UVA Students Win KPMG Audit Competition

KPMG selected a team of four students from the University of Virginia as winners of an inaugural six-week national audit case competition.

The accounting department of the University of Virginia received a cash prize of $25,000. Cash prizes of $15,000 and $10,000 were also awarded to the accounting departments from the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin for their respective teams' second and third place finishes.

"We congratulate UVA for winning the competition and we salute all of the participating students, faculty and advisors for their great attitude and their hard work," said Henry Keizer, Audit vice chair of KPMG LLP and global head of Audit, KPMG International. "It was their effort that made this event so rewarding and so successful. I hope we will see all of these schools in the competition again next year."

Roger Martin, an assistant professor of commerce and UVA student team faculty advisor, attributed his team's victory to "good chemistry."

"This has been a wonderful experience," he said. "We were all excited just to be here and to have it culminate with a win in the competition is great. You couldn't ask for more."

The University of Virginia's case recommendations were presented by fourth year student Ashley Albers of Midlothian, Virg.; third year student Jen Clifton, of Danville, Virg.; second year student John Thornton of Richmond, Virg.; and Robert Duncan of Louisville, Ky., a fifth year graduate student, who will begin working for KPMG in Louisville in the fall.

UVA team members estimated they spent 80-100 hours on the competition, which required students to unravel some of the most challenging tasks auditors face. The student teams used a Web-based application designed by KPMG International's Global Services Centre that simulated a series of interactions between a KPMG audit partner and members of the student engagement team. Partner mentor videos, audio, PowerPoint slides and simulated emails were also used to provide background information and instructions for required audit activities to ensure as close to a real world audit experience as possible.

"I now know more about FASB than I ever thought I would," said UVA's Clifton about the experience.

More than 80 students from 21 top accounting programs in the nation competed in this year's inaugural competition. A total of 20 students from five schools, including Brigham Young University, The Ohio State University and the universities of Virginia, Georgia and Wisconsin, earned a trip to the finals in New York where they made presentations and answered questions posed by a panel of judges that included scholars, audit committee members and KPMG partners. The winners were declared at a dinner and awards presentation at the Waldorf Astoria.

Each member of the five finalist teams received $2,500, while all students that participated and completed the modules received $500.

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