FHSU News

FHSU students put skills to test with real-world accounting experience

HAYS, Kan. -- Students in the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting at Fort Hays State University received real-world accounting experience recently in Topeka.

Marjorie Flesher and Misty Patterson, Hays seniors, under the supervision of Cole Engel, instructor of accounting, worked with the Kansas Cavalry organization to compile financial statements to maintain their non-profit organization status.

"Until a few years ago, they had paid an accounting firm to get all the documents ready," said Engel. "President Hammond is on the board of directors, and he put the idea forward that a group of students could complete this task as a service learning project." Dr. Edward H. Hammond is the FHSU president.

Students do all of the work, and Engel reviews the results.

"Up until now, these students have been able to check their answers with an instructor or a check-figure in the back of the book," he said. "This is a great confirmation of their skills, because there is no check figure: The only answer is what they say it is."

Not only is this project a great test of the skills learned at FHSU, but, said Engel, it's fun, too.

"To us accounting people, making everything balance and getting the right numbers is exciting," he said.

It is also a great networking opportunity for the students involved.

"A lot of local businesses are involved in the Kansas Cavalry organization," said Engel. "This is a good opportunity for students to get their name out there in the business community."

According to its Web site, the Kansas Cavalry is an organization composed of volunteer business, education and economic development professionals who use their knowledge and credentials to promote Kansas as an attractive location for business.

For more information about the Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance, visit the Web site at http://www.fhsu.edu/efa. The Kansas Cavalry Web site is http://www.kansascavalry.org.