By Deanna C. White
On December 17, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) named four students from North Carolina State University winners of the AICPA National Accounting Competition. The case competition focused on a fictional Texas company looking to expand its business into the Nigerian oil fields. The team received a $10,000 award.
Students from Iowa State University took second place and were awarded $5,000. The third-place team from the University of Texas at Dallas won $2,500.
"This year's competition highlighted fraud and forensics, which is one of the fastest growing areas of accounting", said Greg Anton, AICPA Chairman, who announced the winners in Washington, DC. "Through hard work and research, the winning team showed great insight into the many components of a business strategy, including compliance with international and US law."
Ninety-eight student teams from around the country entered eligible submissions, with ten chosen to participate in the semifinals. Semifinal teams submitted written and video proposals on the ThisWayToCPA website so the public could vote on what they felt were the best ideas. Those results, coupled with the review of an executive judging panel, narrowed the field to three final teams, each of which gave a presentation to a panel of judges and participated in a question-and-answer session.
The North Carolina State University team believed the Nigerian company could achieve its objective of expansion, while working with management to ensure the necessary preventive, detective, and corrective controls were implemented. The team stressed that effective controls should be designed to meet three objectives: to limit fraud exposure, to align with the company's strategic goals, and to be cost effective.
"Congratulations to the students from North Carolina State University and all the participating teams for their ideas and analysis of this very challenging topic", added Anton.
Members of the North Carolina State University team, named Wolfpack in the Black, are:
- Alan Perry, team captain (2012)
- Amanda Dew (2013)
- Brian Jones (2012)
- Seanna Robey (2012)
- Eileen Taylor, faculty advisor
Perry said this was the first time the four members of his team had ever participated in a case competition, let alone one of the magnitude of the AICPA National Accounting Competition. While they found the work challenging, they also found it gratifying and ultimately "fun" – particularly the final presentation in front of the judges.
"I thought I would enjoy the writing aspect of the competition the most", Perry said. "But in the end, we all really enjoyed doing the final presentation. It was where all of our hard work came together, and we could really show everybody what we learned."
Perry said he and his fellow team members have no doubt the case competition will provide invaluable experience in their future careers as CPAs.
"We had to act as a real CPA consulting firm. We gained the real-life business experience of writing proposals and doing the research, and the communication experience required of a consulting CPA", Perry said. "We'll definitely be more confident in the future because of this experience."
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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), founded in 1887, is the world's largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 377,000 members in 128 countries. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education, and consulting; membership is also available to accounting students and CPA candidates. The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and US auditing standards for audits of private companies; nonprofit organizations; and federal, state, and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination.