Gift Info’ section at the bottom of the page and you can mark “Do Not Publish My Name” in this section and the gift will remain anonymous. In the ‘Additional Gift Info’, you can indicate ‘Class of ??’, if you so desire. If you have any questions, please contact who is with the USM Foundation.

- Valerie Simmons, CPA

Instructor and Faculty Advisor

BAC Teaching Award 2010-2011

BAC Service Award 2013-2014

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