Undergraduate Students Test Personal Financial Planning Skills in Accounting Competition

First Round Deadline of AICPA Competition is September 27th

August 19, 2013

NEW YORK (August 19, 2013) – There’s nothing like a personal financial incentive to challenge undergraduate students across the country to test their personal financial planning skills. The American Institute of CPA’s fourth annual Accounting Competition opens today, with teams competing for a $10,000 top award.  The competition underscores the important role CPAs serve as financial planners at a time when young adults are dealing with crippling student loan debt and maxed out credit cards.


The 2013 AICPA Accounting Competition is a three-stage process, based on a fictional 24-year old who has come up with an idea for a mobile app focused on live music shows. To make this idea a reality, he needs help from the experts to take control of his finances and pay off his debt –fast. Since time is of the essence, student teams competing to take home the $10,000 first place award have until September 27 to submit their entries.


“We chose personal financial planning as the topic for this year’s competition to expose students to the experience of advising a client on their financial affairs,” said Rebecca Mahler, AICPA Senior Manager of College & University Initiatives.


Amid growing uncertainty and complexity, more clients are turning to CPAs as trusted advisers to help them navigate a broader array of issues. CPAs who specialize in personal financial planning provide comprehensive advice that takes 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. 


“In addition to gaining exposure to in-demand accounting skills, students will have an opportunity to develop their presentation and interview skills while working in a team dynamic – all of which will be extremely useful as they begin their careers,” added Mahler.


The top three teams in the competition and their advisors will receive a trip package to Washington, D.C., to present their case to an executive panel of judges.  There, they will compete for the top award of $10,000. Second place will receive $5,000, and the third-place team will receive $2,500. 


“Participating in the competition taught me a lot of things that I don’t think I would have learned in a classroom,” said April Crawford, Masters in Accounting student at University of Texas – Dallas and captain of the team which won last year’s competition. “In addition to the technical accounting skills that our team was able to sharpen through the competition, we also got to develop our soft skills such as managing schedules, interviewing, networking and public speaking.”


All team rosters and first-round submissions must be received no later than 12 pm EST on September 27, 2013.  Teams must be comprised of three to four undergraduate students (attending a 2-year or 4-year degree institution).  Two team members must be declared accounting-related majors, one of whom will serve as team captain.  The two remaining members may come from any discipline.  Each team may also elect to have an advisor who can be either a full-time faculty member or graduate student at a 2-year or 4-year degree institution, or a local CPA who is a member of the AICPA.


First-round submissions will be evaluated to determine the 15 semi-finalists who will then compete for the three final spots.

Teams may register and find additional details on the 2013 AICPA Accounting Competition section of AICPA’s ThisWayToCPA website.


All awards are fully funded by the AICPA Foundation.


* NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Competition begins on 8/19/13 and ends on 12/21/13. All entries must be received by 9/27/13. Subject to Official Rules available at www.thiswaytocpa.com/competition. Open to legal residents of the 50 US states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and US Virgin Islands who are; AICPA student affiliates, who are at least 18 and who are also full-time undergraduate students at community or four-year college/university in one of those jurisdictions. See Official Rules for all requirements, terms & conditions. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: AICPA, 220 Leigh Farm Rd., Durham, NC 27707.