From Graphic Design to a Bachelors Degree in Accounting – Meet the Latest School of Business Instructor Danielle Deal
Danielle Deal arrived at Grace as a graphic design student, but something clicked when she took her first accounting class. Even though she had told her mom she would never pursue a School of Business major, the work came naturally to her, the lectures made sense, and she thoroughly enjoyed her professors, so she switched to a bachelors degree in accounting.
Now, Deal will join those same professors as a colleague as she returns to her alma mater as an instructor of accounting. Learn more about Deal, and what she’s been up to since graduating, in the following Q + A!
Where are you originally from, and how did you first learn about Grace College?
I am from Dekalb county, so I was not far away from Grace growing up. My parents wanted to send me to a Christian liberal arts college, and my sister had gone to Grace a few years before me. She was majoring in graphic design, and at the time, I wanted to be an art student too. So I visited campus several times, took art classes, and eventually enrolled at Grace as a declared graphic design major and a marketing minor.
How did you end up switching to a bachelors degree in accounting?
I took my first marketing class, Principles of Marketing, for my minor and really liked it. The course talked about the basics of business and discussed why we do business – to bring value to someone else. And that idea was cool to me. So I decided to flip my major and minor so that I could pursue marketing instead. The next year I had to take my first accounting course and I was pretty good at it. It was objective, it made sense, and it was even more clear than marketing was. So I switched for the last time to a bachelors degree in accounting!
I also fell in love with the School of Business. The professors were always present and involved in students’ lives. There was a culture that I was attracted to.
What has been the most formative position you’ve held as a business professional and why?
I would have to say it was being the controller at Flagship Enterprise Center, because I was not only doing staff functions, like accounting, but I was also taking up management positions and being asked to strategically contribute to the company. The role pushed me to contribute meaningful advice and be future-oriented as I got to see the whole structure of the organization and how all of the different departments worked together.
What are some of the classes you will be teaching?
I will teach Intermediate Managerial Accounting, Advanced Managerial Accounting, Intro to Tax and higher levels of Federal/State Income Tax. I will also be in charge of the VITA program on campus, which is exciting because I participated in the VITA program as a student!
What aspect of being an instructor most appeals to you?
Accounting as a topic is something I’m passionate about and enjoy talking about. As a student, I would try to get as many students as possible to switch majors to accounting. In fact, I still encourage high school students to consider a bachelors degree in accounting because I think it is a great profession. So the idea of getting paid to research my subject and teach young people about it seems too good to be true.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want to be known for being fair with students, but also trying to get them to reach their full potential. Christians have a higher standard than the rest of the world. We’re expected to perform at a high level, and if you do that, it will go well with you in the workforce. You’ll get promoted faster, and you’ll get paid more if you put the work in. But beyond that, I want to instill in students that doing excellent work is honoring to God.
How do you integrate your faith and work?
I don’t see pursuing God and professionalism as two avenues. I see it as the same. I love God by doing my best at work, and I love God by serving others well. And that is what business is all about – facilitating transactions between two parties so that they both benefit.
What do you see as the greatest need in the accounting field today?
Well, first of all, we need more accountants! But also, the profession needs accountants who are willing to work and willing to think. It’s a mentally taxing job, which is not always attractive. But we need people who are willing to ask questions and learn, people who will take initiative and try new things. I hope to develop that work ethic and inquiring mind in my students. I want to teach them how to engage with something new and be able to work through it.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise awareness for kids all around the world through the nonprofit Children of Promise, based out of Anderson, Indiana. The hike was celebrating its 30-year anniversary. We gained 19,000 feet of elevation in six days! It was one of the craziest and hardest things I’ve done, on par with studying for the CPA exam.
Do you think a bachelors degree in accounting would be a good fit for you? If you’re looking for colleges with accounting majors, read our latest accounting news and alumni stories.