Jim Higgins is a graduate of Ball State University, a CPA, and a CGMA. Jim is also a partner in LWG CPAs and Advisors, where he provides financial advisory services to governmental entities throughout Indiana. Jim received the Miller College of Business Award of Achievement in 2014.
More About Jim
"You continue to serve as a partner in your accounting firm, as well as a faculty member. Can you share an example or two of how you are able to share your professional experience to help students?"
My experiences throughout my career – including becoming a partner and continuing to maintain and build a book of business along with training and developing staff gives me a unique set of experiences to share with students. Especially those is the 201 and 202 classes. Many of the students in these classes are non-accounting majors. Yet, it’s necessary to find the practical side of accounting on different roles and functions within any organization. The biggest advantage is being able to explain to a non-accounting major, why cash flow matters or how a lender reads a set of financial statements. If you’re proposing an advertising campaign that increases sales – but the cost of the campaign exceeds the anticipated marginal revenues – why you may not be successful in the attempt to land the client.
Most importantly, I try to find ways to bring a real life application of the subject matter into the classroom and stress that over the course of your career that all of the business disciplines will play a role in your success.
"What are a few activities you are involved in (both inside and outside the University) to promote student growth and opportunity?"
At Ball State I serve as the Chapter Advisor to Delta Sigma Pi (the Co-education Business Fraternity). I also serve on the PWPDA Alumni Advisory Board and the MCOB Alumni Advisory Board. I have also served as a guest lecturer or panelist in other accounting and business classes and during Dialogue Days.
Outside of my role at BSU, I have interviewed students for internships and full time positions in our firm. I have also made presentations to Indianapolis area high schools regarding careers and opportunities in the profession.
"What plans are there for student mentoring (by alumni and by more advanced students)?"
Especially in the current environment in which we live and exist – the need for per to peer mentoring has never been more critical. As a department, we are planning to work with The Alumni Association and their Cardinal Connect format to establish a peer to peer mentoring program for Accounting Students at all levels of the career (undergraduate, graduate, recently hired or seasoned veterans). This platform will allow participants to set their interest and available time commitments and allow those relationships to become established at the pace desired by both the mentor and mentee. This online option stands a greater chance for success, especially with our vast alumni network that are looking for a way to share their knowledge and experiences with those just beginning their introduction to the profession.
"What were the most significant changes you observe in instruction or students now, compared to your time as a Ball State student?"
First and foremost is the advancement of technology that is available. Remember, when I was undergraduate, personal computers, the internet, email, cell phones were not in existence. Big Data was the stack of punch cars that you needed to haul to the computer lab to see if your program in “Basic” could run successfully. That success was often determined by not dropping the cards on the way to the lab.
The other item, and not that it’s a change, just much more noticeable to me now is the dedication that the faculty and staff in regard the student success.
"Anything else you’d like to share about the Executive in Residence experience?"
While it has had its moments with scheduling and work/work/life balance. It has been a rewarding experience. The ability to give back to the next generation of accounting and business students is unlike any I have ever experienced before. I am happy to have this opportunity.