Accounting Professor Dr. Ryan Cating Impacts Through Teaching and Research

In this interview, Dr. Ryan Cating, the UCA Assistant Professor of Accounting known for his love of bow ties, shares why he chose to teach accounting for his life’s work and his research on the effects of local newspapers on firms’ information environments.

Why did you choose the subject you teach?
I grew up in a family of CPAs as my father and two uncles all worked as accountants at one time or another. Being surrounded by conversation that centered on different types of businesses intrigued me and led me to the college of business. Initially not wanting to follow in my family’s footsteps, I began my academic career studying finance. However, I realized that I wanted a deeper understanding of the source material that I was employing to evaluate the performance and valuation of companies. I switched my major to accounting and have never looked back.

After earning his BS and MPAcc in Louisiana, Dr. Cating likes to celebrate LA traditions such as Mardi Gras with the UCA Accounting department.

What about your job brings you the most joy?
I get the most joy interacting with students in the classroom to get them excited about accounting and succeeding on the CPA exam as a direct result of my course as they begin their careers.

What tips or advice do you have for students?
Always seek to have an open dialogue with professors outside of class, regardless of your major (but especially in your major). The more interaction and knowledge that professors have with and about you, the more they can help you connect with potential employers both before and after graduation.

Share about your recent research and its importance.
I collaborated with Kristian D. Allee and Caleb Rawson, both from the University of Arkansas, on an article published in Review of Accounting Studies in October 2023. In our article, “No news is bad news: local news intensity and firms’ information environments,” we examine the effects of local newspapers on firms’ information environments. With newspaper employment dropping precipitously in the last few decades, we posit that these changes will harm local firms’ information environments. In this study, we ask whether the intensity of local newspapers relative to the local economy (i.e., local news intensity) influences the information available about local publicly traded firms in the capital markets.

[Added note for context: Public companies are required to disclose information to help potential investors and other outside entities analyze the health of the company and understand risks to the company’s financial performance or other issues, such as the impact of the company’s business on communities.]

Consistent with local news improving information environments, we find that volatility, spreads, and illiquidity increase as local newspaper intensity declines and that this is associated with firms’ importance in their local economy. We further find that for firms that are more important in their community, or have busy analysts, less local newspaper intensity is associated with significantly lower analyst accuracy and higher forecast dispersion. This is consistent with local newspapers improving information environments, even for sophisticated and likely remote information intermediaries. We also investigate how stakeholders respond to declines in local news and find that managers increase the amount of forward-looking disclosures while analysts increase coverage.

These results provide insights into the methods by which stakeholders attempt to improve firms’ information environments when local news coverage fades.

In Spring 2024, Dr. Cating can be found teaching undergraduate Auditing in person and online and the graduate Seminar in Case Studies in Accounting.

Dr. Cating welcomes guest speakers such as the Arkansas Legislative Audit (ALA), a group that works to prevent fraud and other crimes, to help students understand the many opportunities available and to help them network with potential employers.

Accounting Jobs (Now or after graduation)

Staff Accountant • Bell and Company (Harrison, AR)

Bell and Company is a public accounting firm with offices in North Little Rock, Conway, and Harrison. They are currently seeking a staff accountant for their Harrison location (starting soon or after graduation).

To apply: Send a resume to

Staff Accountant • Ellis, Tucker & Aldridge, LLP (Cabot, AR)

Ellis, Tucker & Aldridge is looking for a full time staff accountant for an immediate start.

To apply: Send a resume to

SO MANY more accounting internships and jobs around the country on Handshake:

Accounting Internships – Apply now!

Spring 2023 Accounting Intern • Bell and Company (Conway)

Immediate Start • Act Fast

Bell and Company is a public accounting firm. This internship is for the Conway office. There is an opportunity to see some tax, audit, and client advisory services with Bell.

To apply: Send a resume to

Summer 2023 Accounting Internship • Green Bay Packaging (Conway)

Green Bay Packaging, Fiber Resource Division, is seeking an accounting intern to provide overall support to our accounting team in the summer of 2023. The ideal candidate will have completed their junior year in accounting and be familiar with GAAP and proficient in Microsoft Office Excel and Outlook. The intern will support a wide range of accounting processes and will be allowed to sit in on operations and staff meetings to learn how our business works. The full-time (40hrs/week) summer internship would start May 22nd and end August 11th. Pay starts at $18.00 per hour.

To apply: Handshake or contact Lisa Burgener

Summer 2023 Audit Intern • EY

Apply by January 31

At EY, you?ll have the chance to build a career as unique as you are, with the global scale, support, inclusive culture and technology to become the best version of you. And we?re counting on your unique voice and perspective to help EY become even better, too. Join us and build an exceptional experience for yourself, and a better working world for all. EY offers a variety of career paths and opportunities, and with so many options, we understand it can be hard to choose. To have the best candidate experience, we encourage you to apply to no more than 2 positions within a 6-month period. To learn more about career opportunities, visit Careers at EY ( Prior to completing your application, please be diligent in reviewing the job description to ensure you meet the qualifications for the position.

To apply:

Spring & Summer 2024 Internship • Forvis (Little Rock and other locations)

As an intern at FORVIS, you will gain valuable experience that may help you decide whether you want to start your career in audit or tax, or even whether public accounting is right for you. You will work on client engagements like those assigned to our entry-level associates, gaining exposure to a variety of industries and testing out your technical know-how. You will work alongside our senior staff and management personnel, learning from their experience as you develop your skillset. Depending on local office needs, internships are available in audit, tax, or a combination of the two and can be part-time or full-time. Generally, spring semester internships run from mid-January through April 15th, and summer internships can typically run from June through mid-August.

Apply Now:

SO MANY more accounting internships and jobs around the country on Handshake:

Get Paid to Tutor Accounting!

There are two different opportunities below, both involve helping students in accounting be successful.

Principles of Accounting 1 Supplemental Instructor • Student Success

Who can apply? 15 credit hours completed

3.0+ cumulative GPA

B or higher in ACCT 2310

Responsibilities Work about 9 hours per week (optional 2 hour per week for additional tutoring)

Attend a section of ACCT 2310

Develop and host weekly supplemental instruction sessions (training provided)

Pay $11/hour
Questions Contact Drew Richardson at
To apply

Accounting Tutor • Accounting Department

Who can apply? Accounting Major

Completed ACCT 3311 with B or higher

3.0+ cumulative GPA

Responsibilities Work 10 or 20 hours per week (some remote hours possible)

Tutor Principles of Accounting 1 and 2

May also attend and tutor ACCT 3311 or ACCT 3312 (negotiable)

Pay $12/hour
To apply Contact Dr. Watson (; application link available soon.

Note: Students who work for Student Success can also hold another campus job as long as their hours do not exceed 20 per week in total.

If you are interested in these opportunities, use the contact email listed for more information.

Dr. Stephanie F. Watson, PhD, CPA

Department Chair and Associate Professor

Department of Accounting

University of Central Arkansas

201 Donaghey COB 204

Conway, AR 72035

Office 501.450.5311

COB Accounting’s Annual Fear the Strike Event Raises $1K for Ronald McDonald House

On Monday, November 7, UCA Accounting held its annual networking and fundraiser event attended by 18 UCA accounting students, 4 faculty/staff, and 16 professionals.

Teams included firm representatives and students competed in a bowling tournament, and the highest average score won a donation to the charity of their choice. The Landmark team won, so the Ronald McDonald House will receive a check for $1,000.

Other great teams of the evening included Centennial Bank, Ernst & Young, Forvis, Frost, Garland & Greenwood, HCJ, and Hogan Taylor.

The annual event is a way for accounting students to engage with professionals of the industry in a fun and relaxed setting.

Accounting Students Make an Impact through the VITA Program

Every year, hundreds of thousands of dollars are unclaimed when citizens do not file tax returns. Many do not file because they believe they can’t afford to file their taxes, but the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help qualified tax payers file their returns for free. The program, allowed by the IRS, offers free tax help to people who make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need help in preparing their own tax returns.

Macy Dillard

For students, VITA is a great opportunity to gain experience and give back to the local Conway community. Led by UCA Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips, the program is open to COB students who would like to volunteer or earn college credit in accounting. VITA volunteers receive training and can either prepare returns or do intake. Experienced CPAs then review each return.

“Taxes are stressful for many people, and by helping through the VITA program, I was able to alleviate a big part of that burden. During review meetings, I could see the gratitude and relief wash over my clients’ faces,” said accounting student Macy Dillard.

Last year, students volunteered approximately 420 hours to return more than $324,000 of taxpayer money to the community through the preparation of over 250 tax returns for low-income taxpayers in the region.

“I am so thankful for the big difference I got to make as just a student for both individuals, their families, and the local community as a whole. It is an amazing feeling to see firsthand how much you are helping someone. On top of that, I got great experience, developed my social skills, and gained volunteer hours,” Dillard added.

To receive college credit, students must register for the course that occurs in spring, complete at least 25 tax returns, complete a total of 80 hours (3 hours per week) at United Way. To find out more, contact Professor Ashley Phillips about how to register for the course in spring 2023.

If you need help preparing your tax return in early 2023, learn more about getting help from VITA in Central Arkansas.

Internship • Independent Financial Advisors, Inc. • Private Accounting

Spring 2023 • Apply Now • Little Rock

Independent Financial Advisors is a state registered advisory firm.  We do tax returns for investment clients through a related company. We are looking for a part-time intern (at least 16 hours per week from mid-January to mid-April). There is some flexibility on the days and hours, so they may be able to work around your Spring schedule. The preferred candidate has some tax experience, but that is not required. Pay will be as much as $25 per hour for a candidate with tax experience. This part time work will not lead to a full time position.

To apply: Send your resume to  Please indicate “Part Time Help” in the subject line.

Internship • AR Dept of Finance & Admin • Gov. Accounting

Government Accounting • Various AR cities

Fall 2022 • Apply by July 17

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) has developed a paid internship program that provides students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their area of interest while exploring a career in public service. This twelve-week program (09/06/2022–11/05/2022) allows interns to work up to 20 hours per week and earn $15.33/hr. Working hours are flexible to meet the needs of students. Most internships are located in Little Rock. However, opportunities are offered in other areas around the state. Applicants should pay close attention to the location of the position when applying. Applications must be received no later than July 17, 2022 for Fall consideration. Please assist us in notifying your students of these amazing opportunities. For assistance, contact Courtney Brown at or 501-324-9065.

To apply:


Job • Arkansas Electric Cooperative • Private Accounting • Apply Now

Accountant • Little Rock

Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Incorporated (AECI) is an organization with a rich history and a bright future. As a leader in the energy industry we look to our employees to help us grow, change, and provide power to over 500,000 members of our 17 electric distribution cooperatives. The Accountant provides financial information to management by researching and analyzing accounting data and preparing reports. This position presents the opportunity to work alongside peers who are versatile, enthusiastic, and continuing to strive to push AECI and our mission forward. $54,000/year

To apply

Job • Windmill Rice Company • Private Accounting

Jonesboro | Accountant

Assist the CFO in performing most of the accounting requirements of the company to provide accurate reporting to the WRC ownership and to help protect their investments and the privacy of the business. This is to be done according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). $45,000/year

To apply: