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UM Accountancy Programs Maintain Top 10 Standing

Conner Hall, home of the Patterson School of Accountancy
Conner Hall, home of the Patterson School of Accountancy
All three degree programs at the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy are among the top 10 in the 2016 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the journal Public Accounting Report.

The undergraduate program is ranked No. 7, the master’s program is No. 8 and the doctoral program is No. 7. The master’s and doctoral programs lead the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the SEC. Each of the three degree programs has ranked first in the SEC for three of the past four years.

The Patterson School has become a mainstay on the national scene, with its programs ranked in the top 10 nationally for six consecutive years, and among the top 20 in the nation for nine straight years. The PAR has been ranking accounting programs for 35 years.

The rankings are based on a survey of accounting professors in the United States. Other undergraduate SEC programs ranked in the top 25 are Texas A&M, at No. 5; Alabama, 8; Florida, 10; Georgia, 11; Missouri, 14; and Tennessee, 23.

Among the highly ranked master’s programs are Alabama, at No. 9; Georgia, 10; Texas A&M, 11; Florida, 13; Missouri, 15; and Tennessee, 21. The doctoral rankings include Alabama, No. 8; Texas A&M, 9; Georgia, 12; Florida, 16; and Missouri, 20.

In other results, a new ranking category was established this year, which was a ranking by region.

“In the South region, we ranked No. 1 for both undergraduate and master’s programs, and would have also ranked No. 1 for doctoral programs had they been included,” Wilder said. “The South region, which constitutes 30 percent of the approximately 1,000 PAR votes in 2016, includes 10 states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.”

Undergraduate and master’s program rankings for 2016 were also compiled based only on votes by professors who did not vote their own schools No. 1 in the survey. Ole Miss fared extremely well in these rankings, coming in at No. 3 nationally for both the undergraduate and master’s program. The top schools in these rankings are Texas and Brigham Young.

More than 1,000 schools in the United States offer accounting programs, and around 500 of those, including UM, are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business as being among the best accountancy and business programs in the world, said Dale Flesher, associate dean and holder of the Burns Chair of Accountancy. PAR voters who determine the rankings are influenced by several other factors that set the Patterson School apart.

“Many voters, some of whom may not know much about Ole Miss, know that the university houses the AICPA Library, the largest accountancy library in the world,” he said. “Also, a recent study showed that we are the only university of our size in the country that has every accounting class taught by a professor with CPA designation.

“The main criterion for the undergraduate and master’s rankings is success of graduates in public accounting. Therefore, having every class taught by a CPA makes it easier for students to identify with the needs of the profession.”

UM also has hosted a number of faculty from other schools in recent years, whether to visit the AICPA Library or to present their research to Ole Miss faculty and doctoral students, Wilder said.

“For example, these faculty come from places like the universities of Texas, Illinois, North Carolina and also from Ohio State and Duke,” he said. “Invariably, they all leave impressed with the quality of our faculty, students and program. They are also impressed with the collegiality of our faculty and the beauty of our campus.”

Wilder credits the school’s faculty, students and alumni for having a positive impact on its reputation.

“We have an outstanding faculty of top teachers and researchers that are also very much focused on serving and mentoring students,” he said. “Our faculty all work together toward our common goal of having one of the top accounting programs in the nation.

“The Patterson School is also fortunate to have outstanding students who go on to have phenomenal careers. The academic profile of our accountancy student body gets stronger every year, a fact that is certainly being recognized in the marketplace.”

Wilder also noted the importance of private support in the school’s successful equation.

“The successes we are enjoying are directly attributable to the loyalty and generosity of our alumni and friends,” he said. “Their support helps us to offer scholarships to attract outstanding students, to reward our faculty and to strengthen our program.

“We are grateful for their loyalty and willingness to give back to the school. It is absolutely a difference-maker for us and allows our successes to be built upon and perpetuated.”


Courtesy of Edwin Smith and the Ole Miss News Desk

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