Carbondale, ill. – National champion. That’s the title earned by a team of Southern Illinois University Carbondale Business School students last weekend for the first time in the Deloitte FanTAXtic case competition, which asks students to come up with solutions to real-world business challenges and address business and tax issues.
“Some of the best accounting programs in the country compete in this national competition. Our program win is a testament to the extraordinary programs and students we have at SIU’s School of Accounting,” Tim Hurley, a clinical assistant professor of accounting who serves as the team’s faculty advisor Say. “It’s great to see these students put in so much hard work and be rewarded on the national stage.”
Hundreds of students from dozens of colleges and universities across the country participated in eight regional business solutions competitions, sponsored by Deloitte Tax LLP, last weekend at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas. Two advanced to the national competition. The University of Southern California (USC) came in second, with last year’s national champion UCLA in third. The Salukis have used two of the top All-Americans to advance to the national team over the past two years, where they have also been at the University of Florida, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Tennessee and Brigham Young University.
“I’m very proud of the hard work of my teammates because this wouldn’t have been possible without 100 percent from everyone on the team,” said Lexie Lingle, a sophomore accounting major from Anna, Illinois. “We have felt endless support from our staff and fellow students, and we are delighted to bring the spotlight to our university and our accounting program. It was such a great feeling to compete with many of the top universities in the country, showcase our talents and win a national competition Bravo.”
Other Saluki FanTAXtic team members are:
- Mackenzie Squaresenior accounting and finance majors from normal,Illinois.
- Matthew Carrascojunior accounting majors come from Des Plainesillinois.
- Jada Smitha second-year accounting major from Marion, Illinois.
- Ben Morgan, freshman finance major, from Kankakee,Illinois.
Students trust the knowledge they gain through SIU courses and working with Hurley. They also said that additional experience gained through several campus organizations was critical to their success. Some cite the knowledge and insights they gained through the Saluki Student Investment Fund (SSIF). Carrazco and Morgan are members of SSIF, which manages a nearly $3.50 portfolio for the SIU Foundation. Registered student organizations consistently outperform professionally managed companies in the S&P 400 benchmark index.
Carrazco noted that some are involved with the Accountancy Institute and Beta Alpha Psi, as well as the Beta Alpha Psi Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides valuable accounting experience. Each spring, VITA project student volunteers prepare income tax returns for members of low- and moderate-income communities.
“It gave us an idea of the flow of individual tax returns and how certain calculations are combined,” Piazza said.
Simulate Real Accounting Challenges
The competition presents students with a complex, real-world tax issue in an interactive format that includes case simulations, role-plays, and presentations. Regional games are virtual, but national games are live. During both phases, Deloitte Tax LLP professionals, managers and partners provide support and guidance to students during the competition and act as clients.
The national competition is an extension of the regional competition, Hurley said, with each college group having a specific case to work on, representing a “client” who owns a business and wants to start a new, independent venture. The team must consider which financing option will provide the lowest overall tax liability and what type of business entity should be formed, among other considerations.
“Our focus and goal in the national competition is to provide the best solution to our hypothetical clients as they face new tax challenges relevant to today’s business world,” Piazza said. “We had to look at topics related to inflation leading to higher prices in supply chains, the tax consequences of start-ups accepting new investors for funding, and how operating losses affect entrepreneurs’ tax returns and investor.”
Carrazco said the client was looking for ways to finance a second business, a campground. He has a list of potential investors, but can only select one based on each investor’s requested share of the business, possible marketing opportunities, and the investor’s expertise.
“Then we have to think about which type of company the business owner should apply for based on the investment he receives, and ultimately, which option will result in the lowest tax liability for him and his company,” Carrasco said.
The Salukis considered many factors, and they said that this game will be a tough one.
“The most challenging part of the competition for our team was the time constraints to come up with solutions,” Lingle said.
The team took just two hours to prepare the initial presentation, which involved weighing and ranking investor offers, and the final presentation, which took three hours to prepare a scenario based on recommended investors and other considerations. Solutions taken to a new level.
“Despite the difficulties, our team worked well together,” Ringle said. “We each took on a piece of the task and worked to bring all our pieces together to create a presentation that was visually pleasing, knowledgeable, and accurate.”
Carrazco noted that the team worked hard and “used every second possible” to create the most professional presentation possible.
“We had to lean on each other and trust that each teammate was working hard to perfect their solution,” Piazza added. “We all fit our roles perfectly, and we knew our time was very limited, so we worked effectively. communicate.”
As first-timers, the students didn’t know what to expect. Knowing they don’t want to win, they set their goals high.
“We are very content to be with so many smart people at Deloitte University,” said Carrazco. “We know that many of the teams around us are very prestigious, but we are determined to prove that Salukis can compete with the best universities in the United States”
As the game progressed, so did their desires.
“After making the presentation and carefully answering the very challenging questions from the judges, we are sure that we did everything we could to place ourselves in the top three,” said Piazza.
Lingle agrees, noting that the Salukis “received the award with confidence and hope in our solution.”
They said that while they thought they had a good chance of finishing, it was still an excellent surprise to come out on top.
“Our reaction to the win was pure joy! To hear Southern Illinois claim the No. 1 spot will always be in my mind,” Piazza said. “When the SIU logo appears on the screen and us first, we know that all our hard work has paid off and we can sincerely celebrate our accounting students being named the best in the country. Since SIU is a smaller class in the competition One of the best schools in the world, we have lived through the stories of the underdogs and won while representing the amazing SIU community.”
Students really do take pride in their programs and the university, staff say.
“Winning this national competition is an exciting achievement for SIU students, especially because it is their First time competing.”
Students benefit in many ways
SIU team members say their FanTAXtic experience has improved their problem-solving, teamwork, and public speaking skills. It also greatly enhances their CV and is an invaluable opportunity for them to gain practical experience in the tax field in preparation for their careers after graduation.
“It really meant a lot to me,” Carrasco said, “as I was planning to pursue a career at Deloitte, hoping to work in their Chicago office, and this was an important first step on that path.” step.”
He and his teammates said they also developed meaningful connections with one another that they believe will last a lifetime.
“One of my favorite things about this game is how it brings me closer to my teammates,” Piazza said. “I will always cherish the memories I made with these incredible people who have become some of my best friends.”
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