Scott Showalter brings a depth of knowledge, skills and passion about the world of accounting to his new role as director of the NC State Poole College of Management’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) program. A professor of practice in Poole College’s Department of Accounting, he was appointed MAC director in June 2018, succeeding Kathy Krawczyk, who served as director since 2004 and is now serving as interim head of the Department of Accounting at Poole College.
Showalter also is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring students, and is quick to say he doesn’t want that to change in his new administrative role. “I’m carrying a full teaching load – that’s my passion,” Showalter said.
Prior to joining NC State in 2008, he had completed 33 years in public accounting, working his way up to partner at KPMG LLP, where he served as a technical advisor and lead partner to many of KPMG’s largest and most complex public sector clients. During his time at KPMG, Showalter also had the opportunity to teach on a part-time basis. Public accounting firms have a mandatory retirement that resulted in him exiting his first career at an early age; seeking new opportunities led him to NC State.
“I wanted to go the route of doing something different,” he said. “But I also wanted to build on my strengths and what I liked about public accounting.” And what he really liked, he said, was “mentoring individuals and helping them along in their careers.”
“I could see continuing mentoring and career development in academia,” he said.
Showalter found that opportunity at Poole College, where he has primarily taught over the past 10 years within the MAC program, though he taught undergraduate and MBA courses as well.
Taylor Beauprez, a 2018 graduate of the MAC program, is one of the students who benefitted from his expertise. She took three courses with Showalter, who also served as an advisor to her as she prepared for the CPA exam.
“His strongest skills are his ability to make accounting exciting and to apply accounting to real-life situations,” she said. “He demonstrates his passion for accounting exceptionally well. He does an incredible job of instilling passion in students for a challenging, yet rewarding, profession.”
About his new role as MAC program director, Showalter said, “My role is to take a really great program and keep it going. The challenge in having a successful program is, we can’t stand still – we have to continue to change to keep ahead of the competition.”
Showalter held a number of leadership positions during his time as a public accountant. He jokes that his plan for retirement was to go into the classroom to teach, and “disappear” from administrative assignments.
“I’ve failed miserably at that,” he said with a laugh. Instead, he has led a variety of task forces, served on the MAC curriculum committee, led study abroad trips, and a number of other endeavors.
“I’ve had the opportunity and the pleasure to lead,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned is the best thing a leader does is set direction and get out of the way.”
That will be his approach with the MAC Program – letting the team already in place do what they’re best at, and empowering them to do so. At the same time, he and his team will continue to build on the strengths of the MAC program, looking at what can continue as-is, and what may need to be enhanced to meet current trends.
“His work ethic and background are a great foundation for leading the program,” said Alan Perry (’13 MAC program), now a CPA and senior financial auditor with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He took classes with Showalter and still considers him a mentor.
“Professor Showalter has always worked tirelessly at improving his lesson plans and finding ways to help students succeed – even as the needs of the profession and employers evolve and standards change.”
Under Showalter’s leadership, the MAC program recently undertook a project to map the curriculum to market needs, including obtaining industry feedback. At the same time, how NC State delivers MAC courses is changing, including offering online courses, with plans to expand online offerings in 2019.
Other areas Showalter plans to tackle include enhancing the student diversity within the MAC program, and increasing the visibility of the program.
He expects his experience in public accounting will come in handy in leveraging connections within the accounting industry, whether that be bringing those connections into the classroom, on an advisory board, or providing a network for students.
With as much as he contributes to NC State, Showalter remains active in the accounting profession.
He recently received the Association of Government Accountants International Achievement Award, which “recognizes financial management professionals whose visionary leadership, outstanding accomplishments and exceptional service have significantly advanced the profession, strengthened the Association and improved its communities.”
In addition, he was named chairman of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants for the 2018-19 year, and also chairs the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), of which he’s been a member since 2009.
It helps me keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the outside world,” he said of these professional affiliations. “It also allows me to call on those resources and deploy them within the college.”
Which just goes to show, it will always come back to the students. “It’s really rewarding to be able to work with students; they have a real eagerness to learn,” Showalter said.
“They’re grateful to have this opportunity, and they recognize what an opportunity is being provided to them,” he continued. “It’s nice to be able to help them with that journey.”
– Written for Poole College Communications by Lea Hart