By Jamie Gesell
Adelphi, along with other colleges, has many clubs that relate to a person's major, such as PAWS web radio, debate team and the chemistry club. For those who like to work with numbers and finances Adelphi also offers the Accounting Society, which has existed on campus for approximately 60 years to bridge the gap between classes and the professional world by bringing professionals and students together in both formal and informal settings, according to their MyAULife page. They provide opportunities for their members to meet professionals from various CPA firms to establish a relationship that could lead to internships and full-time positions. The society strives to inform students about the accounting profession and to help them navigate their careers.
They are particularly known for their annual fall networking event where professionals from various accounting firms come and meet the students. It is held on a Thursday in September or early October from 6-9 pm. The reason for this timing, according to faculty co-advisor Art Leibowitz, is that it’s the height of recruiting season for firms. Each member of the executive board, including Professors Leibowitz and co-faculty advisor Grace Conway, help with coordinating the event. Before Covid, there have been over 130 professionals in attendance at these events.
According to club president Tracy McSorley, the goal is to help accounting students network with firms and build strong professional relationships with their employees. Around 70 professionals from 15 firms attend, including the “Big Four Firms” (PwC, EY, KPMG and Deloitte). Students rotate around the room visiting each firm’s table. More than half of the professionals from the visiting firms are alumni of Adelphi. Between 50 to 60 students attend the event along with faculty members, the dean of the School of Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, MaryAnne M. Hyland, and even university administration representatives such as the Provost.
In addition, the club provides a popular, informal spring volleyball event on the first Friday in May at the Center for Recreation and Sports. Students are paired with professionals from different firms to compete in a volleyball game. Then there’s a barbecue lunch in Campbell Lounge.
While volleyball and accounting wouldn’t be something that typically goes together, club vice president Carla Crump, said, “It’s actually another great opportunity for our students to network with professionals from the different CPA firms and many of our alumni in the profession.”
The club plans to hold this event again this yea—as long as it’s compliant with Covid-19 guidelines.
“I personally and other members of the club have received offers for internships by being a part of this club,” said Ashley Morales, a junior accounting major and club treasurer. “The Accounting Society provides so much information about the accounting field that you couldn’t learn from just sitting in one accounting class.”
The society also helps with student involvement in the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. Leibowitz said the program, which is sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, offers free tax assistance to low-income families. Bethpage trains volunteers on preparing the tax returns. After completing the training, students are required to take a test to qualify to provide this service and are supervised when participating in this program. For the 2022 tax season, the Accounting Society extended the invitation for involvement in this program to both accounting and business students, according to Crump.
“I am very proud of the achievements of this organization and believe it to be one of the best organizations serving its constituents on this campus,” Leibowitz said.
One of the organization’s highlights was hosting a panel in the Nexus building during the 2018 spring semester. The topic was “Women in the Accounting Profession.” Three women partner accountants from different firms attended the panel—two of whom were alumni of Adelphi’s accounting program, Leibowitz said. Each shared their experiences as women in the accounting field and how they navigated their careers to become successful. Around 50 students attended.
Another panel was hosted by the club in spring 2019 about the impact of technological changes on financial reporting. For this panel, former vice president and controller of the New York Mets, Len Labita (also an Adelphi alum), attended as a special guest panelist.
“Unfortunately, Covid prevented us from having this live in-person discussion in 2020 and 2021,” said Leibowitz. He added that the club is currently planning to hold one in person this year centered around the various career paths for accounting majors, provided that by late March the issues concerning Covid and the omicron variant will be under control.
The pandemic also forced all of the society’s meetings and events to be held virtually on Zoom during the 2020-’21 academic year. For their fall networking event, they created breakout rooms on Zoom for each firm that students would visit and rotate every 15 minutes. Despite it being online, Leibowitz said firms have praised the club’s ability to continue its events. As of fall 2021, they have resumed in-person events and meetings.
There are on average 10 to 25 members that attend the club’s weekly meetings during which two to three professionals from an accounting firm are invited to give a presentation that covers their personal experiences, perks and firm achievements. This is followed by a Q&A session. Students are also given the opportunity to speak one-on-one directly with a professional.
“Students are given the opportunity to build relationships with different accounting firms, allowing them to learn what the different firms have to offer while building connections,” Morales said.
The Adelphi Accounting Society welcomes every accounting and business major to join their club. They hold their meetings every Wednesday at 1 pm in the Hagedorn Hall of Enterprise building in room 112.
For more information, email them at Accountingsociety@adelphi.edu or visit https://myaulife.adelphi.edu/organization/accounting for further inquiries.