Ohio Wesleyan Students Make Semi-Finals of National Accounting Contest

14 Teams to Create Videos for Public Vote to Reach Finals; Winners to Earn $10,000 Cash Prize
Ohio Wesleyan students (from left) Elli Creigh, Roger Skidmore, and Joshua Townsend are members of the Dream Chasers, one of 14 teams nationwide still in the running to win the 2013 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Accounting Competition. They are shown with faculty adviser Justin Breidenbach. (Photo courtesy of the Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship)

Ohio Wesleyan students (from left) Elli Creigh, Roger Skidmore, and Joshua Townsend are members of the Dream Chasers, one of 14 teams nationwide still in the running to win the 2013 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Accounting Competition. They are shown with faculty adviser Justin Breidenbach. (Photo courtesy of the Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship)

DELAWARE, Ohio – Four Ohio Wesleyan University students are trading calculators for cameras as they work to create a video that will help them advance to the finals of the 2013 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Accounting Competition.

Ohio Wesleyan’s aptly named “Dream Chasers” is one of 14 teams nationwide still in the running for a spot in the contest finals to be held in December in Washington, D.C. The Dream Chasers includes junior Steven Uhler of Brunswick, Ohio; junior Joshua Townsend of Fort Worth, Texas; senior Eleanor “Elli” Creigh of Winnetka, Ill.; and sophomore Roger Skidmore of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Uhler serves as team captain, and Justin Breidenbach, assistant professor of accounting, serves as adviser.

“This is a case-study competition in which students are assessed on their technical skills along with the ability to communicate accounting and financial issues and solutions,” said Breidenbach, MAcc, CPA, CFE, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2012. “I am always looking for opportunities to discover what areas of accounting students truly have a passion for, and this competition has served as one vehicle among many to assist in getting students to think about accounting as a profession and their future careers as accountants or related professionals.”

The Dream Chasers – the only team from Ohio to make the semi-finals – must submit its five- to six-minute contest video by Nov. 11. All videos then will be posted on the AICPA website at www.thiswaytocpa.com, with the public invited to vote for their favorites between Nov. 13 and Nov. 20.

This year’s video involves solving a case study relating to personal financial and tax planning, Breidenbach said. Each team earns 10 percent of its final score from online voting and 90 percent from the video’s content. The three teams with the highest-scoring videos will travel to Washington to present their final projects during a three-day competition. The winning team earns a cash prize of $10,000, with the second- and third-place teams earning $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.

This is the second consecutive year Ohio Wesleyan has been represented in the AICPA Accounting Competition semi-finals. In 2012, two teams were among the contest’s Top 20 finishers. Typically, 200 to 300 teams from all 50 states enter the competition. Semi-finalists are chosen based on the caliber of entry memos that outline how they would remedy issues raised in the case study.

Team captain Uhler, who also participated in the 2012 contest, said: “The best part is being able to use concepts learned in class and being able to apply them to real-life scenarios. The networking piece is also a great bonus.”

Founded in 1887, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession. It has more than 394,000 members in 128 countries. Learn more at www.aicpa.org.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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