Every significant transaction in today's world requires assessing employment of money and materials. Accountants suggest the best way to manage resources or monitor and report on an organization's financial well being. Career possibilities include accountant, auditor, controller, consultant, tax advisor or systems expert.

Our Mission is to

  • Serve our students, the accounting profession, academia, and other stakeholders through nationally recognized leadership in all aspects of scholarship, with an emphasis on discipline-based research
  • Provide meaningful learning experiences that engage the highest quality faculty and students who will be entering the accounting profession or the accounting academy
  • Provide leadership and service to the academic community and policy-making bodies

Related Student Organizations

Beta Alpha Psi
Institute of Management Accountants
National Association of Black Accountants

Explore Study Abroad

Studying abroad is an excellent way to gain international experience that enhances your business education. With careful planning, it is even possible to study abroad for a semester and pursue the Integrated Master’s of Accountancy (IMAcc) program. Many students also consider a summer program or a short program embedded in a course. Students are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad section to learn more about study abroad opportunities and to meet with their academic advisor to discuss course planning. Pending annual review, accounting majors who study abroad through International Programs in the Wisconsin School of Business will be eligible to receive the Ralph and Elizabeth Ebbott Study Abroad Scholarship. While the amount of the award varies from year to year, past awards have ranged from $500 to $2000.

Q: How do I declare a major in accounting?

A: Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business in order to declare a major in accounting. Please visit our Admissions page for more information. Students indicate their intended major when they apply to the business school. If they are admitted, the major(s) indicated will be declared for them. Students may change their major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Business students must apply separately for the Integrated Master’s of Accountancy (IMAcc) program. A declared major in accounting does not guarantee admission to the IMAcc program.

Q: How do I cancel the accounting major?

A: Admitted business students may cancel their declared accounting major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: What are common parallel plans related to accounting?

A: Students interested in public accounting must complete either an undergraduate or graduate major in accounting plus 150 credits in order to take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam. A common parallel plan consists of pursuing any undergraduate major and the Graduate Master’s of Accountancy (GMacc). Students interested in accounting might choose economics or a related quantitative major as a parallel plan. Students are encouraged to contact the Cross College Advising Service or the appropriate school/college for advising related to these or other majors.

Q: How do I run a DARS report for the accounting major?

A: Please see the Academic Advising page for information on how to run a DARS report.

The following requirements must be met in order to complete a major in Accounting.  For detailed course descriptions, please consult the Course Guide.

Please be aware of stated prerequisites for major courses (including business core courses) that need to be completed before taking the course.  Specific prerequisites can be found using the Course Guide or Class Search.

Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business to complete a major in Accounting.

The curriculum requirements for the Accounting major is 24 credits in the following:

  • Must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA in business and economic courses every semester.
  • Accounting majors must take a minimum of 18 credits from Acct I S courses at the 301 level or higher at UW-Madison.
  • Gen Bus 302 Business Organizations and Negotiable Instruments, 3 cr
  • AIS 301 Financial Reporting I, 3 cr
  • AIS 302 Financial Reporting II, 3 cr
  • AIS 310 Cost Management Systems, 3 cr
  • AIS 340 Accounting Systems, 3 cr
  • AIS 406 Advanced Financial Reporting, 3 cr
  • AIS 620 Fundamentals of Taxation, 3 cr
  • AIS 630 Audit and Assurance Services, 3 cr

*Acct I S 340 is only offered in the fall semester
**Students admitted to the Integrated Master's of Accountancy (IMAcc) Program who complete a spring semester internship must complete ACCT I S 600 and ACCT I S 601 instead of ACCT I S 406. IMAcc students who complete a summer internship will still be responsible for completing ACCT I S 406 as part of the undergraduate degree requirements and will not enroll in ACCT I S 600 and ACCT I S 601.

Recommended Electives

Acct I S 603 Financial Statement Analysis, 3 cr
Acct I S 621 Corporate and Advanced Taxation, 3 cr
Acct I S 631 Information Technology, Risk, and Assurance Services, 3 cr

The following courses are recommended as program electives outside of accounting. The student is encouraged to elect as many as a program will permit.

Finance 320 Investments, 3 cr
Finance 325 Corporation Finance, 3 cr
Info Sys 371 Technology of Computer-based Business Systems, 3 cr
Info Sys 424 Analysis and Design of Computer Based Systems, 3 cr
OTM 654 Production Planning and Control, 3 cr
Real Est 306 The Real Estate Process, 3 cr
RMI 300 Principles of Risk Management, 3 cr

Fabio Gaertner
Associate Professor
BS, MS, Ph.D.

Tony Greig
Senior Lecturer

Dan Lynch
Assistant Professor
BS, MS, Ph.D.

Ella Mae Matsumura
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Director of Beyer Center, Professor
BA, MS, Ph.D.

Brian Mayhew
Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program, Executive Director of the Arthur Andersen Center for Financial Reporting and Control
BBA, Ph.D.

Tyler Thomas
Assistant Professor
BA, MBA, Ph.D.

John Walsh
Senior Lecturer

Daniel Wangerin
Associate Professor
BBA, MA, Ph.D.

Terry Warfield
Richard J. Johnson Chair of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems
BS, MBA, Ph.D.

John Wild
BBA, MS, Ph.D.

Accounting is the development and use of a system for recording and analyzing the financial transactions and financial status of an organization.  Accountants are responsible for the record-keeping methods involved in making a financial record of business transactions and in the preparation of statements concerning the assets, liabilities, and operating results of a business.

Corporate Accounting Overview

Corporate accountants manage an organization’s financials and provide expertise in financial reporting and control to assist management in forming and implementing business strategy. Corporate accounting is a broad term that can include many different functions, such as management accounting, internal audit and financial analysis.

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Forecast profit and loss, assist with pricing and manage operating expenses
  • Plan, coordinate and document calendar year-end activities, external audits and budgets

Essential Skills

  • Complex problem-solving
  • Comfort with decision-making
  • Communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Microsoft Excel skills
  • Comfort with ambiguity of changing market
  • Ability to work in cross-functional teams

Public Accounting Overview

The focus areas in public accounting include: audit/assurance, tax, and technology/risk.  Public accountants work with clients to review or prepare financial documents.  They make recommendations regarding business decisions and company finances.

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Participate in all phases of a financial statement audit and audit of internal controls, including planning, execution and completion
  • Inspect control processes and determine accuracy of financial information and compliance with laws, regulations, and generally accepted accounting principles
  • Assist businesses, individuals, and organizations with tax strategy, planning, and compliance

Essential Skills

  • Complex problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Detail-oriented
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Eligibility for CPA Licensure
  • Computer skills
  • Willingness to travel

Non-Profit & Government Overview

Accountants in non-profit organizations and governmental agencies do work similar to corporate and public accountants but also apply different standards and regulations specific to these fields.

Possible Job Responsibilities

  • Prepare annual budgets and manage budgets throughout the year
  • Prepare monthly and ad hoc financial reports and analyses
  • Track large donations, prepare donor requested reports, and prepare forecasts

Essential Skills

  • Complex problem-solving skills
  • Comfort with decision-making
  • Communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Computer skills
  • Tolerance for bureaucratic processes
  • Interest in public service or serving the greater good

Related Accounting Career Paths

Accounting is often called the foundation of business.  Accounting students are well equipped to work in other areas of business including forensic accounting, personal finance, corporate finance, investment banking, consulting, entrepreneurship and education.

Meet the academic and career advisors for Accounting.

Jamie Mickelson
Career Advisor
Ariel Sorenson
Academic Advisor

Please visit the Contact Advisors and Staff page for information on advising and appointments.

Students may direct questions about the IMAcc program to Kristen Fuhremann, the director of the program, or their academic or career advisor.

The state of Wisconsin and most other states have passed legislation mandating that candidates sitting for the CPA exam must have completed a 150-credit-hour program including at least the equivalent of an undergraduate major in accounting. Three advanced degree options for completing these requirements exist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They are:

  1. The IMAcc (Integrated Master’s of Accountancy) program, which leads to a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) with an accounting major and a Master of Accountancy degree. The BBA is 120 credits and the MAcc is 30 credits in this program. Students who are majoring in accounting apply for admission to this program during the spring semester of their junior year. Those who are admitted to the IMAcc program must complete a required internship during the spring semester of their senior year. Students are encouraged to take the GMAT exam during the first semester of their senior year.
  2. The BBA degree with an accounting major and an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree. The BBA degree is 120 credits and the MBA is a minimum of 36 credits resulting in a total of 156 credits. There is no accounting specialization track in the MBA, so graduate students must major in another area of business.
  3. Any undergraduate degree with a MAcc degree. The graduate-only master's of accountancy degree program (GMAcc) does not require an undergraduate major in accounting or in business. There are 56 credits in this program, completed over two years. Students admitted to this program are required to complete an internship during the summer between the first and second years. The GMAT exam is required for admission.

Students can also satisfy the 150 credit hour requirement by completing the BBA degree with a major in accounting and 30 additional college credits in any area, including a second undergraduate major. Please consult the Department of Accounting and Information Systems or your academic or career advisor for additional information.