Accounting is a system of measurement for a business enterprise that focuses on recording business activity, providing data to make business decisions, and communicating the results to society.  This includes learning the rules and principles that guide the profession and applying them to a variety of economic situations.  Note carefully, as business is constantly evolving, the profession requires a significant amount of judgement.  As much as you may have heard otherwise, accounting is far from a black and white operation. 

The Wartburg Accounting program is designed to allow students to develop a sense of vocation within the area of accounting.  Students take courses in each of the different areas of accounting to help them see which area is most aligned with student career goals.  Students begin taking introductory accounting courses during their first semester on campus and continue each semester until graduation.  We feel this is important to help students find their area of study sooner rather than later.  Our faculty bring professional experience to the classroom to help connect classroom content to a real-life setting.

Fast Facts

1) Nearly all students graduate in four years. 

2) Over 90% of accounting majors have had an internship experience over the past five years.

3) CPA Exam Pass rates for 2015 and 2018 include an overall pass rate for Wartburg students of 60%. This compares very favorably to a national pass rate of 51.9% and a state pass rate of 57.7%.

4) Over the past three years Wartburg Accounting students have a nearly 100% job placement rate in their field of study.

5) Upper division accounting courses have average class sizes of a little over 17 which allow for individual attention for all students.

6) Accounting Scholars Program offers qualified students an opportunity to earn scholarships for summer courses needed to complete the 150 credit hours required for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license in four years.

Area of accounting dedicated to examining the financial records of an entity to determine if they are reasonably accurate and in accordance to appropriate rules and regulations.

Financial Accounting
Area of accounting dedicated to recording business transactions and preparing financial statements.

Managerial/Cost Accounting
Area of accounting dedicated to determining the cost of company products and services and making business decisions.

Tax Accounting
Area of accounting dedicated to preparing federal, state, and local tax returns.

What is the best accounting certification?
The answer depends on your career path. There are numerous certifications and paths in accounting. Each certification has its own requirements and special skills. Talk with your advisor about course recommendations for each certification. A selection of some of the most recognized certifications in accounting are below:

CPA – Certified Public Accountant
The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential is a well-known and respected designation in the accounting profession. This license is versatile as CPAs work in public accounting, taxation, auditing, government accounting, compliance, finance, and other roles.

Each testing jurisdiction in the United States requires CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college-level education. Wartburg faculty work closely with students pursuing this path to ensure eligibility upon graduation. Wartburg’s normal 4-4-1 academic schedule allows students to earn at least 126 credit hours. Careful planning, adding additional half-credit courses (2 credit hours each) each semester, and either bringing in college credit from high school or taking two summer courses allow students to earn the 150 credit hours needed for licensure without incurring additional tuition charges of a fifth year. Being able to earn a significant income after graduating in four years and avoiding tuition charges for the extra year in college can create a total savings of nearly $70,000!

More information relating to the CPA exam can be found at or

CMA – Certified Managerial Accountant
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) awards the CMA certification to those who pass the CMA exams.  The CMA credential demonstrates versatility due to its dual focus on accounting and finance. As such, credentialed professionals are qualified for a variety of roles, making them appealing to prospective employers. CMAs can work in a wide range of industries, including corporate finance or accounting firms, as well as government agencies, educational institutions, or large corporations, and can have roles such as financial analysts, accounting managers, controllers, and several other executive positions.

More information about the CMA can be found here.

Students can qualify for a scholarship provided by the IMA that covers the full cost of preparing for and taking the CMA exam. Contact your advisor for more information.

CIA – Certified Internal Auditor
As the only globally recognized internal audit certification, becoming a Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) is the optimum way to communicate knowledge, skills, and competencies to effectively carry out professional responsibilities for any internal audit, anywhere in the world

More information about the CIA can be found here.

CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst
Chartered Finance Analyst (CFA) certification demonstrates your knowledge and competence regarding principles of portfolio management, investment analysis, economics, and professional and ethical standards. Finance professionals who are (or aim to become) equity analysts, fund managers, or hedge fund managers will also find the CFA useful, as will anyone who hopes to reach the CFO or senior finance manager levels.

More information about the CFA can be found here.

CGFM – Certified Government Financial Manager
Certified Government Financial Manager® (CGFM®) is a professional certification awarded by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA), demonstrating competency in governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls, and budgeting at the federal, state, and local levels.

More information relating to the CGFM can be found here.

For students who are not able to take additional courses each semester or do not bring in college credit from high school, Wartburg also offers the Accounting Scholars Program to eligible students.  Recognizing that summer employment helps many students finance college, Wartburg College will award summer school tuition scholarships for up to four classes, the summer after the second academic year. Students must have been accepted into the Accounting Scholars Program and courses must be taken through Wartburg. Applicants for the program must meet the current requirements for a Wartburg College Presidential Scholarship including ACT composite of 23 or higher, top 25 percent high school class rank and high school GPA of at least 3.5. To remain eligible for the program, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA through Winter Term of their second year with the completion of at least 17 course credits. To apply, contact Professor Eric Sommermeyer during your first three semesters at Wartburg College.

Alumni Outcomes

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

  • Audit Senior, EY, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Financial Leadership Program Associate, United Technologies, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Senior Tax Associate, TDT CPAs and Advisors, West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Financial Analyst, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Cost Accountant, Cambrex, Charles City, Iowa

Sample Stand-out Alumni Positions:

  • Partner at BKD, LLP, West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Associate Practice Fellow at GASB, Norwalk, Connecticut
  • Controller Minnesota Wild, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Senior Project Manager, CUNA Mutual, Waverly, Iowa
  • Plant Controller, Hormel Foods, Osceola, Iowa


The Whitehouse Business Center houses the Business Administration, Accounting & Economics Department.

Students gain hands-on, real-world experience.



Eric Sommermeyer

Associate Professor of Accounting, Carl and Dorothy Hagemann Endowed Professor in Business and Economics

Amy Pilcher

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Randy Thomas

Associate Professor of Accounting