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MU Reaches Semi-Finals of AICPA Competition  
Devin Clark
Staff Writer

Accounting students who were members of Manchester University’s “Team America” were one of the 20 teams of the entire nation to participate in the annual AICPA, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant, competition.

“Team America” made it to the semi-finals in the AICPA competition, which  challenges a team of four to come up the smartest accounting solution to a specific theme. In 2010 the issue dealt with sustainability and in 2011 the competition was over fraud and forensics. This year the competition wanted the students to advise a fictional presidential candidate on a platform to solve America’s financial woes and come up with the best advice for the president. 

“The first round consisted of us as a group writing a 1,000 word proposal paper,” said Garret Kautz.  “We were then selected as one of 20 finalists in the country. In the semifinals we had to take our original proposal and discuss it in more detail in a 5–6 minute movie.  After the video was submitted, the judges picked three schools to move onto the finals which are held in Washington DC.”

“Team America” was advised by Heather Twomey, associate professor of accounting and ausiness and led by Nick Barbknecht,  senior, who was also the team’s captain. Following Nick was Jared Allen, senior; Garrett Kautz, senior; and Lauren Gazdick, also senior.

Being the team’s captain, Barbknecht said that it was a lot of work for the team. The advice the students would give the president would be to propose transforming taxation in the United States by eliminating income, payroll and corporate taxes. Instead, everybody would pay a flat value-added tax on everything except food and health. The students believed that doing this would decrease federal spending by 25 percent.

There are 20 teams of four students competing to get into one of three top spots in order to compete for the grand prize of $10, 000. Manchester’s team did not qualify into the top three, but it meant a great deal to the team just to make it that far.

“We didn't get to be one of the three teams that made it into the finals, so as Ricky Bobby says in ‘Talladega Nights,’ if you're not first you're last.” Barbknecht said.

Even with the not the desired outcome the team wanted, Kautz still had a positive outlook for other students who are considering trying to become a part of the new team to compete for the $10,000 grand prize. “I think this is a great way to show the talents that Manchester students have.” Kautz said. “It is free publicity for the school’s accounting program.”

Not only will students help provide Manchester with a good reputation for its program, but Kautz also said the competition helped him gain more knowledge about  the subjects discussed during the meetings prior to the competition.

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