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Donna H. Wesling of the Texas Society of CPAs Discusses Available Scholarships for Accounting Students
Interview with Donna H. Wesling, CPA, Chairman of the Texas Society of CPAs
The Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA) offers scholarships to students who are committed to becoming CPAs in the state of Texas. To learn more about the scholarships available, AccountingCareersForDummies.com spoke with Donna H. Wesling, Chairman of the Texas Society of CPAs. Ms. Wesling also has her own practice, Donna Holliday Wesling CPA, in Austin, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting from Texas A&M University.
The Texas Society of CPAs is a nonprofit professional organization with 29,000 members and 20 local chapters throughout the state. The TSCPA works to advance the CPA profession with the highest standards of ethics and practice.
The Society supports its members by providing the latest information about the profession, creating opportunities for professional collaboration and networking, and designing professional accounting tools for member use.
ACFD: Who is the audience for your scholarships?
DHW: Well, they have to be accounting majors and they’re normally fifth year or graduate level. We’re really aiming at students who’ve already made a commitment to become a CPA.
ACFD: Who is the sponsor for your scholarships?
DHW: The Society has their own foundation for scholarships called the Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs.
ACFD: What are the requirements of the scholarships?
DHW: We actually have an electronic link to the scholarship application and those are distributed to the participating universities’ accounting chairs. The universities are limited to the number of applications that can be submitted, and that allocation is based on the number of candidates from that university who sat for the CPA exam in the prior year. The deadline is September 30th every year.
There are a number of other requirements as well. The student must attend a college or university that’s participating in our AEF Foundation program, and they have to be nominated by the chairperson of the accounting department – that’s how they enter into the scholarship consideration process. Most of the universities in Texas do participate in our Foundation program so that’s not a big restraining factor.
They must also submit evidence that they actually filed for an application of intent to sit for the CPA exam with the state board of public accountancy. I think we’ve had some problems in the past where we realized that some people were getting these scholarships and they weren’t going on to become CPAs, so we want to be sure. Our scholarship support is really aimed at people who’ve made that commitment and are in their fifth year or at the graduate level and need some help finishing this thing up.
Additionally, they have to have completed at least 110 hours of college work and they must have at least 21 hours of accounting by August 31st before that September 30th deadline. They also must be full-time students, and have a GPA of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale.
ACFD: What amount do you offer?
We offer $2500. We also have 20 chapters around the state of Texas and many of them also offer scholarships. Some of these are more need-based and don’t require as many college hours. We also offer student memberships to the TSCPA for $35 a year, which gives students access to all of our resources and the opportunity to network with our members. The part of our website that is aimed specifically at students can be found at, www.tscpa.org.
ACFD: What are the overall goals of the Texas Society of CPAs?
DHW: Well, we actually just re-did our strategic plan, and our overall goals are broken down into four categories. The first one is professional competency. That includes providing continuing education, and the information we have on our website and the support we give to our members so that they can perform their jobs competently for clients and/or their employers.
The second goal is advocacy. We do a lot of stuff at the federal and state level with regard to tax policy. Obviously at the state level anything that has to do with protecting the CPA license and also promoting the profession to the public at large. So the advocacy part is that we’re advocating on behalf of our members; with policy makers, regulators, the public, standard setters, anybody that we need to speak to on behalf of the profession.
And then the third goal is operational excellence. We are committed to running our organization in an efficient and effective manner, and having all the resources and technology for both our staff and our volunteer leadership so that we can deliver excellent member services.
And finally, the fourth goal is recruitment and retention. That is, to attract and retain CPAs in the state of Texas to be members of our organization. So we reach out to students, candidates and new CPAs and CPAs who are not members. For example, I’m speaking at the CPA swearing-in ceremony in December and we offer new CPAs a year of free membership so they can kind of see what we’re all about. And of course everything else we do for our members is focused on retaining them and providing value to them in order to help them in their professional careers.
ACFD: Thank you so much!
Check out more interviews at Accounting Careers for Dummies Interview Series.