Beta Alpha Psi's Zeta Mu Chapter
Spring 2020 Alumni Newsletter
Can't Stop Zeta Mu!
This school year has been a busy one for the Zeta Mu chapter! Between a transitioning faculty advisor, the University switching back to 16-week semesters, and now the pandemic, there has been a lot of adjustments for the chapter, but that has never stopped us. Due to COVID-19 and USM classes changing to online courses, Beta Alpha Psi has also transitioned to online meetings for the remainder of the semester. USM extended their spring break an extra week to help give the professors time to switch their classes to online courses. With the extra spring break and meetings being offered online, BAP had to cancel two professional meetings with speakers. To make up for the canceled meetings, we are providing an officer ran presentation that will address all things CPA related for the members and candidates to get more comfortable with the application process as well as some background information on the exams. Along with this meeting, we still have two more professional speakers set up to present to the students over Microsoft Teams.
To properly celebrate the candidates and recognize their hard work this semester, we have decided to move initiation to the beginning of next semester, the week before our first organizational meeting. With the initiation scheduled before the organizational meeting, there will hopefully be minimal differences for this semester candidates' experience. We plan to have a small ceremony for our graduating members and incoming officers at the end of this semester; however, this will be conducted virtually. Even with all of the changes, we are so proud of our candidates and members this semester and cannot wait to hopefully start back in August face-to-face.
~ Samantha Coblentz, President
A glance at this school year!
From Hattiesburg to Chicago
In August 2019, seven members of the Zeta Mu Chapter traveled to Chicago, Illinois, for Beta Alpha Psi's 100th Annual Meeting. This meeting was extraordinary as the organization celebrated its 100th years of excellence. Not only was the conference itself special, but also the location as Illinois was the state where the first chapter was initiated 100 years ago. Beta Alpha Psi's theme for the year was Inspiring Future Leaders to Leave a Legacy of Excellence. On the meeting's first day, our members participated in the BAP International Day of Literacy; we went to a local learning center to distribute books and taught the kids the importance of literacy. This is some of our students' favorite day, as it is always great giving back to the community! Later that evening, we attended the 100th Anniversary Welcome Reception, where the members met recruiters from different graduate schools around the country and CPA prep representatives. Some of our members even won CPA prep materials at the reception! Over the next two days, the members attended meetings on how to become future leaders and enjoyed exploring the beautiful city of Chicago. Overall, the meeting was beneficial to our members to grow professionally and fantastic participation for the whole chapter.
~ Katie Niemeyer, Reporting Secretary
Zeta Mu in Louisville
Ten members of Southern Miss’s Zeta Mu chapter of Beta Alpha Psi had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Louisville, Kentucky, at the BAP Southeast Regional Meeting this past February. Our mission going into the meeting was to observe presentations, learn about different aspects of the accounting industry, hear some innovative ideas from other chapters and take detailed notes on everything to bring back to our chapter. In addition to accomplishing all of those things, we also found and experienced so much more. I believe that it is sometimes easy to forget how large the organization you are a part of actually is, and attending the regional meeting granted us a perspective far beyond the walls of Scianna Hall. It was truly incredible to meet members of different Beta Alpha Psi chapters and see how impactful our organization is in communities across the nation. After soaking in all of the information we could, we then held a regional meeting panel at one of our chapter meetings where we shared our experiences with the other members of Zeta Mu. Not only were we able to transfer the knowledge we gained, but we sparked interest in our current members about attending regional and annual meetings in the future. Attending large organizational meetings such as this one helps prepare young accounting professionals for their careers; therefore, we are excited to know that our members want to partake in those opportunities in the future. Each of us is so grateful for the chance we were given to experience our organization beyond Southern Miss, and we are eager to implement our new ideas moving forward to leave Zeta Mu stronger and greater than we found it!
~ Megan Fairley, Vice President
Thank You, Dr. Leach
This semester, Zeta Mu is saying goodbye to one of our co-adviser, Dr. Megan Leach. While she was only with us for a short amount of time, we appreciate the time and effort she put forward into helping keep our chapter exceptional and Superior throughout the year. On top of dedicating her time to Beta Alpha Psi, Dr. Leach taught ACC 327, Intermediate II, and came to know a majority of our candidates and members well because of it. Although we have valued our time with Dr. Leach, she is progressing in her career as an assistant professor of accounting at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Dr. Marv Bouillon will be the faculty advisor until a replacement is found. We are so thankful for everything Dr. Leach has done for our chapter and wish her the best going forward!
~ Hunter Reed, Treasurer
The Big Event To The Top!
On Saturday, March 7th, Beta Alpha Psi participated in an annual campus-wide community service initiative called The Big Event. This day is dedicated to going out in the Hattiesburg community and leaving it a little better than we found it. We are proud to have had thirteen candidates and ten members participate in the Big Event this year. All organizations at Southern Miss can participate in this service event, allowing some of our students to represent multiple organizations. The twenty-three participants were split into two groups, with one group helping at R3SM and the other at Tatum Park tennis courts. R3SM is an organization that provides recovery services to multiple surrounding counties during disasters. They use their facility to house out-of-town volunteers for a lower price. At both locations, our job was to give the place a face-lift. The students mowed, pulled up weeds, trimmed trees, and put hay down in their flower beds. They also helped put down mulch in the flower beds and even planted a few flowers. The work was hard, but seeing the gratitude on the faces of those we helped was more than rewarding. It was an enjoyable experience, and we hope to continue it for many years.
~ Kayla Jo Martin, Vice President of Community Outreach
We Love the Mentor Program!
For several years now, Beta Alpha Psi has continued to implement a Mentor Program created primarily to help introduce candidates into this society and the accounting program at the University of Southern Mississippi. At the beginning of each semester, the Vice President of Membership pairs each newly invited candidate who has accepted their invitation with an active member, and the two meet up periodically throughout the semester to discuss the candidate's transition into membership in Beta Alpha Psi. It can be intimidating to walk into a professional honor society, especially when it comes to meeting potential employers in the area, so it helps to have an experienced member to help candidates become adjusted and comfortable. Lainey Aenchbacher, one of our candidates this semester, said, "I think it's a great way to make a connection with new people!" when asked her opinion on the program.
Another goal of the Mentor Program is to guide candidates in jumpstarting their leadership skills, whether it be holding a leadership position in the future or becoming a member who helps set the tone for other members in remaining involved and enthusiastic about our different events. In the end, we aim to raise candidates to be leaders in Beta Alpha Psi and, ultimately, the College of Business and Economic Development, and the Mentor Program is one way to accomplish this goal.
~ Abby Anderson, VP Membership
Beta Alpha Psi Students Take Part in Professional Events
Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, the Beta Alpha Psi students took part in several different professional events. These events range from listening to individuals in the accounting world, to meetings that will enhance their professional skills. Every semester, the chapter hosts about six meetings where professionals present to the members and candidates on a range of topics, allowing the students a chance to meet and network with the professionals. Some of the firms we have hosted at our meetings this school year were Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, LLC, NASBA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hancock Whitney, MSCPA, and Matthews, Cutrer, & Lindsey, and more. The members and candidates of the Zeta Mu Chapter also teamed up with the USM Office of Internal Audit to perform petty cash audits across the USM campus. The petty cash audits provide the students with accounting-related experiences. In the fall semester, the students also took part in an etiquette dinner, where they learned how the proper etiquette to use for potential interviews over a meal. Overall, this school year, the students of the Zeta Mu Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi continued to hone professional skills so that they can continue to both uphold the standards of the chapter and sharpen their own personal, professional expertise.
~Benjamin Davis, Vice President of Social Outreach
Pictures from Professional Meetings
New Course in the College of Business and Economic Development
Two years ago, The University of Southern Mississippi approved of a trial class, BA 211, Professional Business Standards, for the College of Business and Economic Development. Amber Hatten and Valerie Simmons worked together to develop a one-hour optional elective course specifically for accounting majors that began in the Spring 2019 semester. After the pilot semester, Mrs. Hatten became the primary teacher for the course. This class introduces young accounting majors to a variety of topics to teach them more about a career in professional accountancy and to help support their career readiness and their personal and professional development. Some of the topics covered in the class are accounting recruiting timeline, summer leadership programs, internships, Handshake, study abroad programs, resume building skills, Beta Alpha Psi, the CPA exam, the importance of a graduate degree and the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) program at Southern Miss. BA 211 has been an outstanding addition to the accounting curriculum, and I firmly believe this class alone has had a significant impact on the number of students interested in Beta Alpha Psi and the number of students inquiring about and applying to the MPA program. This semester, we have a record high of 20 Beta Alpha Psi candidates and 16 graduating members who will return for the extra year to attend the MPA program. I cannot stress the positive outcome this class has provided for Southern Miss's accounting majors and am excited to see how this course will impact USM and Beta Alpha Psi's students in the future!
~ Sayle Sanson, Vice President of Professional Development
New Traditions for The School of Accountancy
On January 30, 2020, the School of Accountancy put on its first annual Spring Meet and Greet, which was modeled after the traditional Meet the Firms event hosted each year during the fall semester. The Spring Meet and Greet is a scaled-down version of Meet the Firms and is a more casual way for students to meet and network with local firms and stay abreast of the newest updates in the field of accounting, the CPA exam, and much more. At this first-ever spring recruiting event, representatives from eighteen firms attended, along with more than 170 participants. The School of Accountancy prides itself on the 100% job placement for students who graduate from the Masters of Professional Accountancy program. This overwhelming statistic is only made possible through the dedicated faculty and student organizations such as Beta Alpha Psi who help host events such as the Meet the Firms and the newly started Spring Meet and Greet. Everyone involved was greatly encouraged by the great turn out at this inaugural event and hope that the Spring Meet and Greet will be a tradition that continues to help all of those in the School of Accountancy soar straight to the top.
~ Laura Chatham, Member
One of our members, Sachin Yadav, talking to representatives from Ernst & Young
Overview of The School of Accountancy's first Spring Meet and Greet
Sabrina Price, a BAP member, talking with students about the chapter
Spring 2020's Interns
This school year, twenty students from the School of Accountancy participated in internships ranging from Dallas to New York. We are steadily seeing more and more students get involved in summer leadership programs and internships in an effort to better their careers. Of these twenty students, fifteen were Beta Alpha Psi candidates/ members! We are so proud of our members and their dedication to being successful. Internships are a significant part of an Accounting major's college experience, and we are thankful to have some of the brightest and most committed students who not only want to better themselves but also USM. In the next section, you will read about one of our members describing his internship experience below.
~ Sayle Sanson
Beta Alpha Psi and their Internships
As the application process for interns in the Accounting field can be competitive and somewhat complicated, I am grateful for USM's Career Services and the School of Accountancy. Currently, I'm interning at Topp McWhorter Harvey PLLC in their Hattiesburg office. I was born and raised around Hattiesburg, so being able to develop my career at a local firm fulfills my wish to stay and better my community as it grows. My experience at TMH as been extraordinary since I started in January. TMH has provided me the opportunity to experience work in both their audit and tax departments, allowing me to gain valuable insight into several different career paths. I have received a vast array of lessons and advice from many different professionals ranging from staff accountants to firm partners. On top of that, I have been able to use the skills I learned during my time at USM. I am excited to see what else I learn during the remainder of my internship and share my experience and advice to my fellow members of Beta Alpha Psi.
~ Hunter Graham, Member
Note from Faculty Advisor
As one of the faculty co-advisor for USM’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter and the Director of the School of Accountancy, it has been rewarding to see the strong commitment of so many young adults to make this chapter a Superior chapter. Being a Superior chapter requires a lot of hard work and an enormous commitment of hours from every member. We engage in many activities that make a difference on campus and in the community as members continue to participate in recruiting events such as Black and Gold Day and take part in meaningful service projects, including the Big Event, Read Across America, the Young CPA day of service and on-campus tutoring.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has made this year even more challenging. Yet, the members of the USM Beta Alpha Psi chapter have endured. We are currently holding our weekly meetings with about 40 to 50 members virtually using Microsoft Teams. Additionally, the current officers are meeting and planning the future of the organization.
As many of you know, our annual CPE event has been rescheduled for Thursday, August 13th. We are planning to hold the event in Scianna Hall, as well as virtually. We are excited about the new location and the virtual meeting options. The funds from the CPE event and the support of the School of Accountancy have provided many members the opportunity to attend a regional and national BAP meeting. Last year, seven students went to the national meeting in Chicago, while another twelve students attended the regional meetings in Louisville, KY. Your support of our CPE event is changing the lives of our members!
We have exceptional students, alumni, faculty, and staff at USM. It is a pleasure to represent them as one of the co-advisors.
Southern Miss to the Top!
~ Marv Bouillon, Faculty Co-advisor
USM's Beta Alpha Psi's Annual Accounting & Auditing CPE Seminar
Thursday, Aug. 13th, 8am
Scianna Hall, Hattiesburg, MS, USA
The cost is $100.00 and attendees will receive 8 hours of CPE. This is a great way to get those needed hours and also support Beta Alpha Psi! If you have not received a brochure and/or would like additional information, please email Sayle Sanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beta Alpha Psi's 2019 Scholarship Recipient
As the 2019 Beta Alpha Psi’s scholarship recipient, I would love to extend my gratitude to the Beta Alpha Psi alumni for this contribution. The Beta Alpha Psi Zeta Mu chapter has given me more than I could have ever expected. As last year’s president, I am more than aware that Beta Alpha Psi could not function without the help of our alumni. I, also, could not have gotten to where I am today without their support. With this scholarship, I did not once have to focus on financial burdens as I progressed my education in the Master of Professional Accounting program and was honored to leave Southern Miss thankful and gracious for all it has given me. We have been grateful for the alumni support throughout my time in Beta Alpha Psi, and I look forward to one day being part of making an impact on a Beta Alpha Psi student the way you have for me. Thank you for all your support and contributing to the Beta Alpha Psi chapter at Southern Miss, and of course, thank you for supporting me through my last year at Southern Miss and giving me the best year I could have imagined serving Beta Alpha Psi. BAPTTT!
~ Erin Howell, Graduate
Additional Information - BAP Scholarship
We very much appreciate your support of our Beta Alpha Psi scholarship! If you would like to make a contribution, there is a giving form online at www.usmfoundation.com. Just click on the Give Now button and complete the required information. In the Designations section, you will select Give to the area(s) of your choice and then type “Beta Alpha Psi” in the search box and select Beta Alpha Psi Annual Scholarship (2145).
Our students are always grateful for the help and support of our alumni. This chapter has aided in students getting internships and job offers. We are very proud of our candidates and members every year and love to reward them for their hard-earned work! With your help, we are able to help our students succeed and soar. USMTTT!