Students from The University of Portland Triumph in 2013 AICPA Accounting Competition 

Team Earns $10,000 for Personal Financial Planning Skills  
Published December 23, 2013

Contact: James Schiavone, 212-596-6119.

Washington, DC  (Dec. 23, 2013)
 — The American Institute of CPAs  named students from The University of Portland champions of the 2013 AICPA Accounting Competition and recipients of the $10,000 award, to be split among the team members. Students from Santa Clara University took second place, earning a $5,000 award. The third-place team from The University of Southern Indiana received $2,500. 

Student teams from around the country entered the competition by submitting a financial plan for James, a fictional 24-year old in need of expert guidance to take control of his finances and pay off his debt.

The 15 teams chosen to participate in the semi-finals were challenged with creating videos of their plan for the next step of James’s life, as he is married and his wife is pregnant with twins.

The three finalists were rewarded with an expense-paid trip to Washington, DC to present their plans for James’s retirement to panel of judges and participate in a question and answer session.

“I was impressed with both the quality of the team’s submissions and their ability to present their well-thought-out financial plans to the judges,” said Rich Caturano, CPA, CGMA, immediate past chairman of the AICPA, who announced the winners in Washington, DC. “Americans are looking for this type of well-reasoned, holistic planning advice as they contend with uncertainty and complexity in their lives. Increasingly, they are turning to CPAs as their trusted advisers, who help them navigate a wide array of financial issues.”

CPAs serving as financial planners provide comprehensive advice for their clients, taking into account taxes, retirement, investments, estate planning and risk management. CPAs with the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential in particular have advanced knowledge and experience in this area. 

The winning presentation from the University of Portland team suggested investment options for James and his wife throughout their life, as well as estimates of retirement income and overall net worth. In addition, the plan suggested a number of different options for their estate and steps they could take to reduce their tax burden while securing their children’s financial future.

The University of Portland team, named Competitive Pilot Accountants, is made up of:

Martin McMahon (Captain)

Tyler Desmarais (Member)

Ingrid Nelson (Member)

Michelle Siegal (Member)

Ellen Lippman (Faculty advisor)

All awards from the 2013 AICPA Accounting Competion are fully funded by the AICPA Foundation.

For more information about the competition or to watch the video submissions, visit


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