We’re excited to announce the newest addition to our faculty roster, Dr. James Webb, who will teach the online section Introduction to Financial Accounting.
Professor Webb currently serves as the Executive Director, Center for Financial Reporting and Management (CFRM) at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. With 10 years of teaching experience under his belt, Professor Webb looks forward to bringing his vast accounting knowledge to your online Introduction to Financial Accounting classroom.
Professor Webb’s unique background makes him ideally suited to guide accounting students toward their professional goals. He began his career in public accounting before taking an in-house accounting role. Wanting to parlay his working knowledge to educate the next-generation of accountants, he returned to earn a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan.
What motivated you to become an accounting professor?
I was first exposed to accounting when I took a basic class my junior year in high school and it immediately clicked. I dove head-first into the subject and actually won the state high school accounting competition. I continued to pursue the profession when I was a student at the University of Texas and knew that I wanted to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). But in my final year of study, I had an opportunity to be a teaching assistant for Intermediate Accounting. In that job, I held office hours for students, led review sessions and fell in love with teaching. Although I love the opportunities that being a CPA provide—I worked five years in the industry and still do quite a bit of consulting—I knew that I was most passionate about investing in students and their education.
In my courses, we are developing competencies and skills that give students real power in the marketplace.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
First off, I love the subject matter. Accounting is super-interesting to me, and when I work on problems with students I’m really having a good time! But more than that, I love investing in students. The classroom is truly a holy place to me. In my courses, we are developing competencies and skills that give students real power in the marketplace. A good education opens up life opportunities that you’d never dream of, and that journey—with all its challenges and stresses—is awesome! I love that I get to contribute to and indirectly participate in the success of my former students.
What should students know about the accounting field?
It’s a high-demand field. Good students are presented with a number of great opportunities and the marketplace rewards highly competent, passionate accountants. Study accounting and you won’t be living in your parents’ basement when you’re 40!
Recruiters are increasingly open to nontraditional paths and candidates who have been on different journeys.
What skills are firms currently seeking?
Firms are increasingly hiring students with a blend of skills, whether that means they’re coming from a liberal-arts background, mathematics or computer science. Recruiters are increasingly open to nontraditional paths and candidates who have been on different journeys. You can leverage all of your previous experiences—just make sure you complete the necessary accounting credits to be CPA-eligible.
How much do firms value cultural fit or interpersonal skills?
Firms want people who are a cultural fit. They value social intelligence because they’re looking for someone who they can present confidently to a client and who they’d like to spend time with.
Any final recommendations for students considering an introductory accounting class?
Accounting is a quantitative profession, but it’s also a people profession. If you like numbers and people, it’s a great field to explore. Further, even if you aren’t sure about a career in accounting, the two introductory courses are extremely valuable skills to have in business and life. I can promise you that you’ll use the skills from these courses on a regular basis.
Enroll in Professor Webb’s online Introduction to Financial Accounting course.