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Steve Mudd, partner at Riney Hancock CPAs PSC, has been elected chair of the USI Accounting Circle, an advisory group for the Accounting & Professional Services Program made up of high-level accounting professionals from public accounting firms and from for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. A long-time member of the Accounting Circle, he frequently participates in the Accountants in the Classroom program and other volunteer activities. The Accounting Circle presented him with the Distinguished Accountant Award in 2014. His position as chair of the Accounting Circle also makes him a member of the Board of Advisors.

Mudd headshotLet's take a moment to get to know Steve!  

What is your connection to USI, and what makes USI special to you?
Although I am not a graduate of USI, USI is special to me because it plays a very important role in the community providing a high quality education at a very reasonable cost, not to mention being one of the top accounting schools in Indiana. My connection to USI is through the Accounting Circle. I was asked 10 years ago by one of the accounting circle members if I would be interested in joining. At the time, I was unsure what the organization was about but after some education about the group, I joined and found it to be a very worthwhile organization. I have truly enjoyed getting to know all the professors in the accounting department and the members of the Circle, but most of all, interacting with the students giving them my perspective of the accounting industry and the many career paths they can take with an accounting degree.

Tell us about your career path in accounting.
My career path has always been in public accounting. My initial plan was to get 3 years of public accounting experience and then go to the corporate side but I ended up staying in public accounting because I found that I truly enjoyed the variety of work and the opportunity to work directly with a diverse group of clients. After 32 years, I continue to enjoy public accounting. I have worked with several firms over the years but settled in with Riney Hancock CPA’s PSC 18 years ago. I am currently a partner with Riney Hancock and manage the Evansville office.

What are some challenges you see the accounting field facing in the short term and in the future?
There are many challenges in the field of accounting today but one of the main challenges is the decline in the number of accounting majors around the nation. I have talked with partners of firms in this area and in other parts of the country and they all seem to face the same challenge of finding qualified candidates. There is extensive competition in both the corporate and public accounting sectors to recruit and retain experienced accountants. This in turn causes bidding wars among the companies. Our challenge is to educate the students at the high school level of the various paths one can take with an accounting degree.

What types of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in the accounting industry?
In the accounting industry, being able to work and communicate effectively with both your peers and clients is highly valued. In addition, providing accurate timely service is highly valued and rewarded.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were in college?
I wish that I had known that public speaking would play a big part in my career. Had I known that, I would have taken part in more classes and activities that would have improved my public speaking skills.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Woodworking would be a skill that I would love to be able to pick up in an instant. I love to see people take raw wood and make it into furniture. I find it fascinating.

If you could spend a day with any professional athlete, who would you choose?
I would like to spend a day with JJ Watt, the defensive end for the Houston Texans. Not only is he a great football player, but a great human being. He gives back to his community and to people in need. He has a lot of compassion for people who are struggling. I would like to take a day and work with him on a community project.

Published May 24, 2018