ALEXANDRIA - Cleco completed its pledged giving of $100,000 to support LSUA’s Accountants for the Future initiative. LSUA Chancellor Dr. Paul Coreil and Cleco President and CEO Bill Fontenot celebrated with a ceremonial “big” check presentation.
Like many local business leaders, Fontenot supports the idea that we can educate and employ qualified accountants right here in central Louisiana. Accounting is essential to the growth and sustainability of nearly every industry. As such, LSUA has devoted significant energy to revitalizing its pathway into this crucial career.
“Cleco’s significant commitment to LSUA’s Accountants for the Future initiative will result in more qualified accountants entering the workforce,” said LSUA Chancellor Coreil. “By adding faculty and enhancing curriculum, the LSUA College of Business is committed to preparing and graduating job ready accounting students that can live and enjoy a successful career right here in central Louisiana.”
“Cleco is honored to be a part of the Accountants for the Future project to grow the accounting department at LSUA,” said Bill Fontenot, president and CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings. “This donation is an investment in the communities where we live, work, and serve, and Cleco is committed to helping leading institutions like LSUA prepare their students to meet current and future workforce needs.”
Dr. Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business, explained Cenla Accountants for the Future is a public-private initiative by seven central Louisiana firms to place more accounting graduates in the workforce. Members of the group include Cleco, RoyOMartin, Crest Industries, Virtual Partner Advantage, Red River Bank, Payne Moore Herrington, and Central Management. Other partnerships are in progress. The initiative was spearheaded by Roy O. Martin, III in 2020, who brought together other companies to address the local shortage of professional accountants and auditors. Members of the group wanted to equip more LSUA graduates with the knowledge and competencies to successfully complete the CPA exam and enter into public accounting, industry, governmental, or non-profit employment in Central Louisiana and beyond.
Accountants and auditors are listed as five-star occupations, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the profession has been under-represented locally based on the area’s population. Accountants and auditors earn an annual salary range of $44,000 - $78,000.
“The accounting profession is changing,” noted Dupont. “Employers now need graduates who are well versed in information systems and data analytics. With support from Cleco and other members of Cenla Accountants for the Future, we have been able to identify these new workforce needs and have elevated our program to meet the challenge. LSUA’s B.S. in Accounting now offers a concentration in Accounting Information Systems and Data Analytics. The program is offered on-campus and 100% online.”
For more information about Accounting at LSUA, visit explore.lsua.edu.
Written by Adam Lord with Dr. Randall Dupont
Photo credit - Nathan Parish