Maine Business School senior Lauren Duplin is an accounting major who knows the value of networking and career exploration. That’s why last semester she helped restart the student chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, which was created at the University of Maine 10 years ago.
Now, thanks to a push from Duplin, who serves as the IMA president, the group has been officially recognized by Student Government and is working hard to promote the accounting profession and the wide variety of career opportunities within the field and to help students boost their resumes and prepare for job interviews.
The group maintains relationships with the Bangor-Waterville Chapter of IMA to provide a forum for research, practice development, education and advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance.
Duplin wants to make UMaine’s chapter a valuable resource for undergraduates interested in accounting. “My biggest goal is to get as many representatives from accounting firms as possible to come to campus and discuss their careers and explain the CPA exam,” said Duplin who wants to be a CPA.
“We really need the opportunity to talk with accountants in the field because we don’t always realize the kinds of jobs that are out there. Only a small percentage of accountants end up as CPAs. Accountants also work as budget analysts, financial accountants, management accountants, and tax accountants for corporations, government, banks and credit unions.”
Across the country, 52 universities and colleges have established student chapters of the IMA. New chapters are continually being formed.
Accounting Lecturer David Barrett, adviser to the group, said UMaine’s IMA chapter plays an important role in helping students build relationships with accounting professionals.
“Having an organization to coordinate interactions and provide other professional development opportunities is huge for us here,” he said. “I am extremely proud of Lauren and the other officers who have really stepped up over the last year to reenergize the group.”
With about 35 members, the IMA at the Maine Business School has proven to be a boon to accounting students. The group arranged for accounting firm representatives to attend MBS tax and auditing classes and IMA meetings. The chapter also organized carpools to take students to open houses at accounting firms in Bangor, Portland, and Boston and arranged for representatives from those firms to visit UMaine.
“The accountants said they enjoyed coming back to campus and reconnecting with students,” said Duplin. “They said they would be proud to have more UMaine graduates working at their firms.”
IMA members are encouraged to participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program run by MBS Professor Steven Colburn and sponsored by the IRS. Volunteers prepare income tax returns for students and low income tax payers and gain valuable experience putting into practice what they have learned in their tax courses.
“All the business teachers have been wonderful. My accounting professors are so passionate about what they’re teaching that it makes it really easy to learn,” said Duplin, who has accepted a position as staff accountant at Macdonald Page & Co., LLC in South Portland.
Image Description: Lauren Duplin