Finding a niche in accounting

For Joe DeVries, BS’18, MSA’19, finding his niche at Kelley helped him to excel.

“In high school, I wasn’t an exceptional student. I didn’t love it. But once I started studying business at IUPUI, I found my niche in accounting—and I enjoyed it. It was something I was good at, and something I’ve become passionate about.”

And somewhere Joe could shine. Finding his passion led to a master’s degree in accounting and, ultimately, a full-time auditing internship at Ernst & Young.

“I discovered accounting after taking A100 (Basic Accounting Skills) with professor Diane Sturek. I enjoyed every class session. It was only 12 weeks, and I wished it was longer! Not only did I enjoy it, but I found I was good at it. I enjoyed reading the homework assignments, studying processes and learning how money flows through an organization. I was motivated to study and do well.”

Joe DeVries talks with Kelley alumni on IUPUI's campus.

In fact, Joe’s initial plan had been to study finance at IUPUI, but he says it’s the exactness of accounting that drew him to it instead.

“Finance is more about forecasting, and financial accounting is all about what has happened in the past. It’s very factual. I really appreciate that—and I can’t wait to make it the focus of my career.”

Shortly after declaring his accounting major, Joe pursued Kelley’s +1 program, through which he received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in accounting degree, while also earning the 150 credits needed to sit for the CPA exam.

A passion for accounting

Joe originally headed to college with an interest in math and law, and he quickly found he preferred the accounting side of law over litigation.

“Coming into college, I loved history and business law, and I also really liked math. These all come together in accounting,” he says. “Financial accounting is like clockwork. Within the mechanics of debits and credits everything balances. Even if you get something wrong, you can figure out where it happened by studying the overall picture. Everything has to work in order for it to even out. I love that about accounting.”

Close to internships and business

When deciding where to go to college, Joe says he chose the Kelley School at IUPUI because it’s close to his hometown of Lebanon, Ind. and because it’s close to major companies based in downtown Indianapolis, where he could get internships year-round.

“The proximity to accounting firms in Indianapolis is a major draw,” says Joe. “I could work downtown and take classes at night.”

Joe also stays involved in his community and church, where he plays guitar.

Joe plans to take the CPA exam, and to get the 150 credit hours needed to sit for the exam, he enrolled in Kelley’s +1 program.

The program allows him to get a prestigious Kelley Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) degree by simply adding one year to his undergraduate studies. In Joe’s case, he’ll finish his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years. Furthermore, the MSA’s advanced classes in audit, tax and ethics are specifically designed to help students pass the CPA exam.

He says the +1 program is a better option than earning a 150-credit bachelor’s degree.

Financial accounting is like clockwork. Within the mechanics of debits and credits, everything balances. Everything has to work in order for it to even out. I love that about accounting.

Joe DeVries, BS'18, MSA'19