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News from the Auburn University School of Accountancy

Fall 2017 edition

SOA Connection Dick Ingwersen, the 2016 Walter Gilbert Award Winner & SOA Advisory Council Member, played football for Auburn from 1966-69.

WINNING: Stories of SOA students & graduates triumphing in life & career. Also Inside: Outstanding Alumnus Art Guy, A&A Summit’s All-Star Speaker Line-Up, and more!

School of Accountancy

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Director’s Message

This fall, we welcome two new assistant professors and an international exchange scholar to the SOA. Dr. Joyce Cheng, joining us from the University of South Florida, specializes in accounting information systems. Dr. Mollie Mathis, joining us from Oklahoma State University, specializes

School of Accountancy

in tax. Dr. Robert Nothhelfer, visiting from Pforzheim University in Germany, will teach our graduate students about international accounting issues. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about them later in this

Table of Contents Director’s Message


The Pursuit of Happiness


2017 Outstanding Alumnus


Advisory Council


issue. Win! Win! Win! Our students continue to amaze us this year. Master of Accountancy Class of 2017 continued a decade-long streak of conquering the CPA exam prior to starting their careers.

Dear Alumni and Friends, It’s no secret that the Auburn family relishes a great win. 10-0 over Georgia (1892). 17-16 over Bama (1972). 10-9 over LSU (2004). 34-28 over Bama (2013). These storied victories are passed on through the generations with incredible pride. It is no wonder that our SOA family has such passion for winning. The SOA boasts several big wins in 2017! In February 2017, the SOA successfully completed its continuous improvement review to extend its AACSB accreditation until 2022. Notably, less than a quarter of AACSB-accredited business schools have separately-accredited accounting programs, which must undergo a rigorous peer-review process of their own. Win! In April, we welcomed over 270 professionals, faculty, and graduate students to our 2017 Accounting & Auditing Summit, focused on identifying and reporting fraud. Keynote speakers Cynthia Cooper (WorldCom) and Sherron Watkins (Enron), both TIME Persons of the Year in 2002, offered compelling insights on whistleblowing. I cannot wait for you to see the program we have in store for 2018. Win! 2

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

This spring, we graduated our largest online Master of Accountancy class, and the

Faculty News


Beta Alpha Psi


2017 Accounting Internships


Auburn Accounting Online


bursting with pride!

Campus MAcc Program


War Eagle!

Scholarships and Awards


program continues to grow. Over 60% of top performers in the introductory accounting course indicated an intent to major in accounting. Win! Win! Win! Hopefully, these teasers have you excited to read this year’s SOA Connection highlighting the winning spirit of our alumni, students, faculty and staff. I hope that it leaves you

Alumni 36

Jennifer Mueller-Phillips KPMG Professor & Director School of Accountancy

In Memoriam


The SOA Connection is a publication of Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business (HCOB) produced and distributed to alumni and friends of the School of Accountancy. Managing Editor Colby Lakas, Assistant Director, Accounting Graduate Programs Erica Oberbroeckling & Greg Swanner, MAcc Class of ‘17

Photography T2 Photography,

Amy Murphy, Director, Accounting Graduate Programs

Joe McAdory, Editor, HCOB Communications and Marketing

Layout Design McQuick Printing Co.; Auburn, AL

Allie Dyleski, Coordinator of Online Student Services

Troy Johnson, Director, HCOB Communications and Marketing

Printing McQuick Printing Co.; Auburn, AL

Contributors Andee Hodo, Assistant Director, Online Accounting Programs

Music, Ministry, Mentoring, and the

Pursuit of Happiness For most accounting majors, the post-graduation path is quite simple and involves choosing whether to pursue a career in corporate or public accounting. For a select few graduates, however, a detour satisfying a personal passion proves to be the most compelling route. Read about three young men who have put the traditional accounting career paths on hold in favor of other life interests.

John Canada moves to the beat of a different drum. Literally. After a successful internship, the 2016 Master of Accountancy graduate and Birmingham native was offered a full-time audit position at PwC in Nashville, but his passion for pursuing a career in the music industry was overwhelming. “It wasn’t until I completed my internship that the reality of the real world started to hit me,” he said. “You get up, go to work, eat lunch, work, eat dinner, go home … and then what? Would I be too tired at the end of the day to work on my musical ideas? Music is always something I’ve wanted to make a living doing, but I never thought I would or could actually do it.” But he is. Canada is lead percussionist and sings vocals for the Birmingham-based, fourman band The Brook and The Bluff. What started out as playing small-time gigs as a cover band at local bars and restaurants is blossoming into something much larger. “We have been in the studio working on our debut album, which released in August,” said Canada, who first played with The Brook and The Bluff in Auburn during the 2015 Iron Bowl weekend. “The project includes eight tracks.”

John Canada – Professional Musician

music Canada said the group’s goal is to play 52 original shows in 52 weeks in as many cities as possible. “In August, we did a two-week tour up to New York City and back, stopping in places like Athens, GA; Nashville, TN; Charlotte, NC; and Washington, D.C.” The group plans to settle permanently in Nashville by the end of 2017. Canada, who performed in college with the local band Jon Wilkris Trio, described the band’s sound as “indie rock with a good amount of soul.” “What makes The Brook and The Bluff special is emphasis on vocals,” he said. “All four members of the band sing, so each arrangement is centered around the vocals. Each of us come from a choir background, so harmony is something that comes naturally to each of us. In terms of genre, we draw a lot of inspiration from acts like Alabama Shakes, John Mayer, and The Beatles.” When Canada phoned the PwC recruiter and informed her that he was taking another path and needed a year to reassess, he had no idea how far this would go. “As the band continued to progress, I realized that we would not be defined as a success or failure in one year’s time,” he said. “Pursuits like these take time to lay a foundation and build upon. I wouldn’t ever give your dream a timeline.” Canada encourages people to pursue their dreams, even if it means leaving something secure behind. “I think the weight of the question, ‘What if?’ is so much heavier than, ‘What if I fail?’” he said. “If you try and fail at something, at least you can say you tried. Everyone wants to make a living doing what fulfills them and makes them happy. There is no faster way to learn than by diving right in and putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. You will be pleasantly surprised by everything you will learn in the process.” Fall 2017

The SOA Connection



Thomas Stallings – Controller, Lifesong for Orphans “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 Thomas Stallings felt that calling. That’s why the 2016 School of Accountancy graduate didn’t leap into the public accounting world after working as a tax intern for professional services giant RSM. Instead he’s serving in the mission fields as financial controller for Lifesong for Orphans in Zambia, Africa. Not only does Stallings serve as an accountant for the non-profit, but he works in the villages, teaching high school students basic accounting and business skills. “It is exciting to see real change in children’s lives as they learn to read or graduate from high school, as well as knowing that what we do is breaking the poverty cycle by 4

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

teaching real skills and offering hundreds of jobs,” he said. “It is taxing, though, because these are real people with real suffering. It is very sobering and sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made. You have to operate knowing that every decision you make has a direct effect on a family already living in poverty.” Stallings and his wife, Sarah Kathryn, live and serve in the Zambian village of Garneton, where hundreds of dirt or basic brick houses are practically compounded. The unemployment rate is near 80 percent and those who have jobs often support up to 15 family members. Lifesong offers children a college-preparatory education from kindergarten through 12th grade, two meals per day, Christian education, and full medical care. “The majority of the children who attend Lifesong

are either double or single orphans or have been abandoned by their parents,” Stallings, a Montgomery native, said. Lifesong provides boarding for students in grades 8-12. Also, some failing students are placed in vocational schools, where they are taught life and trade skills, including agriculture and mechanics. “I think the School of Accountancy did an excellent job of teaching the technical and personal skills I would need to be successful (in Zambia),” Stallings added. “I have been able to confidently make accounting and other financial decisions as well as change parts of the accounting process for Lifesong Zambia.” Stallings noted that a full-time offer with RSM in Birmingham still stands, even upon his return. “For that, I am very thankful,” he said.

Askari Rushing – Teach for America Teacher After struggling through the corporate & partnership taxation course his senior year, 2015 accounting graduate Askari Rushing thought he would never face anything more challenging. However, this was before he found himself in front of a class of 21 seventh graders as a replacement for a popular teacher.

I had the responsibility of knowing that my actions and words would influence children ages Pre-K through 8th grade. On top of that, I was teaching my non-native language to a group of students who were a combination of native speakers and those who had never spoken it before.”

His story began in October of 2014 when he found himself without a plan for life after graduation. “I originally thought I’d pursue law school, but realized it wasn’t for me. I lacked any kind of professional direction.” That is when Askari discovered Teach for America (TFA), an organization dedicated

While teaching was an enlightening and unforgettable experience, it showed Askari that, despite his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, he was nowhere near mastering the language. “I had enough skill to teach an intro Spanish class to elementary and middle schoolers, but I was disappointed by my own lack of fluency.”

world, and visiting their home countries. “However, the problem with dreaming is that eventually one must wake up, and when I did, I was once again lost and confused about my next life step.” While walking around Madrid that fall, Askari passed the PwC office and had an epiphany. “I realized I could mix accounting and Spanish; the two were not mutually exclusive. I could work abroad, utilizing my accounting degree and learning more about Spain.”

Askari at his campus in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the last stop in completing his MA in Spanish.

to closing the educational gap in low-income areas. “I was raised in a family where my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all involved in the education field, so it seemed to be a logical next step.” After a grueling process involving a lengthy application, two interviews, and an aptitude test, Askari was placed in his hometown of Washington, D.C. “To say it was the most challenging year of my life would be an understatement,” Askari said. He grew in his respect for teachers as he faced the heavy burden of being responsible for the development of America’s youth. “Every day


With a heavy heart, Askari decided that he needed to improve his language skills if he wanted to continue teaching Spanish. As a result, he left Teach for America and applied for a Masters in Spanish through Middlebury College in Vermont. “After passing a summer in picturesque Middlebury, I boarded a plane to Madrid in September 2016 and never looked back. Spending a year in Spain was academically and culturally enriching.” He was living out his dream - furthering his knowledge of the Spanish language and culture, meeting people from all around the

At that point, Askari knew it was time to start exploring options for MAcc programs. He actually didn’t make it very far into exploring options, as there was just one school on his mind: Auburn. “The idea of returning to the ‘Loveliest Village on the Plains,’ along with the integrated Becker CPA review course made it a rather easy decision.” Much like other times in his life, Askari is not 100% certain about the next step after obtaining his CPA. He says, “One thing I do know is that accounting has played a part in my life that I never expected, and I cannot wait to see where it will take me in the future.” Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


2017 outstanding alumnus Arthur D. Guy (“Art”) has been a fixture at two accounting firms in five cities for a total of 37 years -- including a three-year stint at the National Tax Department in Washington, D.C. Whether Art was working through mergers at Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) or Ernst & Whinney (now EY), one constant prevailed: a work ethic learned at Auburn University.

Art, in his commemorative chair, with his wife, Lynn, at the awards ceremony.

“The importance of a strong work ethic has significantly contributed to my success,” said Guy, a 1979 School of Accountancy graduate who lives in Raleigh, NC, and remains a Tax Partner in EY’s Global SEC Independence Center. “We had a couple of accounting professors who were known to be tougher graders than others,” he said. “I would seek those professors out. I wanted to be in their classes because I wanted to be pushed – and push me, they did. You have to be willing to tackle things that make you uncomfortable.” A number of Guy’s clients over the years have included Fortune 1000 companies in manufacturing, insurance, and technological industries. For his achievements, dedication to the tax profession, and passion

The Guy family at the 2013 National Championship game- Art & Lynn with children Ashley Ann and William. 6

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

Art Guy Named SOA Outstanding Alumnus for 2017

Art shared his love for the University during his acceptance speech.

for Auburn University, Guy is the School of Accountancy’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2017. “This is a source of pride and accomplishment for me,” he said, noting he was pleasantly surprised to receive the honor. “To me, it validates the things that I have strived to achieve in my career and my passion for the School of Accountancy and the Harbert College of Business. It puts a bow around my career.” It’s an accounting career that would not exist for the Florida native had he stuck with his original plan to get an engineering degree. “Halfway through my sophomore year, I realized that I didn’t want to pursue engineering,” he said. “So I changed to business, took my first accounting class and liked it. My father was a CPA and I recall him saying, ‘If you’re going to major in business, I want you to major in accounting. It will provide you with the best business background regardless of whether you choose to actually pursue a career in accounting.’” This fatherly advice paid off. After earning his masters in tax, Guy began his professional career in 1980 as a tax staff at Ernst & Whinney in Birmingham. Four years later, he was making a difference in Washington – where he witnessed history when Congress enacted the 1986 Tax Act.

Christmas tree shopping with his wife, children, and son-in-law, Chris Esser. “Seeing that process and being a part of it was fascinating to me,” he said. “I got to go to Capitol Hill and sit in on hearings. It was interesting to understand how that process worked and I was asked to participate in our firm’s communications around the 1986 Tax Act.” Guy co-authored updates to Federal Income Taxation of Corporations Filing Consolidated Returns, a taxation guide that required updating every year. “The updates involved taking the existing text, which was hundreds of pages long, and literally going through by hand and updating the text and footnotes for changes in the law, court cases, regulations, etc.,” he said. In Washington, Guy also taught training courses in the areas of consolidated returns, accounting methods, and inventory. “Tax (laws and regulations) constantly changes,” he said. “There are new court decisions, rulings, and laws. You have to stay on your toes.” Guy offered three-step advice to young professionals.

“One, you have to go above and beyond,” he said. “Never do the minimal amount. Be a ‘go getter.’ Two, you have to consult. You can’t know it all. I tell people the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked. Go ask. Don’t spin your wheels. Third, forge relationships. We’re in a relationship business.” He adds, “During your career, you will encounter difficult situations where you have a difference of opinion or you don’t agree with someone or their decision, but if you have established a good relationship, these situations will be much easier to resolve.” Guy loves tax. He loves hard work. He loves his family and he also loves the Baltimore Ravens. As for Auburn, his wife tells him, “I don’t think there is another alum who loves Auburn more than you.” Guy went on to say, “I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for Auburn. I want others, the current and future students, to have the same experiences that I had while at Auburn. I don’t think you can ever give back enough.” Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Advisory council The SOA Advisory Council represents alumni and friends who give of their time and financial resources to support the School of Accountancy in countless ways.

Amanda Foster, Partner

Ryan Inlow, Partner

PwC Atlanta, GA

Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC Albany, GA

Brad Garland, Consultant

Jordan Jones, VP, Finance & Corporate Controller

Brand, Blackwell, & Company, P.C. Huntsville, AL

Clinton Gilmore, Partner Robinson, Grimes & Company, P.C. Columbus, GA

Michelle Granberry, Partner

M. Lamar Barnett Jr. VP, U.S. Internal Audit Aflac Worldwide Headquarters Columbus, GA

Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA) Birmingham, AL

Eric Kimball, Partner KPMG LLP Atlanta, GA

Borland Benefield, P.C. Auburn, AL

Brad Kimbrough, EVP, Controller & Chief Accounting Officer

Douglas Grant, Partner

Regions Bank Birmingham, AL

Steve Barranco, Member

PwC Birmingham, AL

Warren Averett, LLC Montgomery, AL

Art Guy, Partner

Richard King Director of Charitable Giving

Jerry Brewer, Chief Financial Officer

EY Baltimore, MD

Alabama Power Company Birmingham, AL

Jason Harpe, Partner

Kurt Koons, Partner

Centennial Holding Company Atlanta, GA

Wes Brown, Director L. Paul Kassouf & Company, P.C. Birmingham, AL

Matthew Cessna, Finance Manager The Home Depot Atlanta, GA

Carr, Riggs, and Ingram LLC Birmingham, AL

Steve Harrison, Partner Deloitte, LLP Atlanta, GA

Greg Henderson, President & CEO

David Chandler, Partner Aldridge, Borden & Company, P.C. Montgomery, AL

Sara Compton, ERP Business Analyst Thompson Tractor Co. Birmingham, AL

Southeast Alabama Gas District Andalusia, AL

Greg Heston, Partner EY Atlanta, GA

Brent Hicks, Operations Risk Executive BB&T Winston Salem, NC

Lee Corte, Partner Deloitte, LLP McLean, VA

Russell Hodge Global Technical Controller

Chad Downey, Treasurer

PwC Atlanta, GA

Benjamin Leaver, Controller Robins & Morton Birmingham, AL

Harrison Lewis, Senior Manager EY Chattanooga, TN

Jonathan Mayer, Senior Manager EY Atlanta, GA

Gray McDermott, Shareholder Crow, Shields & Bailey PC Mobile, AL

Brian McNeely, Partner

Guardian Pharmacy, LLC Atlanta, GA

General Electric Company Larchmont, NY

Reagan Consulting Atlanta, GA

Brett Dudney, Senior Manager

Dick Ingwersen, Member

Janet Mertz Brantley, Managing Director

Warren Averett, LLC Atlanta, GA

Pathstone Federal Street Atlanta, GA

Dixon Hughes Goodman Birmingham, AL 8

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Fall 2017

Justin Mitchell, Senior Associate RSM US LLP

Advisory Council Member Honored by University Athletics

Birmingham, AL

Contributed By Jeff Shearer

Jerry Moore, Treasurer & Controller

Fifty years after enrolling at Auburn, Dick Ingwersen returned to Jordan-Hare Stadium for Homecoming 2016 to receive the Walter Gilbert Award.

Altec Industries Birmingham, AL

Darren Neuschwander Managing Member Green, Neuschwander & Manning, LLC Daphne, AL

Dawn Patrick, Partner Cherry Bekaert Atlanta, GA

Larry Quimby, Partner (Retired) PwC Athens, AL

Jay Robbins, Member Warren Averett, LLC Atlanta, GA

Lillian Serviss, Manager, Corporate Tax Synovus Columbus, GA

Robin Short, Principal Jackson Thornton, P.C. Dothan, AL

“It’s great. It was pretty much a surprise to me. I was just thrilled and humbled,” Ingwersen said. “I looked at the list of the past recipients, and it’s just unbelievable. I recognize that this is one of the highest honors a former Auburn athlete can receive.” The Walter Gilbert Award is given annually to former Auburn athletes who have distinguished themselves through achievements after graduation from Auburn. The award is given in memory of Auburn’s three-time All-American center Walter Gilbert, who later became vice president of Texaco’s European Oil Operations. “I could not be prouder to join the list of previous recipients, which contains some of my former teammates, friends and a list of very distinguished former athletes,” Ingwersen said. “It’s awesome to be included with awesome people I know who are on that list.”

A defensive lineman and tight end from Pascagoula, Mississippi, Ingwersen played for Coach Shug Jordan from 1966-69. He joins an all-star list of Walter Gilbert Award recipients, including Bo Jackson, Vince Dooley, Jim Voss, and Pat Sullivan. After graduating with honors from Auburn University in 1970 in Business Administration, Ingwersen earned his JD from Emory University Law School in Atlanta. An attorney, certified public accountant and personal financial specialist, Ingwersen co-founded the Atlanta-based firm Gifford, Hillegass & Ingwersen (GH&I), which merged with Warren Averett in 2013. Always true to his alma mater, Ingwersen has consistently provided internships for Auburn University students and has hired graduates from the Harbert College of Business and the School of Accountancy. Ingwersen says, “this is my favorite place to come and recruit.” Ingwersen met his wife, Terry, at Auburn. Married for 46 years, they have two sons. “She has been the light of my life ever since,” he said. “How can I thank Auburn enough for that?”

Brooke Walker, Manager Chick-fil-A, Inc. Atlanta, GA

Karen Wit Senior Director of SEC Reporting Equifax Atlanta, GA

Jeff Wright, Managing Partner Draffin & Tucker, LLP Albany, GA

Ingwersen accepts his award from Kim Davis, a 2015 Gilbert Award recipient, while his family proudly watches. Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Advisory council

undergraduate degree in 2006 and Master of Accountancy degree in 2007.

free time, Doug enjoys working out and spending time with his dog.

New Members

Emily Farrell, Senior Manager PwC

Scott Hammond, Partner PwC

We proudly welcome the following individuals to the SOA Advisory Council. Their professional experiences and devotion to Auburn will undoubtedly add value as we strive to achieve our mission of being a pre-eminent School of Accountancy.

After graduating from Auburn with her Master of Accountancy in 2008, Emily joined PwC’s Atlanta office within the Private Company Services assurance practice. She has served a variety of clients spanning the manufacturing, distribution, technology and restaurant industries. Emily is originally from Franklin, Tennessee, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Walt Farrell (Auburn Univ. MBA ’07), and their daughters, Harper & Lucy. She also received her BSBA in Accountancy from Auburn in 2007. Outside of work, Emily served as a Young Life volunteer leader at a local high school for four years and has enjoyed participating with her husband in a state-wide leadership program during 2015 and 2016 called Leadership Georgia. She served on the Auburn University Graduate School Development Council from 2012-2015.

A partner in PwC’s Assurance practice, Scott has over 20 years of experience primarily focused on clients across the healthcare industry from both sides of the desk. Scott’s experience includes time spent as a Chief Financial Officer of a for-profit health system where he led the consolidation of two existing hospitals into a new replacement hospital. As a partner, Scott has a proven track record serving large, complex companies providing health care services across the United States. Scott received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1994 and his Master of Accountancy degree (online program) from Auburn University in 2009.

Laura Quimby Hanks, Partner MDA Professional Group Laura specializes in tax planning and compliance for individuals, partnerships, LLCs, corporations, and trusts. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of CPAs.  Laura earned her BSBA in Accounting and Master of Accountancy from Auburn in 2003 and 2004, respectively.  She and her husband, Nathan, have resided in the Huntsville area since graduating from Auburn.

Will Jones, Senior Manager Jackson Thornton Will joined the firm’s Montgomery office in 2007 and specializes in tax with a focus on the utilities industry and closely held businesses. He holds professional memberships in various utility industry organizations as well as the AICPA and ASCPA.  Will is originally from Grove Hill, Alabama, and now lives in Auburn with his wife, Christie, and son, Chapman.  He graduated from Auburn with his 10

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

Doug Barfield, Manager Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith LLC Doug grew up in Atlanta, but has always had roots in Auburn. In 2014, Doug joined Himmelwright, Huguley & Boles, now BMSS, after spending four years in Atlanta with EY’s Audit practice. Specializing in the audits of manufacturing, retail distribution, municipalities, and employee benefit plans, Doug strives to provide excellent service to solve problems and meet deadlines for his clients. Doug finished his BSBA in Accountancy in 2009 and his Master of Accountancy degree in 2010, both from Auburn University. In his

Christopher Munday, Senior Manager Deloitte Christopher specializes in financial statement audits of consumer and industrial products and insurance clients. He has extensive experience dealing with technical consultations around the complex issues facing the insurance industry, including investment valuation, fair value measurements, and actuarial based liabilities and estimates. Christopher finished his BSBA in Accountancy in 2004 and his Master of Accountancy degree in 2005, both from Auburn University. He enjoys returning to Auburn for football games with his wife, Kala, and son, Carson. In his spare time, Christopher enjoys hiking with his dog Rosie, mountain biking, and photography.

Faculty News

New Faculty

Vansant Promoted to Associate Professor & GRANTED Tenure

Dr. Brian Vansant celebrates milestone after joining the School of Accountancy in 2011. Accounting. He has received various awards, including the American Accounting Association’s Management Accounting Conference Outstanding Case Award and the Auburn School of Accountancy’s Outstanding Research Award. Dr. Vansant holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Accounting) from Auburn University and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Prior to returning to graduate school and entering academia full-time, he worked as an

Dr. Brian Vansant

auditor for Ernst & Young, managed financial analysis

Associate Professor & C.G. Mills Fellow The School of Accountancy proudly announces that Dr. Brian Vansant is promoted to associate professor, effective Fall 2017. Along with this promotion comes tenure, which is a huge accomplishment! Dr. Vansant’s research investigates the effects of regulation, reporting requirements, and incentive contracts on managers’

and reporting for BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia, and most recently was Senior Vice President of a community bank in metropolitan Atlanta. Dr. Vansant has taught a variety of auditing and cost/managerial accounting courses at the undergraduate,

decisions. His work has been published in

masters, and MBA levels. Currently,

various journals, including Contemporary

Dr. Vansant teaches Auditing & Assur-

Accounting Research, Journal of Management

ance Services to undergraduates, and

Accounting Research, Issues in Accounting

Cost Analysis and Systems to MBA

Education, and Behavioral Research in


Systems Faculty Joins SOA The School of Accountancy welcomes Xu (Joyce) Cheng Fall Semester 2017 as an assistant professor. Dr. Cheng specializes in Accounting Information Systems and IT Audit, with research focused on data analytics and the use of accounting information for decision making. She currently teaches the Accounting Information Systems course. Dr. Cheng makes learning about Microsoft Excel, Access and Tableau a fun experience as our students prepare for the professional world. Dr. Cheng holds a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. While at USF, Dr. Cheng taught Accounting Information Systems and financial accounting courses. She comes to Auburn with a significant amount of professional service to the American Accounting Association. Since her move this summer, Dr. Cheng has enjoyed exploring Auburn and the surrounding area with her miniature poodle, Babe.

Tax Faculty Joins SOA The School of Accountancy welcomes Mollie E. Mathis as an assistant professor Fall Semester 2017. Dr. Mathis specializes in all areas of taxation and has research focused primarily on international taxation.

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Faculty News She currently teaches the Income Tax II course. Dr. Mathis brings tremendous energy to the classroom as she educates our students on corporation and partnership taxation. Dr. Mathis holds a BSBA in Accounting (Minor in Spanish), Master of Science in Accounting, and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. While at OSU, Dr. Mathis taught numerous classes receiving outstanding teaching evaluations, as well as numerous awards and honors. Prior to entering her graduate studies, Dr. Mathis worked for Grant Thornton’s Tulsa office. She is a CPA in the state of Oklahoma.

Dr. Mathis moved to Auburn over the summer with her family. Her husband, Josh, is a dentist in Montgomery and her son, Jack, was born in January 2017.

SOA Welcomes International Visiting Professor The School of Accountancy welcomes Dr. Robert Nothhelfer as an International Visiting Professor for a five-week residency this fall. His primary responsibility involves teaching a module on IFRS within one of the graduate courses, which will equip our

students to perform financial analysis and valuation for international firms, as well as prepare them for the IFRS portions of the CPA Exam. Professor Nothhelfer has an extensive professional background that includes service in the German Air Force, an apprenticeship at Deutsche Bank, graduation in economics at the Freiburg University, public accounting experience at BDO, and corporate roles at the Schwarz group, the company that owns and operates the second-largest retailer in the world. Since March 2014, he has been a professor of general business administration at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences in Southwest Germany.

Recent SOA Faculty Selected Publications • Inger, K., M. Meckfessel, J. Zhou, and P. Fan. (Forthcoming). “An Examination of the Impact of Tax Avoidance on the Readability of Tax Footnotes.” Journal of the American Taxation Association.


• Stefaniak, C., R. Houston, and D. Brandon. (2017). “Investigating Inspection Risk: An Analysis of PCAOB Inspections and Internal Quality Reviews.” Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory.

• Adams, M., K. Inger, and M. Meckfessel. (Forthcoming). “The Not So Pokey Hokies.” Issues in Accounting Education.

• Holt, T., L. Burke-Smalley, and C. Jones. (2017). “An Empirical Investigation of Student Career Interests in Auditing Using the Big Five Model of Personality.” Advances in Accounting Education.

• Long, J.H., L. Mertins, D. Searcy, and B. Vansant. (Forthcoming). “Tiger Energy Drinks: Fueling Earnings Management?” Issues in Accounting Education.

• Key, K., T. Lightner, and B. Luo. (2017). “The Effect of Property Taxes and Public Service Benefits on Housing Values: A County-Level Analysis.” Advances in Taxation.

• Crossler, R., J.H. Long, T. Loraas, and B. Trinkle. (In Press). “The Impact of Moral Intensity and Ethical Tone Consistency on Policy Compliance.” Journal of Information Systems.

• Long, J.H., J. Mueller-Phillips, and C. Stefaniak. (2017). “The Audit Research Summary Database: A Free Resource Connecting Practice with Academia.” Connections.

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• Linthicum C.L., A. J. McLelland, and M. Schuldt. (2017). “An Analysis of SEC Comment Letters and IFRS.” Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting. • Taylor, T. DeZoort, T. and T. Holt. (2016). “Rethinking CPA Independence Using a Reliability Framework.” The RMA Journal. • Jones, J. (2016). “The State of FASB’s Simplification Initiative: Toward a Simpler GAAP.” CPA Journal. • Long, J. H. and K. A. Basoglu. (2016). “The Impact of Task Interruption on Tax Accountants’ Professional Judgment.” Accounting, Organizations and Society. • Long, J. H., J. Mueller-Phillips, and C. Stefaniak. (2016). “New Database Provides Free Access to Audit Research.” The Journal of Accountancy.

Harbert College of Business 2017 Best All-Around Faculty Member

School of Accountancy 2017 Outstanding Teacher Dr. Kerry Inger

School of Accountancy 2017 Outstanding Researcher Dr. James H. Long

Assistant Professor

Associate Professor

SOA Outstanding Travelers:

Dr. James H. Long

Associate Professor & Harbert College Advisory Council Professor

• Stanwick, S. and P. Stanwick. (2016). “Amazon Gold: The Curse of El Dorado.” International Review of Management and Business Research. • Vansant, B. (2016). “Institutional Pressures to Provide Social Benefits and the Earnings Management Behavior of Nonprofits: Evidence from the US Hospital Industry.” Contemporary Accounting Research.

National Faculty Recognition • Kerry Inger and co-authors were awarded the ATA/Deloitte Teaching Innovation Award for “The Not So Pokey Hokies,” forthcoming in Issues in Accounting Education. • Kerry Inger and coauthors were awarded the Lybrand Awards Competition Certificate of Merit for their paper “Will Intangibles Trip You Up?” published in Strategic Finance (2015).

Dr. Long spent the spring semester in Budapest, Hungary, as a Fulbright Scholar, and Dr. Inger and her husband were able to visit him at the end of his time there.

• Kim Key was awarded the American Taxation Association’s Marty Escoffier Hospitality Award for outstanding service. Kim has served the organization in various leadership roles, including vice president and president-elect (current). • James H. Long, Tina Loraas, and coauthors were awarded this year’s Journal of Information Systems Best Paper Award for “Understanding Compliance with Bring Your Own Device Policies Utilizing Protection Motivation Theory: Bridging the Intention-Behavior Gap.” • James H. Long, Brian Vansant, and coauthors were awarded the American Accounting Association Management Accounting Outstanding Case Award for “Tiger Energy Drinks: Fueling Earnings Management?”

• Tina Loraas was awarded the American Accounting Association AIS Outstanding Service Award for her service as the organization’s president. • Andy McLelland was awarded the American Accounting Association GNP Distinguished Service Award for his service as the organization’s president. • Sarah Stanwick received the International Academic Business Conference Best Paper Award for “Questioning the Operations and Ethics in the Bangladesh Garment Industry.” • Jonathan Stanley was recognized by the American Accounting Association’s Auditing Section for exemplary service for his role as a chair of the organization’s 2016 conference planning committee.

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Faculty News

Murphy Named the ASCPA’s 2017 Outstanding Accounting Educator Amy B. Murphy, Director of Accounting Graduate and Online Programs, was recently named the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA) 2017 Outstanding Accounting Educator. The ASCPA is the statewide, professional membership organization representing over 6,500 Alabama CPAs in public practice, industry, government and education. The recipient of the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award is recognized for excellence in teaching and active involvement in the accounting profession.

According to Murphy, “it is truly an honor to be recognized for the love and passion I have for Auburn’s accounting programs and our great profession. Being a part of Auburn University and the accounting profession was made possible by Dr. Gary Waters and Dr. Wayne Alderman. In 1986, Dr. Waters encouraged me to major in accounting, and Dr. Alderman offered me the opportunity to return to Auburn in 1994 to serve as the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) Program Director and teach accounting.” “Although I don’t have biological children of my own, I have been blessed to teach and mentor many wonderful accounting students who are truly my heart and soul.” In addition to serving as Director of Accounting Graduate and Online Programs, Murphy teaches ACCT 2110 Principles of Financial Accounting, ACCT 3110 Intermediate Accounting I, and ACCT 3810 Professional Development in Accounting while also serving as Faculty Advisor to the Financial Leadership Society, a student organization for freshmen, sophomores and first-semester juniors in accounting.

Two weeks to the day after being notified about the 2017 Outstanding Accounting Educator Award, Murphy received an email from a 1996 MAcc alumnus who shared a recent connection with a 2014 graduate. Once the two alumni made the Auburn connection, they began sharing memories about their involvement with Murphy while enrolled at Auburn. The 1996 graduate ended his email by saying, “Thank you for all you have done for so many, because I am sure there are other Clays and Matts out there. There is no telling how many lives you have impacted through your stewardship.  I know you hold a special place for Matt – he said as much – and be assured you hold a special place with me too.” When Murphy read this email on the heels of finding out about her award, she knew this was further confirmation that she’s in the right profession and had been blessed to have many wonderful kids -- her Auburn kids. In late 2015 and early 2016, Murphy was honored by faculty, alumni and friends by the establishment of the Amy B. Murphy Endowed Distinguished Professorship. In April 2017, she was named the Beta Alpha Psi 2017 Outstanding Teacher.

Amy Murphy, center, holds her award surrounded by her “fan club” that was present for the ceremony on June 8th in Montgomery. From left: Bill Barranco, Andee Hodo, Colby Lakas, Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, Kerry Inger, Allie Dyleski, and Norman Godwin proudly supported Amy as she addressed ASCPA members.


The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

School of Accountancy 2017 Distinguished Service Award Lisa Miller & Jennifer Cornett Lecturers

ACCT 2110 Principles of Financial Accounting Lecturers were recognized by Director Jennifer Mueller-Phillips for their work on the “Accounting Bootcamp” project, which promoted readiness for students enrolled in ACCT 3110 Intermediate Accounting I. This program was successfully implemented in Fall 2016, and with a refresher on basic accounting principles covered in the introductory courses, has helped over 350 students become more prepared to succeed in rigorous upper-level coursework.

Senior Faculty Member Returns to Lowder Hall The School of Accountancy is thrilled to welcome Dr. Wayne Alderman back into the classroom after a number of years in University administration. Dr. Alderman most recently served as Dean of Enrollment Services (2006-2017), but was also the Dean of the College of Business (19932000) in the midst of his nearly 40 year tenure at Auburn. He will begin with teaching Auditing & Assurance Services and will bring the students an interesting perspective due to his service on the Board of Directors for a publicly traded company.

Harbert College of Business 2017 Outstanding Professional Andee Hodo

Assistant Director of Online Programs Andee Hodo, Assistant Director of Online Accounting Programs, received the 2017 Harbert College of Business Outstanding Professional Award. This award recognizes the professional or non-tenure track faculty who has made the most significant contribution to the college’s mission. Since joining the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business in 2015, Andee has demonstrated strong leadership by implementing the use of technology to improve processes and create efficiencies not only for the School of Accountancy, but also for the entire College. Her accomplishments using Salesforce earned the School of Accountancy a nomination by Salesforce. org for the first annual Overall Excellence in Operational Efficiency Summit Award. Through her work, the Harbert College of Business and the School of Accountancy have received national recognition, and she continues to lead the way in innovation and creativity.

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Beta Alpha Psi

Sponsors Abbott, Livings, Smith and Higgins, P.C. Aflac, Inc. Aldridge, Borden & Company, P.C. Anglin Reichmann Snellgrove & Armstrong P.C. Aprio Barfield, Murphy, Shank, & Smith, LLC BDO USA, LLP Becker CPA Review Bennett Thrasher, LLP Borland Benefield, P.C. Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, LLC Chick-fil-A, Inc. CohnReznick, LLC Deloitte, LLP Dent Moses, LLP DiPiazza LaRocca Heeter & Co.* Dougherty, McKinnon & Luby, LLC Draffin & Tucker, LLP Ernst & Young, LLP Frazier & Deeter, LLC Grant Thornton LLP Hall, Albright, Garrison & Barnes, P.C. Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore, P.C. HLB Gross Collins, P.C. Jackson Thornton, P.C. Kassouf & Co., P.C. Koch Industries

The Epsilon Omicron chapter of Beta Alpha Psi is comprised of wonderful members and candidates, but would not be successful without the support of our group of employer sponsors. Above, find a listing of these firms and companies who allow our students to have access to so many internship and full-time opportunities. Thank you!

16 The SOA Connection Fall 2017

Our chapter was once again reco and beyond the standard require meaningful events this year, inclu

KPMG LLP LBMC Machen McChesney Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC Moore Colson Moore Stephens Tiller LLC Myers and Stauffer LC* Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore, P.C. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Robert Half Robinson, Grimes & Company, P.C. Rödl & Partner Roger CPA Review RSM US, LLP Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund* Smith, Dukes & Buckalew LLP Smith & Howard, P.C. Southwire Company, LLC Surgical Care Affiliates Taylor CPA & Associates, PC* The Siegfried Group* Tidwell Group Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Warren Averett, LLC Wilkins Miller, LLC Windham Brannon, P.C. *Indicates new BAP sponsor since the last SOA Connection issue.

Meet the Firms was hosted at the Hotel at Auburn University’s Dixon Conference Center and saw nearly 500 attendees in both fall and spring.

ognized by the national Beta Alpha Psi office as being “Superior,” as our students go above ements set forth. Our membership of 150 students in 2016-17 participated in a number of uding Meet the Firms and the Financial Accounting Stars Banquet (FASB).

2017 BAP Officers (from left): Allie LeJeune, Sarah Patrick, Chris Dillon, Lauren Burks, Jake Callahan, Flannery Wynn, & Anna Wright BAP Members do a panel discussion for younger Harbert students to shed light on why they love accounting. The recruiting efforts of the Financial Accounting Stars Banquet resulted in 60% of attendees deciding to declare accounting as their major.

BAP members & candidates participated in Relay for Life on Auburn’s campus as one of their many service projects..

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Beta Alpha Psi

2017 Beta Alpha Psi Awards Outstanding Officer

Outstanding Teacher

Dorothy Dickmann

Amy Murphy

Dorothy Dickmann, the 2016 VP of Service, accepts her award, a framed print of Lowder Hall, from BAP Faculty Advisor Colby Lakas.

Amy Murphy stands to accept her award during the spring ceremony. She teaches ACCT 3110 Intermediate Accounting I, ACCT 3810 Professional Development in Accountancy, and ACCT 2110 Principles of Financial Accounting to Harbert College students.

Amy B. Murphy Service Award Recipients Abigail Hampton, Bleu Stone, Paige Lee, Stacey Brooks, & Callie Yuan

Recipients were recognized as a result of their service contributions in excess of the requirements for members and candidates. 18

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

The $5,000 “Granny Shot” BAP Member Scores Big Money in Contest

‘You’re crazy, but that would be hilarious,’”

When preparation meets opportunity, you ace that all-important exam. When preparation meets opportunity, you nail the big internship interview. And sometimes, when preparation meets opportunity, you sink a granny-style shot from half-court in front of 8,000 fans to win $5,000 in free tuition.

shot for years. “I once made five in a row,” he

Bode said. What his friends didn’t know is that Ben’s been doing the granny half-court admitted. It’s safe to say that Bode came prepared. But there’s more to Bode’s education and work habits at Auburn than going down in history as a half-court legend. “I study and I prepare until I get to the point where I say

That’s what happened for Ben Bode, a senior in the School of Accountancy and Beta Alpha Psi member, whose legendary halftime stunt at Auburn Arena on Feb. 25 not only put him on ESPN, but was arguably the most talked about shot at the Arena all season. Bode spent that Saturday morning at the student recreation center practicing for his chance at free tuition in front of a sold-out crowd. The Tigers were playing Arkansas that evening, but Bode wasn’t as concerned about the SEC showdown nearly as much as making himself ready for his shining moment. To win, the chosen student (in this case, Bode) must make a layup, free throw, 3-point shot, and half-court shot in 30 seconds. “That morning I practiced the half-court granny shot less than the others,” said Bode, who played high school basketball at Eastwood Christian in Montgomery. “I practiced the others more to give myself a chance to get to the half-court ultimate prize.”

‘I can’t prepare any more. I feel like I put my absolute best effort into this test or project, and whatever the outcome is … I’m going to be happy with it because I know that I gave it my all.’ I never feel comfortable going into a test when there are things that I don’t know. I Ben’s 30 second feat caught the attention of Auburn head football coach, Gus Malzahn.

like to feel like I am fully prepared.” “Good grades lead to Beta Alpha Psi membership, which leads to internships, which leads to a full-time job. Whenever I have an interview, I always go through tons of prep questions and make sure I’m ready to talk about anything on my resume, or any smalltalk conversation points. The worst thing that

Sports Illustrated conducted a Skype interview with Ben to get the play-by-play of his strategy for the contest.

you can do is have no answer.”

Bode told friends that if he made it past the three-point line and to the half-court shot, he’d toss it granny-style. “People were saying

options with an accounting degree. He isn’t

Bode said that while he plans to pursue public accounting, he knows he has endless quite ready to hang his hat on a basketball career.

Ben called upon his little-known granny-style talent to sink the final shot and secure the $5,000 prize. Fall 2015 The SOA Connection 19

2017 Accounting internships

Aflac Columbus Jack Tighe had a celebrity encounter with the Aflac duck during his summer internship in Columbus, GA.

Chick-fil-A, Inc. Atlanta

EY Atlanta Birmingham Boston Charlotte Cincinnati Dallas Nashville Santoria Dunlap traveled to Charlotte, NC, for her EY Launch internship training.

Aldridge Borden & Company Montgomery Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith LLC Auburn Birmingham BDO Atlanta Bennett Thrasher Atlanta Borland Benefield, P.C. Auburn

Bailey Griffin (top) and Callie Yuan (bottom) saw a herd of cattle come through the Chick-fil-A corporate offices on Cow Appreciation Day. 20

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

Carr, Riggs & Ingram Montgomery CohnReznick Atlanta

Delta Air Lines Atlanta Morgan McDaniel, an intern at Delta Airlines, had an opportunity to meet CEO (and CPA) Ed Bastian after the 2nd quarter earnings release town hall meeting.

Turner Broadcasting Atlanta Erin Johnson, a summer intern for Turner, looks the part of an HLN anchor.

Dent Moses Birmingham

Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore Fairhope

Dixon Hughes Goodman Greenville

Haynes & Downard Birmingham

Dougherty McKinnon & Luby Columbus Florida Blue Jacksonville Frazier & Deeter Atlanta Nashville Grant Thornton Atlanta

Jackson Thornton Montgomery Kassouf & Co. Birmingham Koch Industries Atlanta KPMG Atlanta Birmingham Houston San Francisco

Deloitte Atlanta Boston Zach Blomeley (left) and Kyle Darmody (right) take center stage with other interns at Deloitte University’s karaoke night.

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


2017 Accounting internships LBMC Nashville Machen McChesney Auburn Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore, P.C. Birmingham Protective Life Corp. Birmingham Rödl & Partner Atlanta RSM Atlanta Birmingham Shell Oil Company Houston Smith & Howard Atlanta

PwC Atlanta Austin Birmingham Boston Charlotte Dallas Denver Houston Nashville New York City (From left): Naomi (Yusafi) Bolt, Gib Thrash, and Will Ousley pose for a photo outside of the firm’s Midtown Atlanta office during their spring internship.

Smith, Dukes & Buckalew, LLP Mobile

Warren Averett Birmingham

Tidwell Group


Birmingham Steel City Pops Birmingham

Atlanta Vulcan Materials Birmingham


The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

Pensacola WestRock Atlanta Bekah Horton didn’t want to “blow the popsicle stand” at the end of the summer she had a blast working for Steel City Pops!

Intern Spotlight

Why Tax? Ask Ellen Cates. Cates mixed her passion for tax accounting and video production to win first place in the American Accounting Association’s 2016 “Why Tax?” video contest. She also secured second place in the Viewer’s Choice category, an award determined by popular vote. Ellen took home a total of $3,800 as a result of her efforts for the contest sponsored by Deloitte, EY, KPMG, & PwC. “The contest was to try to inspire students to take an interest in tax and explore opportunities within tax,” she said. “I had some ideas about why I personally think tax is a great option, but putting it in video form in a way that would be visually interesting was a really fun challenge for me.” Some students enjoy watching movies. Ellen Cates, on the other hand, prefers making them. Cates, a Master of Accountancy student, has been “obsessed” with YouTube videos since she was a junior high school student in Birmingham.

“It’s not really a secret that tax is not the most popular option within the accounting fields. The courses tend to be extremely challenging, and it has a reputation for not being the most interesting field. But I think the stereotype could not be more wrong. Tax is extremely technical, but that gives you a lot of prepara-

tion to be able to take on any accounting-related challenge.” Cates said, “Working two different internships at Koch Industries and Deloitte allowed me to find my best professional fit. I am truly excited to come to work every day.” She will be joining Deloitte’s Mergers & Acquisition practice in Atlanta when she completes her master’s degree in May 2018. Ellen’s video’s effects on the tax accounting profession remain to be seen, but it is safe to say that the profession has gained a loyal recruiter (and video producer) for years to come.

Ellen’s winning video described a career in tax as being engaging, challenging, and meaningful.

The American Tax Association website announced Ellen’s 1st and 2nd place accolades. Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Auburn Accounting Online

Online MAcc students during the MAcc Leadership Summit in April 2017.

Online MAcc 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award

Online MAcc 2017 Outstanding Student

Dr. James H. Long

Rick Parrish

Dr. Long, who teaches the Financial Analysis & Valuation course in the MAcc program, is also an accomplished fisherman. 24

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

Rick is VP-Assistant Controller for Allscripts in Raleigh, NC.

The SOA’s Winning Online Programs

The School of Accountancy has long been a pioneer in distance education. With the introduction of the distance Master of Accountancy in Fall 2000, students across the country have earned an Auburn degree and joined the Auburn family from afar.

College Choice ranked Auburn University’s online Master of Accounting #3 among the Top 50 Best Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs for 2017.

While things have certainly changed since we mailed VHS tapes back in 2000, Auburn’s online accounting programs have received accolades The Best Schools ranked the online and recognition for program quali- Bachelor of Science in Accounting ty and rigor from some of the most #2 among their Top 25 Best Online Bachelor in Accounting Degree Proprestigious organizations. “We are grams. honored to receive recognition from these organizations,” says Andee Hodo, Assistant Director of Online Programs. “Our online programs require the same level of rigor and commitment from students as our campus programs, and we are proud to be recognized for academic excellence.”

The online programs continue to be in high demand as more professionals seek to pursue the CPA designation to expand their career options. In fact, in Spring of 2017, the online Master of Accountancy program graduated its largest class yet. The School of Accountancy prides itself on being at the forefront of online education and will continue to adapt our programs to meet the needs of the profession. U.S. News and World Report ranked Auburn University’s Master of Accounting #10 in the country among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs for 2017.

Online Accounting Degree Programs selected the Auburn University online Bachelor of Science in Accounting as #6 in their list of the Top 15 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs for 2017.

For more information about the online programs offered by Auburn University, please visit or contact Andee Hodo at or 334-844-6207. Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Auburn Accounting Online Deciding to go back to school after a number of years in the workplace takes a lot of commitment and dedication. Some students regret not having majored in accounting for their bachelor’s degree and some students are seeking the master’s level degree in order to extend their career potential. Meet two of our distance students who share why they love accounting, why they love Auburn, and what it is like being a student while managing work and family commitments.

Cody Cassady

Josh Pratt

Master of Accountancy

Why are you interested in a career in accounting? Nearly everything we know rests upon the financial statements

Has being enrolled at Auburn made an impact at your current job? If so, how?

accountants prepare or auditors ensure are prepared properly. As a

I was about 15 years into my finance/accounting career before

nonprofit professional, I’m acutely aware that this also has a direct

beginning the program. With two undergraduate degrees and an

impact on the ability for organizations to continue to meet some

MBA, I thought I understood the big picture and just needed to

of the most demanding, deeply entrenched issues of our time.

learn the details before sitting for the CPA exam. Much to my

Knowing this, accounting is, to me, the perfect balance–on-the-

surprise, every lecture and every page has shown me that what

ground enough to see a direct correlation between our work and

seemed like the big picture before was only a small part of the

the mission of the organization, but removed enough to be able

bigger picture.

to do it all again at next month-end (and as many month-ends are needed until the mission is accomplished). What has been your favorite class/professor at Auburn?

What are your plans after completing your degree? After completing the program, I’d like to become one of the more than 70% of Auburn students who pass the CPA exam on

Dr. Stanley’s Advanced Accounting, without question. At the end

their first try. Having the CPA certification, and the confidence

of the semester, I looked back in awe at the complexity of the

behind having learned all that is required for it, should allow for

topics we covered with Dr. Stanley. The class wasn’t easy, by any

a broader managerial career path and a more interesting journey

means, but Dr. Stanley’s level of patience and care enabled each of

along the way.

us to thoroughly learn the concepts. His kindness made it possible to enjoy learning foreign currency transactions--I wasn’t sure that was possible! How do you balance your career and family commitments while pursuing an accounting education?


Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Accountancy)

How do you balance your career and family commitments while pursuing an accounting education? My daughter was in kindergarten when I started the accounting program, so she and I both have been figuring out how to balance everything! She has always liked to play teacher, and now that I

It hasn’t always been easy. There is no shortage of late nights and

have real homework to do, she has been quick to convert our pre-

early mornings; but my success so far has been possible in large

tend play to real play. Her favorite part of my Auburn education?

part due to the understanding of the professors I have had.

Getting to use mechanical pencils.

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

School of Accountancy participates in Inaugural Tax Challenge Two teams of students from Dr. Kim Key’s Corporation and Partnership Taxation course represented Auburn University at the Inaugural Southeastern Regional Tax Challenge hosted by the University of Missouri School of Law and School of Accountancy on February 10 and 11, 2017. Fourteen teams of law and accounting students from schools in the Southeastern Conference attended the event. Teams were posed with a complicated tax transaction and then presented their solution in front of a panel of distinguished judges. This year’s topic was related to a potential acquisition of an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company by a venture capital company. “The case had limited facts, so the students had to make decisions and choices during their research and the preparation of their presentation materials,” said Dr. Key. “Our AU online students faced the additional challenge of being the only teams that could not meet and practice in person before the actual competition. Plus, they all work full-time. I was impressed by their work. They represented AU well in all respects. The best part of participating in the competition was that all of us got to know each other better.” The two teams from Auburn included Mark Cooley (Auburn, AL), Jeff Haverly (LaGrange, GA), Drew Locke (Wichita, KS), and Jerusha Walzer (Atlanta, GA). Drs. Kerry Inger and Kim Key served as the faculty advisors for the competition. Advisors Dr. Kim Key (left) & Dr. Kerry Inger (right).

The Auburn Online team (from left): Drew Locke, Jeff Haverly, Jerusha Walzer, and Mark Cooley.

Auburn Accounting Online is proud to recognize two students who were chosen for the 2017 Newton D. Becker Scholarship Program. The 5th annual scholarship program focuses on Newt’s vision of helping students and accounting professionals fulfill their dreams of earning the CPA credential by offering deserving individuals financial assistance to prepare for the CPA Exam. The scholarship criteria are based on traits important to Newt – high moral character, strong leadership qualities, and commitment to community service. Nicole Wood ’17

Dothan, AL Online Master of Accountancy

Heather Goodell ‘17

Coppell, TX Online Master of Accountancy “The Auburn MAcc program has been an outstanding experience. The faculty have gone above and beyond in helping me accomplish my goals. From the professors providing relevant coursework and the advisors’ guidance about opportunities, such as the Newton D. Becker Scholarship, I feel prepared to conquer the CPA exam. I am honored and grateful to receive the Newton D. Becker Scholarship and to be a part of MAcc program. War Eagle!” - Heather Goodell ‘17

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


CAMPUS Macc program

CPA Pass Rates Serve as Recruiting Tool for MAcc Program Contributed by Erica Oberbroeckling, MAcc Class of 2017 For most accounting students, the CPA exam is always in the back of their minds as graduation and the ‘real world’ draw closer. Almost every CPA I have known either studied alone or did not start the CPA exams until they began their careers. As I came to the end of my senior year, I knew there had to be a more successful way to conquer the CPA exam. 28

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

I went to a small school in Indiana where I earned my bachelor’s degree in accounting, and I desired to further my education and receive my Master’s in Accounting. I did endless research on what program would be the best fit for me. Auburn University’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program immediately stood out to me because of their CPA exam structure. In the spring semester, the entire MAcc program sits for all four sections of the CPA exam together,

Class of 2017

within a four-month time-frame. At first glance, I thought it was crazy until I looked at Auburn’s published exam pass rates. They are consistently above and beyond the national pass rates. This made my decision to attend Auburn an easy one. Now that I have taken all four sections of the CPA exam, I can confidently say the way Auburn structures the MAcc program is the most effective way to pass the CPA exam. Getting started was the toughest

part, and I had to decide what was go-

accountable for studying, but we also found

ing to work the best for me. However, I

ways to make the schedule more enjoyable.

was quickly acclimated with the Becker

Whether we were taking a lunch break

software, the four-hour lectures, and the

or a yoga break in the MAcc lab, I never

hundreds of homework problems. I have

felt alone in the entire process. Even the

never studied so hard, but the compact

accounting faculty was beyond supportive;

time frame forced me to stay on schedule

Erica Oberbroeckling and her newfound friend, Aubie.

checking in throughout the process and

with my peers.

even leaving snacks to keep us energized!

One of the great parts of the Auburn

quickly began to understand the term “Au-

CPA exam structure is the support system

burn family.” Auburn’s MAcc program is a

I had throughout the entire process. I

successful way to conquer the CPA exam

had 57 other students going through the

and lead students into successful account-

same study schedule. We held each other

ing careers.

As a new student at Auburn University, I

Master of Accountancy Program Class of 2017 CPA Exam Pass Rates CPA Exam Section Financial (FAR) Audit (AUD) Regulation (REG) Business (BEC)

Auburn MAcc Program* National Percent First-Time Candidates Passing Average** Repeat and First-Time Candidates 88% 43% 78% 43% *** *** 93% 50%

* Source: Students’ Official CPA Exam Score Reports on first attempt. ** Source: The National Percent Passing rates for the 1st and 2nd Quarters of 2017 were obtained from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The Auburn MAcc students sat for FAR, AUD & BEC during the first quarter of 2017, and they sat for REG during the second quarter. ***Q2 passing rates were not available at press time, as the AICPA took an extended amount of time to grade exams taken under the new format during Q2.

On-Campus MAcc 2017 Outstanding Professor

On-Campus MAcc 2017 Outstanding Student

Dr. Tina Loraas

Caroline Forbes

Dr. Loraas, who teaches two technology-focused graduate courses, won the award for the second year in a row.

Caroline is an audit staff with EY in Atlanta, GA. Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


CAMPUS Macc program The group made a trip to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

MAcc International Trip: An Unforgettable Experience Contributed by Greg Swanner, MAcc Class of 2017 When it was announced that our MAcc cohort would be travelling to Peru, the electricity in the air was palpable. Everyone was beyond excited to get out of Auburn for a little while and experience something new. Little did we know that the trip would exceed even our highest expectations. We began in Lima, the capital city of Peru. There, we were introduced to our tour guides who provided local perspectives to all of the impressive scenery around us including large buildings and beautiful beaches. Not only did Students and faculty celebrate after completing the service project for the Fernando Belaunde Terry School. 30

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

we get to tour the city by bus, but we were also provided many opportunities to venture out on our own to explore the city by foot and truly be immersed in the culture. When we were not exploring the city, we were hearing firsthand what life is like in Peru from a diverse group of speakers. This group included an Auburn alumnus working in the city, an employee of the Peruvian equivalent of the New York Stock Exchange, and a partner at the Lima branch of EY. These individuals opened our eyes to what life and business look like outside of the United States.

Llama pictures were a trending theme throughout the trip.

Before venturing to Peru, the MAcc class held many fundraising activities in Auburn in an effort to raise funds for improvements for the Fernando Belaunde Terry School, an elementary school in Lima. In total, we were able to raise more than $6,700, breaking the School of Accountancy fundraising record. We used the money raised to greatly enhance the playground and landscaping around the school. After a long day of work, we were provided a chance to meet the kids who attended the school and to give them small gifts we brought from the US. Lasting memories were made as we were able to witness their eyes light up at their new playground and toys. Following this service project, we traveled up (quite literally) to Cusco. This incredible city is located over 11,000 feet above sea level, so coca tea became a strong ally in the fight against altitude sickness. Cusco was utilized as a home base as we travelled to one of the seven modern wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. Here we took a guided tour through the ancient structures, and learned about the history of not only Machu Picchu, but also the Peruvian culture as a whole. Overall, the trip to Peru was the highlight of my MAcc year. Not only did I get to experience a new country and a different culture, but I was also able to bond with my classmates before beginning the process of studying for the CPA Exam and to build friendships with professors before starting my professional career. I will forever be grateful to Auburn for providing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Greg Swanner says he fell victim to this tourist trap of an offer to take a photo with alpacas wearing tiny hats. Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


Scholarships & Awards

AWARDS: Alabama Society of CPAs Accounting Achievement Award Becca Glosemeyer

Madison, AL

Becker CPA Review Course Award Kyle Bolstad Tyler Cox Tanya Gainsford John Illges Andrew Mitchell Stacy Sims Molly Thrower

Franklin, TN Athens, AL Marietta, GA Columbus, GA Montgomery, AL Auburn, AL Opelika, AL

Federation of Schools of Accountancy Student Achievement Award Paige Johnson

Madison, AL

SCHOLARSHIPS: Aflac, Inc. Accounting Scholarship Tri Nix Sarah Grace Tatom

Lanett, AL Huntsville, AL

The Auburn Scholarship Campaign is an initiative dedicated to building funds to support current students and compete for future scholars who will enhance the intellectual capability on our campus. Earnings from the endowed scholarships are paired with current Spirit of Auburn or Academic Scholarships, ranging from $4,000 to resident tuition annually. As a result, the student receives a more attractive and competitive scholarship award. Award recipients for these endowments are celebrated at the Harbert College of Business Awards Ceremony in the fall, but we would like to specifically recognize those individuals who have contributed to endowments for the benefit of accounting majors. All of these endowments are fully funded and will provide renewable scholarships to students next academic year. • • • • • • • • •

Steven & Lynne Boucher Family Scholarship Roberta K. and David Byrum Endowed Scholarship Lee and Debbie Cameron Family Endowed Scholarship The Henley Family Endowed Scholarship Henley Family Honors Endowed Scholarship E. William Koons III and Family Scholarship Fred and Becky Pepper Endowed Scholarship Larry and Margaret Quimby Endowed Scholarship Jerry Lewis Savage Memorial Endowed Scholarship

VP of Internal Audit Lamar Barnett presented the Aflac scholarship to Sarah Grace Tatom & Tri Nix.

Aldridge, Borden & Company, PC Accounting Scholarship Evan Wright

Wetumpka, AL

ASCPA Educational Foundation Scholarship Clara Benitez


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Mobile, AL

Fall 2017

Partner Leigh Dykes presented the Aldridge Borden scholarship to Evan Wright.

Jeannine Birmingham, President & CEO of the ASCPA, presented their Educational Foundation scholarship to Clara Benitez.

ASCPA/Kassouf & Company Endowed Scholarship

Draffin & Tucker, LLP Accounting Scholarship

Jackson Thornton Accounting Scholarship

Madison May

Robbie Ricks

Leeanne Phillips

Daphne, AL

Millbrook, AL

Montgomery, AL

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith, PC Accounting Scholarship Coleman Bradley

Hoover, AL

Bennett Thrasher, PC Accounting Scholarship Claire Brien

Trussville, AL

R. Bernard Blankenship Scholarship in Accountancy Janey Morton

Columbus, GA

Jeff Wright, Managing Partner of Draffin & Tucker, with recipient Robbie Ricks.

Ernst & Young, LLP/ R. Travis Kirkpatrick Memorial Endowment Mark Bartholomew James Haigh Callie Yuan

Huntsville, AL Charlotte, NC China

Laverne Taylor Flanagan Accounting Scholarship Pat Compton, widow of the late Bernard Blankenship, presented the award to Janey Morton.

Greg Burgess Memorial Scholarship in Accountancy Elizabeth Adams

Newville, AL

CohnReznick, LLP Accounting Scholarship Jeffrey Pareja

Tampa, FL

Deloitte, LLP Accounting Scholarship Cailey Chenault Anna Wright

The Woodlands, TX Guntersville, AL

Erin Johnson

Dothan, AL

Frazier & Deeter, LLC Accounting Scholarship James Grabmayer

Lexington, KY

Senior Manager Will Jones presented the Jackson Thornton scholarship to Leeanne Phillips.

John P. Jones Endowed Scholarship in Accountancy Marshall Brown Rebekah Horton Callie Kyzar Preston Smith Ben Taylor

Fairhope, AL Birmingham, AL Birmingham, AL Hoover, AL Auburn, AL

L. Paul Kassouf & Company, PC Endowed Scholarship Bleu Stone

Mentone, AL

Grant Thornton, LLP Accounting Scholarship Ben Seneker

Johnson City, TN

Hall, Albright, Garrison & Barnes, PC Accounting Scholarship Andy Francis

Madison, AL

Dick and Terry Ingwersen Accounting Scholarship Jake Callahan Sarah Patrick

Hoover, AL Hoover, AL

Wes Brown, Partner at Kassouf & Co., with recipient Bleu Stone.

KPMG, LLP Accounting Scholarship Taylor Adams Amy Guglielmi

Plant City, FL Orlando, FL

Lovoy, Summerville & Shelton, LLC Accounting Scholarship Chandler Donegan Christopher Munday, Senior Manager with Deloitte, presented the scholarship to Anna Wright.

Hoover, AL

Dick & Terry Ingwersen flank award recipients Jake Callahan & Sarah Patrick. Fall 2017

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Scholarships & Awards

Machen McChesney Accounting Scholarship

SOA Sees Fifth Consecutive PCAOB Scholarship Recipient it is so important to invest in current students and one great way to do that is through scholarships. It recognizes students for their hard work and gives them the opportunity to continue working toward their personal and professional goals.”

Sarah Patrick, a senior in the School of Accountancy, earned the prestigious Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) scholarship for 201718 – a $10,000 prize offer to fewer than 100 students nationwide. Patrick plans to enter Auburn University’s Master of Accountancy program after finishing her undergraduate degree. “Receiving the PCAOB Scholarship is such an honor and I am so humbled to have been nominated and selected,” said the Hoover, AL, native. “Being awarded this scholarship opens the doors for my education and will allow me to pursue a graduate degree here at Auburn. I think

In its seventh year, the PCAOB Scholarship Program was created to satisfy the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which mandated that funds generated from the collection of monetary penalties imposed by the PCAOB be used to fund a merit scholarship program for students in accredited accounting degree programs. Patrick, who was also a Top Five candidate in the 2017 Miss Auburn election, took her first accounting class in high school and caught on quickly. “When I first came to Auburn and had to choose my major, I figured, ‘Why not try accounting and see what happens?’ After my first few classes and interactions with the School of Accountancy’s faculty and staff, I knew I had chosen the right major. There are so many career opportunities with an accounting degree and I have heard this first-hand from my professors. They do such an incredible job of educating us beyond the walls of a classroom and sharing their experiences.” Previous PCAOB Scholarship recipients from Auburn University’s School of Accountancy include Zach Blomeley (2016-17), Lauren Cleveland (201516), Brandon Steverson (2014-15), and Gabi Bailin (2013-14).

The consummate accountant, Sarah’s Miss Auburn campaign platform was financial literacy. 34

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Fall 2017

Abigail Hampton

Rainsville, AL

Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC Accounting Scholarship Natalie Lorimer

Chelsea, AL

Philip Marshall McElroy Memorial Scholarship Chris Dillon

Huntsville, AL

Metcalf Davis Endowed Accounting Scholarship Ward Easterlin

Atlanta, GA

C.G. Mills Endowment for Instructional Excellence in Accountancy Becca Glosemeyer Paige Johnson Trenton Singletary

Madison, AL Madison, AL Dothan, AL

William J. Nettles Endowed Memorial Scholarship James Pinkleton

Huntsville, AL

Pearce, Bevill, Leesburg, Moore, PC Accounting Scholarship Flannery Wynn

Hoover, AL

Melba C. Peebles Accounting Scholarship Claire Schortmann Abigail Wagner

Louisville, KY Long Meadow, MA

Willard Peebles and Brooke Peebles Walker, the family of the late Melba Peebles, with scholarship recipient Abigail Wagner. Lamar Barnett, President of the SOA Advisory Council, presented their scholarship to Allison Dawson.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP Accounting Scholarship

School of Accountancy Faculty and Staff Scholarship

Elton & Janet Wolf Endowed Scholarship in Accounting

Allie LeJeune Lauren Spiwak Kelleen Sullivan

Bailey Griffin Abilene, TX Braxton Hicks Winston Salem, NC Seonghyeon Hwang Auburn, AL Mary McMullen Monroe, LA Jack Melgaard Brentwood, TN Daniel Scott Birmingham, AL Mengnan Wu China

Matthew Smith

Birmingham, AL Missouri City, TX Point Clear, AL

RSM US, LLP Endowed Accounting Scholarship Jack Tighe

Homewood, AL

Dr. Kerry Inger presented the School of Accountancy Faculty & Staff Scholarship to a number of talented students. Partner Scott Stewart with RSM scholarship recipient Jack Tighe.

Smith & Howard, P.C. Accounting Scholarship

Jerry Lewis Savage Memorial Accounting Scholarship

Lanie Blocksidge

Mary McCarthy

Brentwood, TN

Graduate Assistantships

EY Graduate Assistants 2017-2018 Recipients: Paige Johnson & Ford Galin

Marietta, GA

Fayetteville, GA

EY Graduate Assistants Paige Johnson (Birmingham Audit) and Ford Galin (Birmingham Tax) with Partner Jimmy Palik

EY Partner Greg Heston presented the Jerry Lewis Savage scholarship to Mary McCarthy.

School of Accountancy Advisory Council Scholarship Allison Dawson

Glen Allen, VA

Dan Bedell, a Manager with Smith & Howard, presented their scholarship to Lanie Blocksidge.

Doris Tanquary Memorial Accounting Scholarship Jordan Salkeld

Olney, MD

Thomas W. and Patricia M. Tripp Endowed Accounting Scholarship Jack Mize

Columbus, GA

Warren Averett, LLC Accounting Scholarship Eric Byron Michael Miaoulis Lexie Olszewski JT Pietrantoni

Hoover, AL Montgomery, AL Pike Road, AL Vestavia Hills, AL

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP Graduate Assistant 2017-2018 Recipient: Becca Glosemeyer PwC Graduate Assistant Becca Glosemeyer (Birmingham Tax) with Partner Terry Sparks

Fall 2017

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Fall 2016 Tailgate The School of Accountancy hosted a birthday bash tailgate during the 2016 football season for our alumni & friends. It was great to reconnect with former classmates and meet their loved ones! Here, we highlight just a handful of our visitors that we enjoyed seeing on the Lowder Hall lawn. We can’t wait to do it all again this fall!

Class of ’76 graduate and retired faculty member Gary Waters and wife Jackie came to mingle with former classmates, colleagues, and students.

Class of ’82 graduate Sally Sanders and Jim Sanders take a moment out of the fun social scene to pose for a photo.

SOA Alums Michelle (’97) & Will Hancock (’96, ’97), brought Wendi & David Harwell (right) and Lee & Shashi Sharma (left) to enjoy the beautiful game day on the Plains.


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Fall 2017

Class of 2017 MAcc students invited friends to prove to them that accountants know how to party!

Siblings and parents often join current MAcc students to enjoy the festivities.

Amy Murphy (’88, ’92) and her former graduate assistant Tom Sherlock (’95) stayed cool under the big white tent on Lowder’s lawn.

Jeffrey Laseter (’75) with Susan Laseter and Billy & Nina Kennedy (on right) are all smiles after the amazing spread that commemorated the SOA’s 30th birthday.

The Beta Alpha Psi members manned the “Kids Zone,” which involved a very popular inflatable rock climbing wall and slide for children of attendees.

Dorothy Heston, daughter of Greg Heston (’85), gives three cheers for the SOA tailgate! Fall 2017

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The Captivating Courage of a Whistleblower What do you do when you find yourself in a situation where the details don’t “add up?” During the 2017 Accounting and Auditing Summit: Reporting Fraud, attendees were captivated by the courage and integrity of this year’s speakers. Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins are two of the most recognized whistleblowers and were involved in two of the largest accounting scandals in history. Named Persons of Year in 2002 by TIME magazine, Cooper and Watkins were both responsible for blowing the whistle on corruption and fraud in their respective organizations. Cynthia Cooper was Vice President of Internal Audit at WorldCom when she and her team unearthed $3.8 billion in accounting fraud. When she tried to voice her concerns to executives, she was threatened and told to delay her audits. However, Cynthia knew something was not right with the journal entries. Cynthia described how her team secretly investigated the irregularities they found, often under the cover of night. Cynthia then faced the most difficult decision: expose the fraud and personally risk losing everything she had worked for, or keep quiet and let CFO Scott Sullivan conceal his egregious act?

Cynthia Cooper

Sherron Watkins Ultimately, she made the courageous decision report to her findings to the Board of Directors. WorldCom filed for bankruptcy shortly after the fraud became public. Sherron Watkins served in a variety of roles at Enron before being named Vice President of Corporate Development reporting directly to CFO Andy Fastow. While in this role, Sherron discovered massive amounts of off-balance sheet financing that she felt was misleading to investors. Sherron shared with attendees how it was Jeff Skilling’s

abrupt departure as CEO in August of 2001 that encouraged her to write an anonymous letter to Ken Lay, Chairman of the Board of Enron. She was convinced that the aggressive accounting techniques used by Enron would be the downfall of the company. Sherron’s letter later became a key point of interest leading her to testify before Congress about the Enron collapse. Both women showed remarkable personal strength by coming forward with their discovery of fraud. Driven by the School of Accountancy’s mission, “to advance the field of accounting and prepare tomorrow’s accounting leaders”, the annual Accounting & Auditing Summit seeks to bring together Master of Accountancy students with CPAs to deliver first-class, relevant continuing education. The 2018 Accounting and Auditing Summit: Understanding Fraud will be held on Friday, April 27, 2018, at the Auburn University Hotel and newly-renovated Dixon Conference Center. Information about the event can be found at as it becomes available. Please contact Andee Hodo at to join the mailing list to receive future notifications about the annual event.

Thank you to our 2017 Accounting & Auditing Summit Sponsors! For 2018 event sponsorship information, please contact Colby Lakas at


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Fall 2017


Four Alums Make Partner at EY in 2017 Making partner at a Big Four accounting giant is a pretty big deal. But when four alums make partner at EY – in the same year – that’s amazing! School of Accountancy graduates Paul Floyd (’06), Andy York (‘05), Jimmy Palik (‘01), and Megan Lansden (‘06) were each promoted to partner in their respective locations within the past year. Thomas Minor, a School of Accountancy graduate and EY partner since 1989, is very proud of these individuals. “To have four Auburn graduates make partner in the same year is truly incredible and a testament to the character, work ethic, and dedication of Auburn men and women.”

in those around you both personally and professionally.” Palik, who works in EY’s audit division in Atlanta, also used the words, “did not see this day coming.” “I feel very blessed to be surrounded by great colleagues and mentors,” he said. “One of those mentors is Greg Heston (EY partner), who is also an Auburn alumnus (1985). He recruited me many years ago. I’m blessed to have mentors like Greg and other countless co-workers who have helped me get to this stage.” Jimmy Palik

The alums – and new EY partners – credit lessons learned at Auburn toward their individual career successes.

Paul Floyd & Andy York enjoy watching sports together while traveling on business. Floyd, who leads EY’s Southwest Banking and Capital Markets tax practice in Dallas, Texas, didn’t see this day coming. “I especially didn’t when I was 23 years old,” said the former Auburn SGA Senator. “When I started, I just focused on what I was doing and trying to gain as much experience and learn as much as I could. The further along I got in my career, I realized that there were not many other places that offered the challenging environment, flexibility, and opportunity to work alongside such high-caliber people as what I had grown to love about EY. Where I am today is a result of the teams I worked with and culture at our firm of investing

Not all roads to making partner come without challenge. Lansden, who has worked in EY’s Birmingham office for 11 years assisting clients with tax compliance, reporting and consulting across a variety of industries, found an interesting career challenge in balancing motherhood and the duties of her job. “It involves a lot of communication – both at home and at work – flexibility, learning to say ‘no’ to some requests for my time without feeling guilty, and developing discipline around the family events that I absolutely won’t miss.” Not only is Lansden involved in recruiting at Auburn, but she is also the co-leader of the EY Birmingham’s Professional Women’s Network, which is designed to provide career development and foster knowledge exchange among women. Lansden advises young professionals to “take on challenges and opportunities offered to you early in your career and focus on doing the best job you possibly can to help your team. That

“I built my foundation in accounting at Auburn and was very well prepared to enter the professional services practices coming out of school,” said York, who leads EY’s Wealth Asset Management tax group in Charlotte, NC. “I was used to working hard for every grade I received at Auburn. I knew the business world would require the same effort and focus.”

hard work will pay off.”

Floyd pointed out that Amy Murphy (Director of Accounting Graduate Programs) had the foresight to incorporate the CPA exam into our grad school curriculum. “Auburn was one of the first schools to do this and it was such a boost coming into EY with the exam already behind me so that I could spend more time focused on learning as much as I could on all of my client engagements and have the flexibility to not have to worry about finding time in my schedule to study for it.”

The road to becoming partner at a Big Four firm is a long one that isn’t realized without hard work and patience. “Look at every opportunity as a chance to learn and grow for both yourself and those around you,” Floyd said. “Find an environment where the leadership is focused on growing and developing their people so that you, too, can become a leader that invests in helping people achieve both their personal and professional goals because you will never regret the time spent investing in other people’s lives.”

Megan Lansden

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection


annual giving Alumni


$5,000-$9,999 Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants Warren Averett Companies, LLC $2,500-$4,999 Aldridge Borden & Company, PC Jackson Thornton & Co. P.C. RSM US LLP $1,000-$2,499 Aflac Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith PC Bennett Thrasher, P.C. CohnReznick Draffin & Tucker Frazier & Deeter, LLC Grant Thornton Hall Albright Garrison & Barnes P.C. Lovoy, Summerville & Shelton P.C. Machen McChesney, LLP Mauldin & Jenkins Pearce Bevill Leesburg & Moore PC Smith & Howard, P.C. $999 and Below Ernst & Young LLP L. Paul Kassouf & Co., PC Alumni and Friends $200,000-$299,999 Richard C. Ingwersen ‘70 Teresa Weeks Ingwersen ‘69 $50,000-$99,999 Jerre Oscar Pierson III ‘86 Larry Burl Quimby ‘75 Margaret Becker Quimby ‘76 $25,000-$49,999 Walton T. Conn, Jr. ‘85 James K. Haygood Jr. ‘54 Gregory Lewis Heston ‘85 Mary Grace Heston Laura Burrus Lucas Alfred John Lucas ‘74 Scott R. Talkington ‘83 $15,000-$24,999 Brian Thomas Casey ‘84 Amanda Kate Murphy Foster ‘95 Jeffrey Michael Foster ‘95 $10,000-$14,999 Kurt Nathan Koons ‘02 Arthur H. Metcalf II ‘69 Jean Hughes Metcalf ‘69 Thomas Joseph Minor ‘89 40

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Fall 2017

$5,000-$9,999 Kenneth E. Baggett ‘77 Missy Baggett Michael Charles Beaty ‘01 Sally C. Beaty ‘01 Pamela Hudson Burleson ‘79 Thomas W. Burleson ‘79 Eric Kimball ‘99 Brooke Peebles Walker ‘97 William Forrest Walker ‘95 James David Walker ‘92 Lindy Adams Walker ‘92 Albert Gary Westbrook ‘78

$2,500-$4,999 Brian Patrick Beckham ‘05 R. David Byrum ‘76 Roberta Kessler Byrum ‘76 Ronald Miller Cofield ‘80 Jennifer Baker Crump ‘99 Chad Charles Downey ‘94 Joseph Theodore Gallina ‘94 Julie Creamer Gallina ‘98 Iain Douglas Grant ‘93 Christy Blackburn Hodge ‘94 Russell Porter Hodge ‘91 James Agee Kelly Jr. ‘84 Janice Tyus Kelly ‘83 Kevin Jerome Kelly ‘91 Kimberly Galligan Key Susan Rebecca Lumpkin ‘89 Jeffrey Richard Lund ‘88 Brian Eugene McNeely ‘00 Caroline Van Benschoten McNeely ‘00 Darren Lee Neuschwander ‘97 Elizabeth French Powell ‘84 Allison Blankenship Singleton Terry Lee Sparks Jr. ‘96 $1,000-$2,499 Sylvia Lynne Ayers ‘84 Christopher Alan Barker ‘86 Alaina Barnett Michael L. Barnett Jr. ‘01 Kathy Davis Bolton ‘74 Stephen Jett Byrne ‘77 Bobby David Chandler ‘91 Daniel Plaxco Chandler ‘02 Ernest L. Clark ‘74 Benjamin Wilson Cobb ‘97 Frederick Leonard Corte Jr. ‘03 William Micheal Dollar ‘70 Thomas Brett Dudney ‘07 James Derek Fuller ‘92 Bradley Laurence Garland ‘04 Mollie Elizabeth Garland ‘04 William Garman ‘07 Clinton Ellis Gilmore ‘84 Arthur D. Guy ‘79 Laura Quimby Hanks ‘03 Jason Kyle Harpe ‘93

Stephen C. Harrison ‘94 Andrea Thompson Hodo ‘05 David William Hodo ‘05 Ryan Christopher Inlow ‘97 Hardie B. Kimbrough Jr. ‘86 Richard Steele King ‘84 Holley S. LaGrone ‘77 Karl J. LaGrone David Gavin Lansden ‘07 Megan Ziemak Lansden ‘04 Paul Benjamin Leaver ‘05 Harrison Pacheco Lewis III ‘06 Rachel Collins Lewis ‘09 James H. Long ‘01 Edward James Manning ‘59 Joseph Edward Manusakis ‘02 Jonathan Andrew Mayer ‘05 Leigh Palmer Mayer ‘05 Holly Jeannene Mayfield ‘78 John Richard Mayfield ‘78 Edward Grayson McDermott ‘87 William P. McMullan Jr. ‘89 Justin Lee Mitchell ‘02 Jerry Wayne Moore ‘76 Jennifer Mueller-Phillips Erin Torstrick Prince ‘04 Phillip Reed Prince ‘04 Kimberly Williams Read ‘93 Berlin Jackson Robbins III ‘05 DeWayne L. Searcy Jim M. Tanquary ‘52 Therese R. Viscelli Mickey J. Watson ‘68 Jessica Marie Weissinger ‘07 Jeffrey Scott Wright ‘90 Andrew Robinson York ‘04 $500-$999 Anthony Douglas Banks ‘08 William E. Barranco ‘72 Olivia Leigh Benfield ‘16 Diana Dillard Brewer ‘84 Allison T. Burton ‘15 Wes Burton Jeffrey Joseph Call ‘95 Shannon B. Call Blake W. Callaway ‘16 Michael P. Castagnetta ‘91 Matthew D. Cessna ‘08 Lauren Elizabeth Cleveland ‘16 Sara Compton ‘04 Tyler David Cox ‘15 Kevin P. Cullen ‘89 Melinda Beasley Cullen ‘90 Lea M. Fletcher ‘90 Caroline E. Forbes ‘16 Sarah A. Fowler ‘16 David Henry Gambrell Jr. ‘80 Larry B. Gilley ‘70 Amy Sloane Goode ‘04 Robert Lewis Griffin ‘73

Alum Wins “Amazing Race” Prize After Scott Flanary earned a spot as a competitor on the 29th season of the CBS adventure show “The Amazing Race,” his friends and family members wanted to know if there was anything he wouldn’t do in pursuit of the $1 million grand prize. “Bungee jumping,” he told them. “I am very afraid of heights. I was thinking to myself that it is literally the one thing I would never do on the `The Amazing Race.’” So, naturally, on the ninth episode, the 2005 Harbert alum (and accounting minor) found himself taking halting steps along a narrow bridge high above the Corinth Canal in Corinthos, Greece, and being fitted for a helmet and safety harness. “Are you kidding me?” he said as the CBS cameras rolled. “The one thing I did not want to do!” He looked down—way, way down—into the narrow strip of aquamarine water more than 250 feet below the platform. Bordered on both sides by cliff walls that were seemingly close enough to touch, the canal appeared to be the approximate size of a bathtub from his vantage point. The bridge over the canal joins the mainland of Greece with Peloponnese, but Flanary wasn’t appre-

ciating the site’s beauty or its 4,000year history. “This is too much, this is too much, this is too much,” Flanary chattered. “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.” Rather than risk being eliminated from the race, Flanary closed his eyes and let gravity and the bungee do the rest. Over the course of 23 days and a 36,000-mile journey across five continents, nine countries, and 17 cities, Flanary and his partner, Brooke Camhi, fought through fatigue and a variety of physical and mental challenges. At the end, after flying from South Korea to Chicago and negotiating even more obstacles—including stops at Chicagoland Speedway, Wrigley Field and an encounter with the city’s beekeeper—the duo reached the finish line ahead of the other 10 teams and learned they would split the $1 million prize. Flanary hasn’t quit his day job as a West Coast-based recruiter for accounting firm Moss Adams. State and federal taxes claim a significant chunk of the prize money and, as Flanary notes, “our 15 minutes of fame are going to go fast.”

Joseph Peter Gyengo ‘04 Leslie S. Hayes ‘15 Richard R. Heartsill ‘16 Thomas Brent Hicks ‘93 Alexander James Holt ‘03 Rebekah Orso Holt ‘04 Janet McDonald Huston ‘02 Stephanie Ann Jensen ‘16 Clay Thomas Jones ‘96 Elisa Adams Jones ‘04 Kathryn D. Kelly ‘16 Colby Harpool Lakas ‘04 Gregory Scott Lakas Lisa Loften ‘87 Scott Edward MacArthur ‘83 Anita Gentle Newcomb ‘76 William Pankey ‘16 Amanda Brooke Pope ‘06 Thomas Daniel Sherlock ‘95 Lorin O. Smith ‘15 Becky A. Smylie ‘13 Gregory M. Swanner ‘16 Savannah Hollie Thrasher-Quirk ‘16 Stacey L. Tome ‘16 Anthony McCain Torbert ‘90 Erin Marie Towery ‘03 Lauren Marie VanDerBogart ‘16 Ashlynne Elizabeth Watts ‘16 Robert Daniel Weintraub ‘04 Deborah Elaine Whitehead James L. Whitehead Jr. ‘76 Rebekka L. Whitfield ‘16 Ashley D. Whitted ‘16 Carol Lynn Yednak ‘88 $250-$499 Michael Babicke ‘15 John G. Backer ‘09 Grace P. Bain ‘16 Steven Michael Barranco ‘89 Christoher Keith Belt ‘13 John Blackburn Boles ‘97 Mary Katherine Boomershine ‘16 Joseph Case Brannan ‘08 Janet Mertz Brantley ‘91 Jerry Alan Brewer ‘93 Wesley Allen Brown ‘87 Michael Vann Bruner ‘07 Zachary Herschel Bullock ‘16 Vivian Jo Chateau Alfred E. Cheatham Jr. ‘90 Matthew Richardson Clegg ‘97 Charles Robert Coats ‘61 Laurie Fay Daugherty ‘90 Jacey E. Daughtry ‘16 Charles M. Davidson ‘97 Frank Charles Dolbow ‘83 Alton Duncan ‘14 Jennie Burton Duvall ‘05 Emily Guthrie Farrell ‘07 Myles Travis Fuller ‘91 Norman Harrison Godwin ‘91 James Edward Hall ‘87 Fall 2017

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Dan Lee Hancock ‘74 J. Gregory Henderson ‘83 James E. Hicks ‘16 Natalie Hodnett Hogue ‘84 Christopher Austin Houseman ‘16 John Paul Illges V ‘15 Kerry K. Inger Robert Horsley Kay, Jr. ‘10 David Richey King ‘88 Carolyn Mason ‘72 Courtney H. Mason Jr. ‘72 David Allen Miller ‘94 Erica C. Oberbroeckling ‘17 Lewis W. Perkins III ‘94 Carter D. Rose ‘17 Stuart Scott ‘00 Lillian Crawford Serviss ‘95 Ned F. Sheffield ‘78 John Robin Short ‘93 Macy G. Spry ‘16 Adam W. Swartz ‘88 Catlin Drew Henry Tench ‘06 Erin Elizabeth Tench ‘06 Ricky Wayne Thomas ‘80 James Nicholas Wade ‘03 Volree Everson Wade ‘03 Katherine K. Walker ‘17 Christopher Scott Wardell ‘13 Carrie Elizabeth Wise ‘10 M. Elton Wolf Jr. ‘72 $100-$249 Emily Mullaney Abadin ‘10 Phillip M. Albright ‘12 Brandon Chase Allen ‘08 Charles J. Almond ‘15 Jean Aline Anderson ‘12 Reed Anthony Anderson ‘90 Clark Nikolas Andrich ‘13 Emily Ann Ankersen ‘07 William Lester Arnold ‘69 Gabriella L. Bailin ‘12 Daniel Meyer Bauman ‘14 Gregory R. Bentley ‘12 Kathy Ann Best ‘13 Edward Parker Bethea ‘89 John Brendhan Botkin ‘02 Duane M. Brandon Marlene A. Brankovic ‘13 Elizabeth B. Breen ‘16 Courtney Koons Bui ‘07 Mallory O’Mara Burks ‘14 Kendall Bliss Burleson ‘12 Sarah C. Cage ‘14 Michael Ray Calhoun ‘79 Emily Cavaco ‘14 Courtney E. Clark ‘13 Kiana M. Clarke ‘16 Robert H. Cochran ‘74 Benjamin P. Coffman ‘08 Kristina P. Coffman ‘09 Jennifer Norheim Cornett Timothy J. Cottrell ‘11 James Anthony Crist ‘85 Linda Kay Crist ‘85 Paul August Curtiss ‘14 42

The SOA Connection

Fall 2017

Matthew D. Davidson ‘15 Clayton Earl Davis ‘99 Elizabeth Grace Davis ‘12 Anna Nicole Donze ‘16 Keara May Dowling ‘08 Robert Walker Fain ‘07 John Samuel Fendley ‘81 Susan P. Fendley ‘80 Ana Beatriz Fernandez ‘89 John Turner Folmar ‘87 Evan Gentile ‘04 Shirley Gravley David Joseph Guthrie ‘11 David Wayne Hall ‘79 Mary Vann Hamilton ‘83 Pamela Isela Hammond ‘14 Harry B. Handlin ‘78 Sarah Myrick Handlin ‘82 Grace Ann Hardison ‘12 MacKenzy Summer Harper ‘12 Donald G. Hart ‘72 Samuel Allgood Heberton ‘10 Lisa Nyert Heise ‘13 Christopher Todd Holder ‘90 Dominique Brandale Holmes ‘12 Dexter F. Jackson ‘92 Tian Jiang ‘12 Jefferson Prince Jones ‘91 Patricia Carole Kelly ‘77 Kevin McCalla Koons ‘06 David Kent Krupicka ‘03 Jonathan Tyler Lahti ‘13 Marlee Elizabeth Leonard ‘16 Emily Christine Loefgren ‘13 Anne Grelier Marino ‘87 Regina S. McDaniel ‘78 Jonathon S. McDonald ‘13 Amber Elizabeth McElduff ‘04 Jessica Wilson Mendheim ‘95 Ross Blair Mendheim ‘92 Elizabeth G. Miller ‘83 Julie L. Muchoney ‘13 John Lewis Mullins III ‘86 Amy B. Murphy ‘88 Debbie J. Murphy Heather W. Mynatt ‘99 Patrick Duncan Noll ‘03 Casie C. Ramsier ‘16 Michael David Richards ‘05 Kimberly J. Rowan ‘14 David Thomas Sites ‘73 Kristi Pereira Smith ‘10 Lyndsay Long Snider ‘05 Jonathan D. Stanley Peter A. Stanwick Sarah D. Stanwick Amanda Pridgen Thames ‘04 Molly Carolyn Thrower ‘16 Kelly M. Tomlin ‘14 Brian Adam Vansant ‘95 Jennifer Lynne Wahlen ‘89 Heather Walker ‘15 Robert Edward Watson II ‘13 Thompson Alexander Westerberg ‘12 Heather M. White ‘13 David Henry Wood ‘16

Karen Alice Yeager ‘79 Matthew Hamilton Young ‘13 Philip H. Young Jr. Drew Albert Yurko ‘13 $99 and Below Barbara Bohmann Charles F. Bohmann John Harris Britton ‘16 Jennifer Louise Brown ‘97 Clinton A. Buck ‘17 Katherine Smith Calloway ‘01 Erica Jorgensen Chestnutt ‘05 Lona D. Childers ‘96 Joshua W. Chiles ‘13 Jason Bradley Cooper ‘08 John Paul Corgill ‘12 Kelsey Elizabeth Dalton ‘14 Alyssa C. Daniel ‘16 Justin Thomas Davenport ‘13 Ryan Christopher Detwiler ‘15 Rachel L. Entrekin ‘13 Rebecca Lynn Glasscock ‘15 Amanda K. Gwin ‘15 Thomas Arthur Hamman ‘79 K. Wood Herren ‘86 Paul Andrew Holden ‘09 Travis P. Holt Bethany Kay Hovater ‘08 Mary Lou Hughes ‘71 Molly Cosby Hulsey ‘10 Patricia C. Johnson ‘78 Amy Nicole Kast ‘13 Linda L. Lauderdale ‘87 Tina Wynne Loraas ‘96 Melissa Diane Mapp ‘96 Kaitlyn M. Maugel ‘15 Mercedes L. McKoy ‘15 Edward Mendez Edwyna Wadsworth Minor ‘75 Megan M. Morgan ‘16 Keri Leigh Morton ‘15 Jennifer Hammock Mummert ‘03 Michael Paul Mummert ‘01 Trevor Cameron Nelson ‘15 Hayden P. Pangle ‘13 Nona Ingram Parkman ‘75 Carly Brooks Peters ‘14 Amy Shaw Pugh ‘15 Teresa Vandegrift Rathbun ‘83 Kirsten L. Robertson ’17 Luis Salomon III ‘12 Steven Tyler Seidband ‘14 Catherine Amanda Smith ‘17 Talitha Stark Smith ‘97 William K. Smith ‘09 Andrew J. Superstein ‘15 Jennifer Schwartz Swist ‘98 Grace Lynne Tenkhoff ‘14 Paul Gerard Tombrello ‘85 Allen Lamar Woodside ‘77 Deborah Adams Yates ‘75 Andrea K. Young ‘14 Naomi F. Yusafi ‘17

In Memoriam

Dr. Kent T. Fields July 3, 1937 - February 4, 2017

Kent T. Fields embarked on an eventful life on July 3, 1937, in Texas’ Scurry County jail (living quarters due to his grandfather being the local sheriff). After graduating from Snyder High School in 1955, he earned a B.S. in Marketing from the University of North Texas and an M.P.A. in Accounting from the University of Texas. Following a career as a Certified Public Accountant, he earned a Ph.D. in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 1977. He was on the faculty at Louisiana State University, and was the Charles McKenzie Taylor, Jr. Professor of Accounting and Chair of the Faculty Senate (1995) at Auburn University. Dr. Fields, a true Renaissance man, also loved literature, writing poetry, wood working, stained glass art creation, bird watching, scuba diving, participating in musical theater, and spear fishing among many other interests and talents. After a valiant four-year battle with multiple myeloma, Dr. Fields passed away in Fredricksburg, Texas, on February 4, 2017, surrounded by his family, friends and devoted Corgi, Fiona.

Fall 2017

The SOA Connection



735 Extension Loop Auburn, AL 36849-5247

Auburn University is an equal opportunity employer/educational institution.

The third annual School of Accountancy Accounting & Auditing Summit will features stories of understanding fraud. When: Friday, April 27, 2018 Where: The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center Registration Fee: $275 includes breakfast, lunch, and a refreshment break Registrations received before February 1st are eligible for a $50 discount. For more information, please visit

2018 Accounting & Auditing Summit: Harry Markopolos School of Accountancy

April 27, 2018 | The Hotel at Auburn University

Bernie Madoff Whistleblower & Featured Speaker

Profile for Malcolm Edgecombe

Auburn School of Accounting  

Auburn School of Accounting