By: Etan (Alex) Neiman  | 

Syms Students Stripped of Accounting Credits Needed For C.P.A.

Syms Students Stripped of Accounting Credits - PictureOn April 15, many Sy Syms students and alumni opened their email accounts to a jolt of shock. Dean Moses Pava informed those who took certain accounting electives needed to fulfill the C.P.A. educational requirements that those courses had failed to meet the standards of New York’s branch of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Specifically, NASBA ruled that “Decision Models”, ACC 2160 (taught by Sriram Subramanian in the fall of 2015) and “Mergers: History & Practice”, ACC 2401 (taught by Ahron Rosenfeld in the spring of 2015) did not include sufficient accounting content to count towards the required “33 semester hours in accounting” to obtain the C.P.A. license. This comes as a blow to the Sy Syms administration, which had cross-listed these courses with IDS 2160 and FIN 2401 respectively in the hopes of increasing their scarce selection of accounting electives.

In his email to the students affected, Dean Pava maintained that “while the Sy Syms School of Business faculty continues to believe these courses are correctly listed as accounting courses, given the course content, for the purposes of New York State these courses do not meet the requirements for the 33 credit hours in accounting.” Naturally, students greeted this news with dismay, as they never imagined the Sy Syms ACC designation would be brought into question and essentially overruled by New York State’s NASBA. The Commentator has to this point been able to independently verify at least five current or former students who have lost their eligibility to receive the C.P.A. license in New York as a result of having these accounting credits stripped from their record and turned into generic business credits for C.P.A. purposes.

As a remedy for this clear blunder, Dean Pava offered students three options in order to retake the lost credit hours in accounting, all at no additional cost to the students. Option one is to take an online “Special Topics in Accounting” course during this summer. Option two is to take an M.S. in Accounting night course during this summer at the Cardozo campus. Option three is to take an M.S. in Accounting night course this fall at the Beren campus. These remedies, however, do not make up for the lost time that will have to be devoted to reacquiring these accounting credits. Particularly, for those alumni who have already entered demanding accounting firms, it is nearly unthinkable to them that they will have to return to school.

For a bit of background, accounting students across the United States typically have two options in order to complete the educational requirements needed to obtain the C.P.A. license. The first method is to complete an accounting program which is registered by the state’s Department of Education as “licensure qualifying”. Syms students who opt for this first route often choose to either complete the one year M.S. in Accounting at Syms or the one year M.S. in Taxation at Baruch College. The second method to obtain the educational requirements is to accumulate 150 undergraduate credit hours. However, this comes with a catch. At least 33 of those credit hours must be in accounting, while at least another 36 must consist of general business electives. A usual Sy Syms B.S. in Accounting consists of nine required accounting courses for a total of 27 accounting credit hours. For students who do not wish to pay for the Syms or Baruch Master’s programs or for whatever reason opt for the 150 undergraduate credit hour route, they need to accumulate six more accounting credit hours. To obtain those additional accounting credits, many students took the “Decision Models” and “Mergers: History & Practice” courses (three credits each). Those C.P.A. aspirants who took these courses labeled as ACC 2160 and ACC 2401 respectively could have never dreamed that upon submission for approval, NASBA would deem these courses insufficiently accounting-based to be considered as part of the 33 necessary accounting credits.