Accounting: The Language of Business
From Wall Street to Main Street, accounting shapes and informs all aspects of life. This course introduces students to fundamental accounting concepts and processes in addition to the important roles that CPAs (certified public accountants) play with every type of organization, from the local flower shop to the multi-national pharmaceutical company.
The framework for this innovative course consists of an overview of accounting concepts and techniques, financial statements, and case studies based on current events, such as proposed changes to U.S. tax law and European Union fines on Apple Computer. The course enables students to see how CPAs protect investors, influence public policy, analyze businesses, and advise companies, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
Students will engage in interactive exercises that address fundamental accounting techniques, financial statement interpretation, tax planning, and current tax policy issues. Through a mix of class discussions and presentations by accounting professionals, business leaders, and entrepreneurs, the course will also demonstrate the infinite opportunities that accounting majors have in public accounting, for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, and academia.
During the first week, students learn about the accounting profession and explore the basics of financial and tax accounting through exercises, presentations, and cases. Week one concludes with a field trip to Chicago to visit an international accounting/consulting firm and see the breadth of CPA services.
During week two, students continue their exposure to accountancy concepts and applications and examine the role of CPAs in non-profit organizations. In addition, students will hear from additional guests who discuss trade-offs in tax policy. The week concludes with small group presentations regarding tax policy issues.
Jamie O'Brien is a "Double Domer" ('88, '93 J.D.), a Teaching Professor in the Accountancy Department at the Mendoza College of Business, a CPA, and an Attorney. O'Brien has taught business law, accounting, and tax courses for more than 25 years at Notre Dame.
Professor O'Brien advises accounting students on all aspects of the Accountancy Major, as well as the CPA examination. O'Brien began his career in public accounting, working for three years as a CPA before returning to academia to attend Notre Dame law school. As a CPA, O'Brien advised many small businesses concerning accounting, planning, tax, and transition matters. He began teaching while in law school and has continued teaching for the past 28 years. As an attorney, O'Brien utilized his accounting background to advise business clients and structure transactions to benefit all parties involved.
Currently, Professor O'Brien serves at the Assistant Chairman of the Accountancy Department at Notre Dame and works with young adults as they discern their path through the Mendoza College of Business and into the Accounting world.
MBA, Associate Teaching Professor of Accountancy
Janet O’Tousa has been teaching the introductory financial and managerial accounting courses in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame for 30 years.
She holds a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine, and worked as a research technician in an environmental science lab and in a medical genetics lab. She pursued an interest in business and taxes by working for the Internal Revenue Service as a Taxpayer Service Representative and as an Auditor.
Professor O’Tousa earned her MBA from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. She also serves as the Faculty Advisor for Beta Alpha Psi, the international accounting honorary society, facilitates an online non-degree Principles of Business course through Mendoza’s Executive Education program, and is a faculty mentor in the Taxpayer Assistance Program.