The Language of Business: Accounting in a Global Society

From Wall Street to Main Street, accounting shapes and informs all aspects of life. The Summer Scholars Accounting 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. 

Academic Directors

H. Fred Mittelstaedt

H. Fred Mittelstaedt

Deloitte Foundation Professor of Accountancy, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame; BS 1979, MS 1982, Illinois State University; Ph.D. 1987, University of Illinois

Fred Mittelstaedt has been on the University of Notre Dame Department of Accountancy faculty since 1992 and has served as the department chairperson since 2007. Prior to joining Notre Dame, he held a faculty appointment at Arizona State University.

Professor Mittelstaedt has taught financial reporting courses to undergraduates, masters in accountancy students, MBAs, and Executive MBAs. While at Notre Dame, he has received the Kaneb Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Arnie Ludwig Executive MBA Outstanding Teacher Award. He is a coauthor on Financial Reporting & Analysis (7th Edition), a textbook used in graduate and undergraduate courses at numerous universities.

His research focuses on financial reporting and retirement benefit issues and has been published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, The Accounting Review, Review of Accounting Studies, and several other accounting and finance journals. He is a reviewer for numerous academic journals, and he has served on the Editorial Advisory and Review Board for The Accounting Review. In addition, he has testified on retiree health benefit issues before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Professor Mittelstaedt is a past president of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy, and he has served on AACSB and American Accounting Association (AAA) committees. He is a member of the AAA and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Prior to joining academia, he was an auditor with Price Waterhouse & Co. and received an Elijah Watt Sells Award for exceptional performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Jamie O’Brien

Jamie O’Brien

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 3 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.  Professor O'Brien 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.