Teacher feature: Ms. Penny Hanes

On Friday, Sept. 10, Ms. Penny Hanes celebrated her birthday by teaching classes.

As the associate professor of business enters her 23rd year of teaching, she jokes, “I started at the age of 12.”

Hanes spent half of her high school career on the first floor of Old Main, but for higher education she studied at Gannon University, earning her bachelor’s degree and MBA in accounting.

She then worked in public accounting for three years and earned her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. She eventually returned to Mercyhurst. “When I came here, it was like coming home,” she said.

Hanes teaches Principles of Accounting and Intermediate Accounting II and III.

When asked about the future of accounting, Hanes called attention to a big change in the wind: “The United States is going to start using international standards.” She went on to explain that the U.S. currently uses a set of rules for accounting known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

This system differs from the more widely-used International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which makes comparing finances with other countries rather difficult.

The change from GAAP to IFRS is controversial, and the changeover has already been delayed several times. However, the Walker School of Business has started to teach the system to accounting majors.

Hanes would like students to know that accounting is not “as boring as they think it is.” She believes that many people think of it as black and white bookkeeping, but the field also consists of many gray areas and decision-making.

The types of accounting jobs are also diverse.

“When I graduated from college, I had six job offers,” Hanes said, “and they were all entirely different.”

She chose a job that allowed her to travel across the United States.

Now, however, she can remain stationary.

“I just love it. I drive up that driveway every day, and I just smile.”

Hanes’s greatest achievement of her career is the role she played in starting Christmas on Campus.

She helped students to organize an annual event that helps deliver holiday cheer to underprivileged children in the Erie community.