We marched into our new MPAcc March Madness series on Monday with our first virtual event, our Tax Faculty Spotlight.  

Associate Professor Richard Russell, JD, CPA, first shared a bit about his own academic and professional journey. 

He first completed his BS in Business Administration – Accounting, furthered his accounting knowledge through his Master of Professional Accountancy, and then went to law school and earned his JD. As he put it, “tax is law” and this combination of degrees allowed him to study all aspects of taxation.  

Richard then broke down what makes studying taxation unique, talked about the vast professional opportunities, and tied it all into the undergraduate and graduate tax courses he teaches. 

Different professional opportunities include: 

  1. Working in a large firm (doing tax returns for clients in all sorts of industries),  
  2. Working in a mid-size/small firm that may specialize in certain tax issues (for example, small business tax), 
  3. Going the corporate route working internally within a particular company,  
  4. Working in government (for example, the Colorado Department of Internal Revenue), or 
  5. Starting your own business/practice. 

Students may commonly first look for a tax internship or associate position at a large firm to get experience, gain exposure to how certain tax details may differ across industries, and further explore if a particular industry or avenue of taxation may be of most interest. Having a good understanding of tax is of course also helpful in other accounting areas, like fraud and forensic accounting. 

At MSU Denver, we currently teach the following tax courses: 

Undergraduate Courses

  • ACC 3090 Income Tax I 
  • ACC 3100 Income Tax II 
  • ACC 3100 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) 

Course descriptions in the 2023 – 2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Graduate Courses

  • ACCM 5070 Taxation for Decision Makers 
  • ACCM 5090 Tax Research 
  • ACCM 6080 Tax Leadership and Management 
  • ACCM 6100 Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders I 
  • ACCM 6140 Small Business Taxation 

Course descriptions in the 2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Thank you Richard for sharing your story and insights with our attendees. What a great kick-off to our month-long MPAcc March Madness series!