Q & A with Kara Stevens
Program Director Kara Stevens, MBA, CPA, was recipient of BusinessWest’s 2016
“40 Under Forty” Award and named an “Emerging Leader” by the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants in 2015. She brings to her teaching over a decade of accounting and auditing experience while working in public and corporate accounting. She is also passionate about financial literacy among youth, which is the focus of her current doctoral research and her volunteer work through Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, where she serves on their Board of Directors and Audit Committee. Professor Stevens is a member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. She is the past Vice Chair of the Audit Committee for the Town of Longmeadow (Massachusetts), and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Society of CPA’s. Outside of Bay Path, she enjoys running and going to the gym, and she is currently training for a half marathon. Professor Stevens lives in Longmeadow with her husband, Matt, and two children, Mary-Kate and Kiernan.
What do you love about Accounting?
The work is exciting because there are so many different industries for accountants and because accountants need not just technical ability but also an overall understanding of business, communication and analytical skills, and “soft” skills to work with a lot of different types of people. The image of a nerdy accountant sitting alone in a cubicle is old-school and does not represent accountants today!
What’s the value of a Master of Science in Accounting?
The time and effort put into the degree pays off with really good jobs in the market and the ability to move into management roles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cited a median salary of $80,000 in May 2017 for accountants in Massachusetts and projects 10% job growth from 2016 to 2026.
Why choose Bay Path for graduate work in Accounting?
- For our program’s flexibility: As a graduate student, I had the experience of doing on-campus graduate work while working full time. I hated dashing out for a night class and leaving co-workers still at work. This was especially difficult as a young professional. Bay Path’s online format gives working professionals flexibility in when they get the work done and the option of taking no classes during the traditional accounting/tax “busy season.” Our accelerated option lets non-working students complete the program in just 8 months. While other programs have more limited start dates, we offer 5 different start dates and work with students individually to find the right track for them. Students can choose the accelerated option and complete the program in just 8 months, or they can choose the 1-year or 2-year track options.
- For our program’s 3 concentrations: Our public accounting concentration aligns with the CPA exam content areas (Auditing & Attestation, Financial Accounting & Reporting, Regulation, and Business Environment & Concepts) to fill some of the gaps on the CPA exam of an undergraduate accounting degree and to enhance current understanding in some of these areas. Our private accounting concentration provides an increased skill set to new accountants or helps accountants working in corporate to advance their careers to the next level. Our forensic accounting concentration provides the technology training required for investigative “white collar crime” accounting work.
- For Bay Path’s strength in cybersecurity education: Our students benefit from University expertise in data analytics and other hot topics currently impacting the accounting industry.
- For our expert use of live and recorded chats, Google Hangout tools, and other online technology to create a strong community of students.
- For our program’s national rankings. It has been recognized by onlinemasters.com, accounting.com,thebestcolleges.org, bestvalueschools.org, and gradschoolhub.com as one of the best and most affordable online master’s in accounting degrees in the country.