NIU department rated favorably

By David Pollard

A recent survey of 360 accounting professors nationwide rates NIU’s accounting department as the sixth best in the nation.

The survey, conducted by the Public Accounting Report, a bi-weekly newsletter, asked the professors which schools they consider as the best 20 accounting schools in the nation.

Accounting Department Chairman John Smith said, “We currently have 250 students (graduates) working for Arthur Andersen & Co., as well as other accounting firms, have strong ties with NIU.”

Smith said the department’s ranking is an “indication that the (accounting) school is doing very well.”

He said he attributes this success to the quality of students in accounting and the scores earned on the Certified Public Accountant’s exam.

Smith said the accounting department has been ranked in the top 10 for three years. He said all “the pieces are coming together” because of a “well balanced program.”

The survey also asked the professors which accounting firms they would rank as the best. Arthur Andersen & Co. received top ranking by the professors as having the best overall opportunities for an undergraduate student starting a career in accounting.

Walter Bilitz, a public relations employee for Arthur Andersen & Co., said the company has been ranked first for eight straight years in all four categories outlined in the survey. The criteria used to judge the companies included service to clients, technical reputation, career opportunities and staff training.

Bilitz attributes the high marks received by the company to having a very good accounting department and having their own training school.

Lisa Gandy, editor of the accounting report, said the publication has been in existence for 11 years and covers accounting politics. The firms of Arthur Andersen & Co., Peat Marwick and Price-Waterhouse are subscribers to the publication.

She said the survey is conducted because “schools like to know where they rank and students like to know where the companies rank.”