Jan. 25--EVANSVILLE -- The University of Southern Indiana's Romain College of Business is adding a new component to its accounting program with help from a nearly $1 million donation from financial services company SS&C.
Representatives from both USI and SS&C gathered at the university Friday to announce the gift.
SS&C is a Connecticut-based company whose founder, Bill Stone, is an Evansville native. The company has an Evansville office which currently employs more than 100 people, "and we're in the midst of hiring many more," Stone said.
SS&C provides software and related services to more than 5,500 clients in the financial services industry. Its gift to USI is mostly in the form of software and services that will be part of a new accounting program at the university.
The program, which began in the Fall 2013 semester, is a specialization in investment accounting -- accounting that focuses on alternative investments such as private equity funds, hedge funds, commodities, precious art and infrastructure.
Mohammed Khayum, dean the Romain College of Business, said he knows of no other undergraduate programs that offer investment accounting instruction.
"We're now at the frontier," Khayum said.
The field is in its infancy, Khayum said, because alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity funds only became popular within the past 20 years or so. Because these types of investments are generally more volatile than traditional investments such as stocks and bonds, investment accounting has also grown as a way to properly value and report on these assets.
"It's new, and it's growing very rapidly," Khayum said.
To start, Khayum said, USI is offering a specialization in investment accounting -- 12 hours of classwork that accounting students can take as part of their major. Down the road, he said, the school hopes to offer an investment accounting certificate program for working accountants.
SS&C benefits from the arrangement, Stone said, because it will help prepare USI students for possible future jobs at his company. Currently, about half of SS&C's Evansville office is made up of USI graduates.
Part of SS&C's gift will also be used for symposiums and research projects focused on investment accounting.
"We believe this will really be a national and international center of excellence," Stone said of the USI program.