Accounting students at The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business spent the semester putting their accounting skills to practice while also serving the local small business community. The Accounting Practicum course, taught by Dr. Gary Bridges, allows students to gain hands-on experience in the accounting industry and focuses on the importance of service learning to the community.
Since the program’s inception in 2008, students have completed 10,000 hours of community service—amounting to $1 million in services provided to small business clients.
Working in partnership with the Institute for Economic Development Small Business Development Center and new partner Accion, small businesses are partnered with accounting students who consult for those businesses throughout the semester.
“This program prepares students for the workplace, benefits the local small business community and ultimately strengthens the region’s economy,” said Bridges. “Students learn to address complex problems in a real world setting and the businesses gain a better understanding of their financial situations.”
The class has grown in size from 15 original students in 2008 to 45 students this fall. According to a recent client survey, 100% of the businesses would recommend the program to other small businesses.
“I’m glad to be able to be a part of this program,” said Judy Lopez, a senior majoring in accounting. “I know now that I want to continue to help small businesses with their financial needs. I am a strong believer of people helping other people.”
Lopez’ client, Oscar Garcia of Global Highway, a freight transportation brokerage, credits the program for helping his business survive rough economic times. “Their knowledge of accounting was so helpful for us. Judy was instrumental in improving our payroll processes and building spreadsheets. I’d recommend this for any small business,” Garcia said.
The Department of Accounting has over 600 students enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral accounting programs. The department maintains separate accreditation by AACSB International, one of only 70 programs in the nation accredited through the doctoral level.
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