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Michelle Staebell

Lecturer: School of Business
South Hall 109
Michelle Staebell
Full Profile

Ms. Staebell brings 15 years of experience as both a public accountant and private practitioner to the accounting classes she teaches at Geneseo.

After earning an accounting degree from Nazareth College, she obtained her CPA license and went directly into public accounting, working for several regional CPA firms in the Rochester area. She received her master’s degree from SUNY College at Brockport and began her own accounting and tax preparation service, Towner Taxes, which she continues to operate while teaching at Geneseo. Staying directly involved with the tax world allows her to bring up-to-the minute knowledge into her classroom.

"This ongoing experience is so important, especially in the area of taxation," she says. "The laws are changing every day and the private practice helps keep me up to date so I can provide timely and accurate answers to questions I receive from my students."

Staebell has embraced the technological advances that have helped streamline the accounting profession over the years but retains some old-school methods in teaching tax accounting, primarily having students use paper-and-pencil methods to prepare tax returns.

"Technology has taken over so much of tax preparation these days that it’s easy to lose the basic understanding of how and why the software handles a situation the way it does," says Staebell. "A student needs to grasp why a number is what it is without total dependence on the computer."

Staebell says she hears from former students in the accounting field who thank her for pushing and guiding them and employing the paper-and-pencil method in her courses as it provided a valuable foundation for their beginning work experiences.

She strongly supports student internships as a pathway for careers in accounting. She, herself, is a prime example.

"If someone told me I would be a tax accountant after I took tax classes in college, I would have laughed," says Staebell. "But my internship changed my mind. I really began to enjoy it and have never looked back. Classroom time is valuable but practical experience helps immensely in shaping career decisions."

She says job prospects in tax accounting are especially strong for graduates willing to gain five years of experience out of college because the working population of tax accountants is aging.

"If you successfully get through that first five-year learning curve, you can pretty much write your own career path as you will always have a job opportunity."

Outside of the classroom, Staebell is an active board member of the Westide YMCA and contributor to "News 8 at Sunrise’s CPA in the Morning" segment with Mark Gruba. Staebell also has two small children, whom she and her husband raise in Rochester, N.Y.

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See Syllabus


    Professional Accounting Experience

    Public Accounting

    • Public accounting for five regional CPA firms in Rochester area

    Private Practice

    • Operates own tax accounting service with 300 clients

    Professional Interests

    • Tax research and planning
    • Auditing

    More About Michelle

    Curriculum Vitae


    • B.S., Nazareth College of Rochester

    • M.S., SUNY Brockport

    • CPA


    • New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants


    • ACCT 102: Intro to Financial Accounting

      An introduction to financial accounting theory and practice. Emphasis is given to basic financial accounting concepts; the generally accepted accounting principles associated with accounting for assets, liabilities, and ownership interests; and the analysis of financial statements.

    • ACCT 103: Intro to Managerial Accounting

      An introduction to managerial accounting theory and practice. Emphasis is given to managerial accounting concepts; cost-volume-profit relationships; job, process, and absorption costing; budgeting; standard costs and variance analysis; price level changes; and the use of managerial accounting information in decision-making.

    • ACCT 310: Intro-Federal Income Taxation

      This course will provide a broad background in federal income taxation, with emphasis on fundamental tax concepts and the types of taxpayers. Topics will include an overview of tax code provisions and regulations applicable to individuals, corporations and partnerships; tax consequences of property transactions; similarities and differences between income tax provisions and financial accounting principles; and professional standards for tax practice. The course will also introduce students to the use of technology in tax practice, and methodologies for tax research and tax planning.

    • ACCT 510: Advanced Taxation Accounting

      This course involves an in-depth study of federal income taxation as it applies to individuals, corporations, and partnerships, including complex topics related to those entities. Students will also be introduced to the following: estate and gift taxation, fiduciary accounting, tax-exempt entities, and qualified and nonqualified plans related to employee compensation. Students will have the opportunity to develop their competencies in tax research and tax planning, and in the use of technology in tax practice. Additionally, regulatory provisions and professional standards for tax practices will be considered, with a review of sanctions imposed for failure to comply.