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"We take great pride in the fact that our students are able to take principles learned in the classrooms here at the Harbert College and apply them to complex problems, whether it’s a national case competition, or everyday business practice." — Duane Brandon, Director, School of Accountancy
The Harbert College is committed to providing relevant, forward-looking, and engaging curricula, instruction and high-impact experiential learning opportunities.
Six students in Harbert College’s School of Accountancy were finalists in the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) national graduate case competition, held virtually last semester. Two Harbert College teams – Jenna Holt, Whitlee James and Andrew Parker (team one), and Oliver Banta, Abbigail Barron and Justin Grimaldi (team two) – were among the top three teams in the nation, as decided by judges.
The students, part of Dr. Andrew McLelland’s Government/Not-For-Profit class at the Harbert College, were required to produce a four-page document – a citizen-centric report -- that includes:
In addition to the citizen-centric report, teams were required to submit an essay that summarizes the criteria each team used to determine what to include, or not to include, in the report, and why.
Why is this information important? Government at all levels is expected to be transparent with spending, though many web sites provide only access to complex financial reports that require an accounting education to understand, a release from the AGA noted. The purpose of the AGA’s Citizen-Centric Reporting initiative is to help simplify communication between government and its citizens.
Finalists are also given the opportunity to revise and resubmit their reports. In addition, they must submit a video presentation. These extra requirements provide students with additional opportunities to demonstrate their case findings and presentations skills.
“We take great pride in the fact that our students are able to take principles learned in the classrooms here at the Harbert College and apply them to complex problems, whether it’s a national case competition, or everyday business practice,” said Duane Brandon, School of Accountancy Director at Auburn University. “Dr. McLelland, much like the rest of our faculty, is a dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of our students. This is a testament to the high-quality instruction delivered by the faculty within the School of Accountancy.”
McLelland said the competition helps develop students’ presentation and analytical skills, and exposure into municipal government operations.
“The students benefit by taking on this challenge because they grow as future professionals," he said. "The final revisions and presentations give students real world experiences they will use once they graduate. The cities involved benefit because they often do not have the personnel to complete these reports and have the opportunity to obtain professional-level help performed by graduate-level accounting students,” he said.