Accounting Schools in Michigan

This guide to accounting schools in Michigan contains essential information about your options for pursuing an accounting degree so that you can decide on the accounting program that is right for you. The universities and colleges in Michigan offer a wide array of programs in various areas of accounting that may fit your current skills and preferred career track. You may also find that online accounting degree programs like the BS in Accounting offered by University of Phoenix are a good match for your career goals.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 75 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Michigan.
  • 18 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 90%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Western Michigan University 30%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Calvin College $24,3341
  • Lowest net price per year*: University of Michigan-Dearborn $7,9181
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Michigan: $10,080-$34,9372
  • 2 Schools in the Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2013: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (8), Michigan State University (43)
  • 2 Schools in the Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2013: University of Michigan (11), Michigan State University (46)
  • 2 Schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 100): University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (29), Michigan State University (72)

*For 4-year colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Continue reading to find out more about accounting schools in Michigan and your options for a career in accounting.

Schools with Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

1. University of Michigan Ann Arbor 83.3%
2. Michigan State University
3. Western Michigan University
4. Oakland University
5. Walsh College
6. Eastern Michigan University

There were 10 schools in Michigan that had first-time CPA exam candidates (with an advanced degree). The pass rate ranged from 25.0% to 83.3% for these schools. This compares to the 54.6% pass rate for all first-time candidates in the United States (bachelor’s and advanced degree). First-time CPA exam pass rate can provide an excellent data point for evaluating the quality of accounting programs although the number can be skewed for smaller programs with few candidates. For a comprehensive breakdown of statistics see the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Top Masters in Accounting Programs in Michigan

Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI)
Eastern Michigan University confers a Master of Science in Accounting degree that is earned through a comprehensive program which prepares students to pursue expanded professional opportunities after graduation. Students learn practical and theoretical accounting through courses such as Corporate Financial Reporting, Professional Auditing, Federal Income Taxation, and Accounting, Information Technology, and Research. Available specialization tracks include Accounting Information Systems, Internal Auditing, Tax and Financial Planning, or Financial Services and CPA. The curriculum can be personalized to qualify students to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Michigan. The Eastern Michigan University College of Business, in which the master’s in accounting program is housed, emphasizes applied learning experience and preparation for the global business environment. Co-curricular opportunities for extended learning include academic service learning and participation in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Program. Eastern Michigan University is ranked #77 in Regional Universities (Midwest) by US News for its academic integrity, competitive NCAA Division I sports, and comparably low student-faculty ratio.

Walsh College (Novi, MI)
The Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration offers a Master of Science in Accountancy program that has a history stretching back over 90 years; its roots in the community help prepare students for successful careers as well as find job placement after graduation. Two tracks for the master’s degree are offered, the Master of Science in Accountancy for students with an undergraduate degree in a non-accounting field and the Master of Science in Accountancy for Accounting Graduates for students with an undergraduate degree in accounting. Courses offered include Accounting Communications, Industry Accounting and Auditing, Executive Compensation, and Business Ethics for Accountants. Current or aspiring accounting professionals may also be interested in the school’s Master of Science in Taxation or Master of Science in Finance programs. A dedicated business school, Walsh College takes as its motto “Live. Breathe. Business.” and it lives up to its focus, providing students of all backgrounds with a strong education in multiple business disciplines.

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor’s Ross School of Business offers a Master of Accounting program that is highly regarded by employers for preparing students to become career accountants and auditors, as it pairs study for the Master of Accounting with courses from the prestigious Ross MBA Program. Throughout the curriculum, participation in and the understanding of today’s global business environment are emphasized, along with changing technology and the increasing need for cross-functional business professionals. The core curriculum includes courses such as Accounting Information System Design, Financial Instruments and Structured Finance, Advanced Financial Accounting, and a Graduate Research Seminar at the Ernst & Young Accounting and Public Policy Symposium. Students additionally take 9.75 to 10.5 electives from the MBA curriculum to complete the graduate accounting program. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor is ranked #5 by US News as one of the best accounting programs in the nation.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Michigan

Doeren Mayhew specializes in serving the middle market with accounting services from its headquarters in Troy, Michigan. The firm is consistently highly ranked in business publications, and recruits for professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit. Yeo & Yeo has been named as one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work For by Accounting Today, among other prestigious rankings. The firm regularly looks for new employees through campus recruitment efforts. Well known Plante & Moran, named a Best Accounting Firm for Women by the American Society of Women Accountants and the American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants, has offices throughout Michigan where it consistently looks for new talent.

How to Become a CPA in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Michigan Accountancy Board administer the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the state. There are four main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Michigan.

1. Complete a 150 semester hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
4. Apply for a license.

1. Complete a 150 semester hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.

Candidates for CPA licensure in Michigan must have completed 150 semester hours of college education that include the award of a bachelor’s degree or higher with a concentration in accounting. The academic program must include 30 semester hours of accounting, with no more than 6 semester hours of these in taxation. In addition, candidates must complete 39 semester hours divided between at least five of the following areas, with at least 3 semester hours completed in each area counting towards the total hours:

  • Business law
  • Economics
  • Ethics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Taxation
  • Statistics
  • Business policy

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs requires CPA candidates to earn at least one year (2,000 hours) of qualifying accounting experience verified by a licensed CPA. The experience may be earned in government, industry, academia, or public practice. Skills and tasks that meet the experience requirement are outlined on the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Uniform CPA Exam application and testing process is administered through NASBA. Applicants may begin the testing application process at the NASBA website. The Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement in all 50 states. Candidates must pass all four sections within an 18 month rolling period to qualify for a license.

4. Apply for a license.

The application for Michigan CPA licensees is available through the Accountancy Licensing Division. Candidates who do not have a master’s degree with a concentration in accounting but do meet the 150 semester hour requirement must provide an educational analysis with the application.

Michigan licensed CPAs must complete 40 hours of continuing education during each reporting year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. At least 8 of the qualifying hours must be in auditing and accounting, and at least 2 of the qualifying hours must be in ethics. You can find additional information at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
(Source: Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs)

Michigan Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth

10.1%

Accountants and Auditors in Michigan from 2010-20203

Perhaps due to the number of businesses headquartered in Michigan, Michigan is one of the top states for accountants to find work. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 28,000 accountants and auditors are currently working in the state, with concentrations of these professionals in the Detroit, Troy, and Grand Rapids metro areas. The average accountant in Michigan makes a salary of $67,990 per year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for accountants nationwide will grow by almost 20% between 2010-2020, indicating a positive outlook for states like Michigan where accountants are already in demand.

Michigan Accounting Program Student Reviews

Northwood University: “The accounting program at Northwood University was educational, but could stand to be more connected. I attended the accounting program from 2003 to 2007 on the Michigan campus. Overall, I felt that I had been taught a great deal about a wide variety of accounting topics but often I would feel like I was left to make the connections between the different courses I took. Also, because of the way the school was set up in trimesters instead of semesters, it was a very grueling program. If I recall correctly, I had three accounting courses the very first trimester and that was a little daunting. But, ultimately, I would take the program again if I had the opportunity.” -Heather R., student at Northwood University
stars-4

Schoolcraft College: “Completing Schoolcraft College’s accounting program was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The professors were very helpful and personable. Every one of my professors made me feel like they really cared about my educational advancement instead of treating me like just another student. Some of the more advanced courses were a bit tough, but I found that with the resources available at Schoolcraft college I didn’t struggle to get a decent grade. One of the few things that I think could have been improved upon in the accounting program is the lack of online courses available. I am a stay-at-home father and most of my classes I tend to try to take online. Schoolcraft’s accounting program does not contain but a few of their classes online. All in all though, I’m now very confident that I’ll be able to utilize everything I’ve learned in the program throughout my accounting career. ” -student at Schoolcraft College
stars-4

University of Michigan: “The Stephen M Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan was hands down the best decision that I have ever made. It has changed the course of my life and opened many doors and opportunities for me. My chosen area of study at the business school is accounting. I picked accounting because of the job flexibility and potential for high pay. The accounting professors were all very knowledgeable and helpful, as many of them had experience working in the accounting industry and could draw on specific work experiences to help explain points and concepts. In addition, they held many office hours and really invested time and effort in helping students get the maximum benefit out of the course. I highly recommend anyone who is looking into a career in accounting to take a look at the Stephen M Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.” -Student at the University of Michigan
stars-5

“My experience in the University of Michigan accounting program was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I look forward to seeing what I can do with the degree in the future. My professors were all either internationally renowned scholars in their fields or they were extremely qualified to teach accounting. My favorite part of the experience was the access to resources that we had at the University of Michigan. If I ever had questions about a project or topic, I could use the immense library or the accounting center to find answers to my questions. The only thing that could have made the experience better was smaller class sizes, but other than that, I couldn’t have asked for a better program. ” -Student at the University of Michigan
stars-4

“I absolutely loved my experience at the University of Michigan. The social experience was the best part of my college experience. Some of the material was very difficult but I never felt that it was impossible because I always had very helpful professors and staff members there to help me with any questions I may have. Although it was kind of unfortunate that I had to deal with too many students in every one of my classes, the professors were so good that my experience at the University of Michigan was worth it and I don’t think I could have asked for a better experience.” -Student at the University of Michigan
stars-4

University of Michigan-Dearborn: “The University of Michigan-Dearborn has an excellent accounting program. Most of the professors are full-time faculty and the ones that are not are highly qualified to teach their specific accounting courses. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in career improvement activities, such as an active Beta Alpha Psi chapter, great speakers, and a very helpful internship office. The Big Four actively recruit and offer employment and good internships to U of M-Dearborn students, providing a good chance at employment upon graduation. The classes are not easy and prepare well for the CPA exam. Professors are well connected in the business community and offer plenty of help in preparing students for careers in accounting. The university does not offer many online courses for accounting, but in my experience accounting is best learned in a classroom.” -David F., student at University of Michigan-Dearborn
stars-5

Walsh College: “Walsh was a wonderful school to attend for accounting. You are not required to take classes that will not apply to your major. That means no foreign language classes or gym class for those working on some type of business degree. The class sizes were small, around 35 students, so I received individual professor attention as needed. And the majority of the teachers were previously in the business world, so they had some actual experience to shared with their students. The coursework was relevant to my field of study. I feel that Walsh prepared me for any job in the accounting field and I was ready as soon as I received my degree. Walsh also offers some career placement assistance. They have an internal job posting site for students/alumni and wonderful counselors that will help you perfect your resume and prepare you for the job interview.” -Student at Walsh College
stars-5

Western Michigan University: “My experience in the accounting program at Western Michigan University has been truly eye opening. Although I find the curriculum to be slightly challenging and a bit of a heavy load, there are always opportunities to meet with my professors or graduate assistants when I needed a longer explanation or a bit of extra help. I am currently double majoring and because of that reason, I find it difficult to manage my work load sometimes, however, I am still excelling in both areas and am loving the experience. The campus is absolutely beautiful in all seasons and has a friendly and welcoming vibe to it which I thoroughly enjoy. I have always felt safe here and have met some really great friends within my program and my dormitory experiences.” -Nicole L., student at Western Michigan University
stars-4

“The accounting major program is one of the best programs at Western Michigan University. The course requirements aim to place accounting within the wider scope of the business environment. The curriculum focuses on developing critical thinking and communication skills while providing an excellent foundation for careers in government, law, and education. I have learned to both utilize and apply these skills at previous internships and now it’s helping me excel in my career. I personally loved the accounting teaching staff and how they helped me connect with future employers and provided content that was of value to both professional career and personal life finances. The size of each class was very suitable for students to have a direct connection with staff and have an actual student-teacher experience. Overall I recommend this program to anyone looking to get into the field of accounting or looking to learn more about accounting and financial practices.” -Student at Western Michigan University
stars-5

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. College Prowler: http://collegeprowler.com/search/t-traditional/sm2-accounting/st-mi/
3. Michigan Labor Market Information: http://www.milmi.org/cgi/dataanalysis/?PAGEID=94