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Deloitte tax competition presents real-world tax scenarios

4 months ago
UNIBusiness Editor
Northern Iowa Accounting degree student participate at Deloitte case competition

Al Faisal Yasin (Accounting ’20, Jordan) came to understand the value of compromise during his time as leader of UNIBusiness’ team for the Deloitte Regional FanTAXtic Competition. Compromise was essential because being open to new ideas and working as a unit were the keys to success. 

“Being open to the simplest ideas and listening can take the team a long distance,” Yasin said. “During the three weeks that my team and I had to work on the case, there was a lot of back and forth. It was really easy to just ignore suggestions and stick with what one wants, but in our case compromise was key.” 

That mindset proved important. The team — Yasin, Cassidy Pearson, Jacqueline Hicks, Carson Ehrenberg and Nathan Funke — finished first place at the regional competition on Nov. 8 in Milwaukee. The win clinched a spot in the Deloitte National FanTAXtic Competition, which will take place on Jan. 17-19 in Westlake, Texas. It was the second-straight regional victory for UNIBusiness, which is an impressive accomplishment for such an esteemed contest. 

“This is the second consecutive year that a UNI Accounting team won the regional competition, quite a feat given the caliber of the competition,” said Joseph Ugrin, UNIBusiness’ Head of Accounting. “Only a very small group of the nation’s outstanding accounting programs have seen their students achieve such an accomplishment.” 

The success came as a result of hard work. The competition is designed to give students a sample of what it’s like to work with a real client. From a hypothetical case, students conduct research to answer client questions about a given situation. 

For this competition, students helped a client determine which business entity form — say, a limited liability company or a C corporation — most improved after-tax earnings. Using a resources packet and research databases provided by the competition and UNI, students worked to create a report and recommendation for the client. During the presentation in Milwaukee, the client asked a variety of questions about the students’ findings. 

“I believe the biggest benefit for the students is an opportunity to experience what it’s like to work as a group, conduct research, present the results of their research and make their recommendations on how the client should proceed,” said Cathalene Bowler, assistant professor of accounting and adviser to the group. “This experience gives the students an opportunity to see if this is something they can see themselves doing in the future. Winning, of course, makes it even more enticing.”

There’s also benefit beyond the work experience. Networking has become an essential part of this competition for students. 

“During this process I have tremendously expanded my professional network and got the opportunity to know high-achieving UNI Accounting students that I wouldn’t have got to know if it wasn’t for this competition,” Yasin said. “That was one of the reasons I joined the team.”  

The end goal for the team is to eventually win the competition and take home $2,000 in scholarships for each student. 

UNIBusiness thanks the those who donate to the Dean's Fund for Excellence. Funds raised help pay for student organization competitions, global experiences and professional credential education.



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UNIBusiness Editor

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