UH Hilo to offer new degree in accounting

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Posted: Jun 20, 2007

HILO, Hawaii - The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has announced the establishment of the University‘s first specialized business major. The BBA/Major in Accounting was developed by the AACSB accredited College of Business and Economics (CoBE) and unanimously approved by the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents at its May meeting. The program has also been endorsed by the Hawaiʻi Association of Public Accountants (HAPA) and the Hawaiʻi Society of Certified Public Accountants (HSCPA), which represent the accounting profession in Hawaiʻi.

"We are pleased to add a BBA in accounting to the degrees offered by our College of Business and Economics," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "This is an excellent entry degree for professional level accounting and a firm foundation for graduate study in Business and related disciplines."

The new major will be launched in Fall 2008 and helps address two areas of need. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics estimates that 260 accounting and accounting-related positions will be needed annually in Hawaiʻi through the year 2014, which is far in excess of the 110 to 130 accounting majors the University of Hawaiʻi System currently graduates each year. That shortage has produced upward pressure on existing entry-level salaries, which have averaged between $45,000 and $48,600 in Honolulu, and $44,500 on a national basis.

Additionally, the BBA/Major in Accounting will address underserved regions and populations of the State, including Native Hawaiians. With UH Hilo‘s large Native Hawaiian student population, CoBE is in a superior position to recruit Native Hawaiian students, along with other underserved student populations for the new accounting major.

"When students complete this program, they will have earned a degree in one of the highest demand areas of the Business field," said Barbara Leonard, accounting professor at UH Hilo. "More importantly, this program will increase the educational capital of the State, expand the workforce in an area of critical need, and assist in expanding and diversifying the economy."

To make it easier for students to begin their four- year education at a community college, CoBE is working with institutions throughout the State to establish a degree pathway that would lead to a BBA/Major in Accounting degree.

The first agreement with Kapiʻolani Community College was completed in November 2006. Work on similar agreements with Hawaiʻi Community College (HawCC) and Maui Community College is currently in progress, to be followed by agreements with Kauai Community College and the remaining community colleges on Oʻahu.

Accounting professors within the UH System regularly discuss and coordinate Accounting curriculum with their counterparts at an annual meeting, which UH Hilo and HawCC are planning to host in 2008. Drs. Roberta Jones and Joel Peralto, accounting professors at UH Hilo and HawCC, are working to establish additional components to the degree pipeline. They include an accounting student club and a non-credit course series designed to help Accounting graduates prepare for the CPA exam, required for licensure in Hawaiʻi.

"Providing our students with an education that enables them to become contributing members to the health and prosperity of their communities is what the University should be about, " said CoBE Dean Marcia Sakai. "We are all very proud and excited to be a part of this effort."