“It was an ideal platform for me because there was no set schedule; I could take the courses at my own pace. Now that I’m married and have a young daughter, I can’t even imagine having to take courses in a traditional classroom setting, at a specified time each week. I tell everyone I know who may be looking to get an MSA that UConn’s program is a great way to go.”
– Nick Preusch, ’07 MS in Accounting graduate, UConn
There’s another key reason the online nature of the program was so appealing to Nick. He was in law school at the same time he was earning his Masters in Accounting!
A Rock Star in the World of CPAs
Nick Preusch was recruited to be the “new face of tax” by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which is seeking to encourage greater interest in its tax section membership.
Who doesn’t love John Grisham, especially if you have a passion for taxes and the law? After reading Grisham’s legal thriller The Firm back in high school, Nick Preusch was especially intrigued by the world of tax attorneys and CPAs—an interest that never faded. In fact, Nick eventually went on to earn a Juris Doctor Degree from Case Western Reserve Law School and a Masters Degree in Accounting (MSA) from the University of Connecticut (UConn). Today, he works as Tax Manager for PBMares, LLP, a CPA firm located in Fredericksburg, VA, working with large corporations, partnerships and the wealthy to ensure proper tax compliance with the IRS and local taxing authorities. He also specializes in international, non-for-profit tax issues, and tax ethics issues.
Top 5 Under 35, Top 40 Under 40
Lawyers and CPAs may be fairly common in some circles, but with his MSA, Nick is a rarity in his field. You could even call him a rock star! In 2017, Nick was recognized as one of the Top 5 Under 35 CPAs in Virginia by the Virginia Society of Public Accountants and CPA Practice Advisor’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2018. He has also written many publications for the AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy, AICPA’s Tax Advisor, NATP’s Tax Pro Journal, and CCH’s Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure. In addition, he co-authored a textbook, Tax Preparer Penalties and Circular 230 Enforcement, published by Thomson Reuters. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his accomplishments.
Nick gives UConn and its Masters in Accounting program a great deal of credit for providing the edge he’s needed to achieve so much success at a young age. Looking back on his experience, he says he was especially impressed with the education he received. “I really wanted a better background and training in tax law. That’s exactly what I got. The UConn instructors were experts in the specific field they were teaching. To me, that was a big plus,” he says, and adds that to this day, he continues using many of the skills he learned during the program.
The perfect platform
Another big plus? The ability to take the majority of classes online. Says Nick: “It was an ideal platform for me because there was no set schedule; I could take the courses at my own pace. Now that I’m married and have a young daughter, I can’t even imagine having to take courses in a traditional classroom setting, at a specified time each week. I tell everyone I know who may be looking to get an MSA that UConn’s program is a great way to go.”
There’s another key reason the online nature of the program was so appealing to Nick. He was in law school at the same time he was earning his Masters in Accounting! “While I was at Case Western, UConn offered the flexibility to fit the courses I had selected into summer sessions,” explains Nick, who earned his MSA in August 2007. “There’s no way I could have done that if the courses weren’t available online. You can’t be in two places at once!”
Earning the remaining credits he needed, at a price he could afford
Part of his role is to travel around the country giving presentations on a wide range of subjects, from the Freedom of Information Act to tax updates. Anytime he meets young people interested in getting an MSA, he always makes a plug for UConn. “Most undergrads do not finish college with 150 credits, the amount states typically require to sit for the CPA exam. I recommend that anyone who needs additional hours should look at getting an MSA from UConn. The university allows you to create a program tailored to your interests in tax and auditing,” says Nick, who explains that the UConn program offers 17 different courses from which he was required to choose 8.
He also tells prospective students to compare the costs of the UConn program. “The tuition is less expensive than many other programs out there. That’s another big reasons I recommend the program to anyone considering getting a CPA. You’ll get the hours you need without breaking the bank, along with a fantastic education.”
But don’t online programs make it impossible to feel connected with the other students? Not at all, says Nick! “I continue to maintain connections with many of the students I met through UConn. The program took full advantage of an instant messaging service, so we were able to connect with and get to know other classmates, even though some of them were thousands of miles away. I’m still Facebook friends with many of them.”