Team ranked top five in accounting challenge

Sean Wright

Villanova was recently announced as one of the top five nationally ranked schools at the PricewaterhouseCoopers first ever Campus Accounting Challenge, or xACT. The other nationally ranked teams were Bucknell, Indiana, the University of Iowa and Wake Forest.

Representing Villanova in the competition were students Danielle Gallinaro, Dariusz Jamiolkowski, Johnna Schifilliti, Nicholas Rossi and Stephen McMullin. Junior Johnna Schifillit said, “It was such an amazing feeling knowing that Villanova was chosen among a group of four other schools that all have highly accredited business programs. I never thought that we would make it as far as the national level of the competition which made our win an ever greater success.”

Teams were asked to look at a country’s accounting standards and evaluate how those standards led to a fictional scenario that dealt with a scandal. Students were then asked to propose changes to the standards to avoid any type of scandal.

Freshman Stephen McMullin said, “The project, in general, was a watered down make up of the U.S. accounting procedures. It was in the areas that were watered down that there was a need for revamping. Upon completion I thought we would be competitive, but I didn’t expect all of this to come of it.”

The event was held on January 22 and 23 with participants from 28 schools and 180 teams from across the nation. Schools were chosen by PricewaterhouseCoopers to compete based on many criteria, including academic reputation and the notability of the school’s accounting program.

“These schools were labeled as priority schools for recruiting with Pricewaterhouse Cooper,” Traci Diablo and Alexa Hamill, campus recruiters for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Philadelphia area, said. “There has been great success with individuals hired from these schools.”

They went on to say that xACT is very beneficial because “these schools are getting national recognition for their accounting program and students from the world’s largest professional business firm.”

The top five national teams each received $10,000 and a trip to New York City to spend a day at PricewaterhouseCoopers headquarters. The top team from each campus also received $1,000.

This is the first year xACT was held. Previously, PricewaterhouseCoopers did similar accounting challenges in 2002 but they were not on a national level or introduced to campuses.

One of the faculty members who helped the students during the competition, Professor Kenneth Hiltebeitel, said, “I was extremely proud of our team, and I know they were pleased. PWC was an excellent sponsor of the event. They made every participant in the national event feel like winners. Several students from this year’s event are already looking forward to next year.”