Students test management accounting skills in annual competition


 The team of Kevin Cheng (left), Eric Harrison, Morgan Little, and Ryan Hunt from the University of Kansas won the 2015 AICPA Accounting Competition.
The team of Kevin Cheng (left), Eric Harrison, Morgan Little, and Ryan Hunt from the University of Kansas won the 2015 AICPA Accounting Competition. (Photo by Jim Coleman/Coleman Photography)

Students from the University of Kansas won first place in the 2015 AICPA Accounting Competition, earning them a $5,000 award for their school. The members of the winning team, named Let's Get Fiscal, were Morgan Little (team captain), Eric Harrison, Ryan Hunt, and Kevin Cheng (team adviser).

Students from the University of Portland in Oregon came in second, receiving $3,000 for their university, and students from The College at Brockport, State University of New York, came in third, receiving $2,000.

The competition is hosted on the AICPA's ThisWayToCPA website, which provides tools, articles, and resources to accounting students and CPA exam candidates. This year's competition, the sixth annual, challenged students to play the role of management accountants, combining their accounting and financial expertise with strategic insight to take a fictional business—Gizmo Toys—to the next level and help the company reduce costs and sell competitively.

The winning team's plan took advantage of industry trends by creating a mobile app that allowed customers to integrate their phones with the company's physical toys. This strategy increased profit margins, smoothed the company's revenue cycle, and increased the probability of successfully expanding overseas.

Fifty-seven student teams entered the competition. Fifteen semifinal teams received an additional challenge and submitted a video plan, which was reviewed by a panel of judges and voted on by the public. Then the three teams with the best proposals and highest scores each received an additional $10,000 award to be split among the team members and an expense-paid trip to the AICPA office in Durham, N.C., to present their plans to a panel of judges. The awards are funded by the AICPA Foundation.

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