For those who dread filing their taxes, Temple University students are here to help—and with no out-of-pocket expense.
Accounting students and alumni from Temple’s Fox School of Business will be available each Saturday from Feb. 3 to April 7 to assist with filing state and federal income tax returns. (The tax return deadline is Tuesday, April 17.)
This year marks the 11th year of Temple’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which operates on Temple University’s Ambler Campus. In 2017, Fox School accounting majors helped secure more than $500,000 in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for their 400-plus clients. (Click here to watch a video about VITA.)
The newly passed federal tax bill will create uncertainty this year, said Dr. Steven Balsam, professor of accounting at the Fox School and director of the Temple VITA program.
“Most of our clients will ask about the tax bill and how it will impact their returns,” he said. “Our students are there to help and to educate the client. There is very little that will change on the 2017 return, with new tax bill primarily affecting 2018 and later years. But whether we have multiple changes this year, or just one, we always train our students to take their time, to be thorough, and to get our clients the largest refund possible. Our emphasis is on quality, and that won’t change.”
To qualify for VITA, a client’s annual household income must not exceed $54,000 (whether filing independently or jointly). A client also is not eligible if he or she owns rental property or owns a business. Clients can schedule an appointment by visiting fox.temple.edu/vita, emailing email@example.com, or calling 215-326-9519.
WHAT: Temple University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
WHEN: Saturdays, from Feb. 3 – April 7
Media RSVP: Christopher A. Vito, associate director of communications and media relations, Fox School of Business | 215-204-4115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When Ariell Johnson, BBA ’05, was a kid growing up in Baltimore in the 1980s she cut comics out of newspapers, glued them to construction paper, and tried to sell them.
Back then, there was no way of knowing she’d one day open a comic book shop, Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, in Philadelphia. Or that Ira Glass would interview her there for an episode of “This American Life.” Or that MacArthur Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates and Civil Rights Movement icon and Congressman John Lewis—both of whom have recently been involved in comics, with the Black Panther series and March, respectively—would visit and stroll Amalgam’s shelves. But even as a kid, Johnson was a gifted entrepreneur and her family knew she was destined for something amazing.
“I always marched to my own drum and I was always business-minded,” recalls Johnson. “My mom would joke that she’d never have to worry about me being broke because I’m a hustler. I had a very crafty grandma who taught me how to knit and crochet and embroider. And anything I learned how to do, I’d try to make money from it. I would even make things out of Play-Doh and sell them. I’ve always been entrepreneurial.”
When Johnson moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University, she initially wanted to study dance. But her sister, an actuary, convinced her to major in accounting at the Fox School. After graduating in 2005, she briefly worked in retail and as a bookkeeper for a nonprofit and a local community newspaper. She considered becoming a certified public accountant, but the thrill was gone.
“I enjoy accounting,” she explains, “but I couldn’t do it all day, everyday. There’s a part of me that loves sitting and staring at spreadsheets, but I need a creative aspect to my work.”
Johnson, while a student at the Fox School, had the idea of opening a comic book shop. She’d fallen in love with comics after watching the X-Men cartoon in her youth—especially the character Storm—and she dove headfirst into Philly’s comic book scene. She became a regular at Fat Jacks Comicrypt. After scoring new books, she’d read them over hot chocolate at the nearby coffee shop, Crimson Moon.
“I loved nerding out in public,” she says, “and being at a coffee shop thumbing through a comic was really cool. When Crimson Moon closed, I had the idea for Amalgam. I didn’t have a place to go, so I thought it would be great if the comic book store were a coffee shop and a community space, too. That was the rough idea, but I was still in school then and not thinking about it too seriously. It was my pipedream.”
It took a terrible tragedy to push Johnson’s plan forward. When her mother died, it caused her to re-evaluate her life goals. She decided she needed to do something daring, something that would make her happy, and so she grabbed her dream and ran with it.
In December of 2015, Amalgam Comics & Coffeeshop opened its doors along the Frankford Arts Corridor in the Kensington neighborhood. The space is hip and fun, with exposed brick walls, high ceilings, industrial flourishes, colorful furniture, and thousands of comics. She knew it was wise to diversify, and so Amalgam includes a coffee shop where people can read and sip hot chocolate, just like Johnson did back in the day.
Amalgam is much more than just comics and a café. There are nightly events, including readings, workshops, signings, open mics, comedy shows, and book clubs. The program calendar at the store is already jam packed, and business is about to get even busier. Earlier this year, Amalgam was one of 33 projects chosen to win a prestigious Knight Foundation grant. The project? Creating Amalgam University.
“It’ll allow us to have dedicated, enhanced space for programming,” Johnson says about the grant. “Our hope is to create a multipurpose room and to provide affordable comic book education, including writing, penciling, coloring, and professional development, such as how to pitch comics and put together a portfolio. We’ll especially be targeting underrepresented groups, including people of color, women, and people from the LGTBQ community.”
It’s been an exceptionally busy first two years. Johnson has juggled running the shop, managing nine employees, expanding the business and programming, and fulfilling dozens of interview requests from the press. In addition to being interviewed by Glass, she has been featured in articles by NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, and The New York Times. One question everyone asks her is when she’s opening another store.
“I’m making sure this one’s sustainable before I think about opening a new one,” she laughs. “We’re still a very small business, so I’m watching everything that’s going out and coming in, and if I know the store’s going to be quiet, I’ll work a shift by myself. We’re expanding so fast, but when I first saw this building, I knew immediately I wanted to turn it into an educational space. I had all these ideas, but I never dreamed we’d be able to do them so quickly.”
“And now it’s all happening.”
What Ariell’s Reading
Godshaper, by Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface
“It takes place in a world where the rules that govern science and technology stop working, so there are no modern conveniences. Instead, everyone has their own personal god that fulfills what technology used to. The class of people capable of shaping gods are godless themselves, and live as vagabonds, so there are interesting parallels with current events, mainly discussions about immigrant workers.”
Frostbite, by Joshua Williamson and Jason Shawn Alexander
“It’s a post-apocalyptic world where scientists were trying to fix global warming but they messed up and froze the world. The new currency’s heat, and frostbite is this highly contagious disease where people turn to ice. To reduce chances of spreading it, they have to burn entire cities down. It’s interesting because there are still people denying climate change today, and who knows where we’ll be in 20 years.”
Learn more about Fox School undergraduate programs.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business Department of Accounting is now accepting nominations for the Second Annual Accounting Achievement Awards, taking place on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia.
Alumni and professionals involved in the accounting, business, and/or academic communities are encouraged to nominate distinguished Temple graduates who stand out among their peers with their steadfast commitment to excellence in business, community support, and engagement for the following awards:
- Rising Star
- Public Accounting
- Community Service
- Lifetime Achievement
Eligible nominees include living alumni of Temple with a degree in Accounting and/or related graduate degree. The deadline for completed nomination forms is January 15, 2018.
Registration for the event will open in March 2018.
The Department of Accounting launched the annual Accounting Achievement Awards to engage with alumni, friends, and professionals in the Greater Philadelphia region, as well as support the next generation of accounting professionals. Net proceeds from the celebratory event fund the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, a scholarship created to support high-achieving accounting students in pursuing their undergraduate and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degrees.
“In 2018, both the Fox School and the Department of Accounting celebrate 100 years of business education and preparing leaders for successful careers. All alumni, corporate partners, and friends of the Fox School are encouraged to share in this singal event by nominating graduates who exemplify our tradition of excellence. Please join us at our celebratory event to support tomorrow’s accounting leaders,” said Eric Press, PhD, chairman of the Department of Accounting.
Nearly 275 guests gathered at the Hyatt at The Bellevue to honor five noteworthy alumni and raise approximately $150,000 for student scholarships at the First Annual Accounting Achievement Awards in 2017. Recipients included Ross S. Reiter, CPA, for the Rising Star Award; Lori F. Reiner, CPA, for the Public Accounting Award; Stanley C. Middleman for the Corporate Award; Anthony J. Conti, CPA, MBA for the Community Service Award; and James N. Solano, CPA, MBA, MS for the Lifetime Achievement Award. To learn more about each honoree, click his or her name to watch a video.
Know an outstanding Temple graduate? Nominate her or him today! The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2018.
“How do I make the most of my college experience?” is a question every new college student ponders. Mary Tang, a senior majoring in accounting at the Fox School of Business, has answers.
Tang formerly served as the president of the Temple University chapter of Ascend, a Student Professional Organization (SPO) that fosters Pan-Asian leadership across industries, and she is currently the president of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor society for accounting, finance, and information systems students.
Tang’s involvement in SPOs had a significant impact on her. After graduation next May, she’ll intern with KPMG, and then she plans to earn an MS in accountancy from Fox and become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). But her longterm goal is to stay involved with SPOs.
“For a while,” Tang says, “I thought I wanted to be a partner at a public accounting firm, and I could end up doing that. But since I’ve been so involved with SPOs on campus, I’ve worked with a lot of recruiters, so I know the recruiting process for public accounting firms, which are very specific processes, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’d love to work as a campus recruiter, for a campus organization, and help students in SPOs get internships and jobs. That would be really, really cool.”
From learning how to network with recruiters to becoming an SPO leader, Tang’s learned a ton about optimizing her college experience during her time at Fox and Temple. She shares this wisdom below.
5. Explore Philadelphia
“One thing students forget to do is explore the city,” says Lang. “Philadelphia is one of the best cities in the country and in the world, so it’s important to learn all the history behind it. There’s so much to do, not just in Center City, but many other parts of the city, too. I’m a lot busier now in my senior year, but freshman year is when you have the most time, so new students should take advantage and get to know Philly. I love South Philly. And I’m always in Chinatown; I recommend people go out and have some bubble tea.”
4. Use SEPTA
“Not many students have a car on campus, so SEPTA is the best way to explore Philadelphia. You could Uber and Lyft everywhere, sure, but if you’re going to college in a city, you need to learn how to use that city’s public transportation. Learning how to navigate the subway, trolley, bus, and trains will prepare you for getting to interviews, go out to dinner with friends, or whatever you need to do.”
3. Network/Ask People to Grab Lunch or Coffee
“Friends, classmates, anybody. If you’re at a networking event and you meet someone who’s interesting, definitely grab their business card, but also ask if you can shoot them an email, and ask if they’d like to get together for lunch or coffee. Every time I’ve asked a professional this, they’ve said, ‘Yes.’ I’ve gone on about 15 lunch dates with different professionals. It pays off in the long run.”
2. Talk to the People You See Every Day
“If you walk by someone in the dorm, or the hallway, or you see them in class every day, become friends with them. For business students, learning how to talk to everyone is important. And maybe one day you’ll need their help, or they’ll need your help, so it’s good to become friends with as many people as possible. Start learning how to network by talking to the person next to you in class. Maybe they’ll help you get a job one day, but it’s more important to talk to them like a human and get to know them first.”
1. Become an SPO Leader
“I was perfectly content with being a member of SPOs, but when I learned about the success stories of leaders, I knew I had to join the leadership. The former president of Ascend really challenged me to do and try new things and this helped me learn new skills. That’s when I learned being a leader is a great way to influence people and make a big impact. I knew I wanted to become one, and I did.”
Learn more about the Fox School’s Undergraduate Programs and the Department of Accounting.
Since its launch in 2015, the Fox School’s Young Accounting Alumni Group (YAAG) has hosted a variety of social networking events to enable young accounting professionals to connect and network.
Most recently, the nearly 300-member group met up at Yards Brewing Company for a chance to catch up over a pint and a tour with the brewery’s chief operating officer, Trevor Prichett.
Hosted last summer and sponsored by KPMG and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, the event brought together about 50 attendees, including young alumni and faculty members. The group networked and got the chance to hear about each other’s professional success over two complimentary Yards brews, a tour, and dinner.
“We held the event at Yards because we knew it would be an exciting opportunity for alumni to get together, hang out, drink beer, do a brewery tour, and have a business-focused conversation with a COO of a big beer company with local roots,” said Jonathan Reiter, BBA ’09, director of finance, budget and capital expenditures at Temple University, and co-founder of YAAG.
Participants got to listen in and join a discussion with Prichett on his background, what it takes to run a brewery, and how Yards handles increased competition in the industry.
“The best part about YAAG is it gives young accounting alumni a chance to reconnect,” said Jonathan. “We were all very close in college, and relationships shouldn’t end once you graduate. Professional connections in this industry mean everything, so re-connecting with professionals in our field can provide enormous benefits, both professionally and personally.”
Interested in getting involved with YAAG or sponsoring an event?
Eligible members include any person 35 years of age or younger who graduated from the Fox School of Business with a major in Accounting, or any person who graduated from Fox Accounting within the past seven years. Learn more about YAAG’s goals and objectives and connect with the group on LinkedIn and Facebook.
For Jeff Adeli, professional success is rooted in his ability to build relationships.
Adeli serves as a partner in the assurance practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Philadelphia office. He’s also the partner responsible for the firm’s recruiting relationships at Temple University, regularly bringing PwC to his alma mater for on-campus recruiting.
In his role, Adeli meets with accounting students at the Fox School of Business to determine if they will be a proper fit for PwC. But, as Adeli said, his ties to the students do not end there.
“You can’t understand a student’s goals, professional aspirations, and dreams by asking him or her about their GPA,” Adeli said. “What becomes important is your energy, personality, charisma, and ability to engage. I ask them about their interests, why they chose the Fox School, and whether they enjoy city living, for example. It’s in an attempt to deeply understand who these students are, beyond what you can learn about them from a number like GPA.”
Adeli relishes his work in this area, particularly because it returns him to Temple. The 43-year-old graduated from the Fox School in 1997, after earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. He said his business studies at the Fox School, coupled with his involvement in Beta Alpha Psi, one of the School’s accounting-based student-professional organizations, made him a more well-rounded graduate.
“I think Beta broadened my awareness of the accounting profession,” he said. “I was a first-generation college graduate who started as a non-declared liberal arts major in history. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, and accounting widened my scope and understanding of where I could go in life.”
Among his professional highlights, Adeli spent two years in Dusseldorf, Germany, working with one of PwC’s largest audit clients. Not only did the experience afford him the opportunity to broaden his cultural awareness and deepen his professional experience, but his wife Lori delivered one of their three children during their time abroad.
“Working abroad was one of the best life experiences I’ve ever enjoyed,” Adeli said. “I had an opportunity to work in Germany and I jumped at it. The students I speak with today are always interested in that bullet point on my resume, and I tell them that my opportunity (to work in Germany) came about through upholding a continuous level of high performance and always looking to grow my career.”
Today, Adeli has 20 years of experience working with clients in a broad range of industries, including consumer products, technology, telecommunications, and more. He has worked with SEC registrants, large privately-held companies, and private equity and venture capital funds.
And as a member of the Accounting Circle, a group of noteworthy business leaders who support excellence in accounting education at the Fox School, he has more than one opportunity to contribute to the future of accounting students at Temple.
“It’s incredible to watch the growth and development of Temple University from up close,” he said. “The campus looks much different from when I attended, and it’s exciting to see the changes and evolution of it into a world-class university. I love the opportunity to come back; I truly do.”
The following three Accounting students share insight into the impact of financial assistance on their academic and professional careers. Hear about their experiences at the Fox School and the significance of the scholarships they received to pursue their degrees.
Make your contribution to scholarship funds and support the next generation of accounting professionals.
Andrew Drake, Class of 2018
“I received a full scholarship from the Fox School of Business and that’s really allowed me to pursue my passion in accounting and finance.”
Anna Palutis, BBA ’16 and MAcc ’17
“If it wasn’t for those scholarships, I wouldn’t have joined the MAcc program. Without the MAcc program, I wouldn’t have already passed four parts of the CPA Exam, wouldn’t have been able to gain all the credits that I needed to be a CPA, meet the awesome faculty or [receive] the resources I now have.”
Kuntal Patel, BBA ’17 and MAcc Class of 2018
“A lot of time people think a scholarship is just money; it’s not. It’s being recognized for what you’ve done and knowing that there are people there who want to support you in your dreams and in your goals. It really motivates you to want to achieve more, and maybe down the line even give back in your own way.”
The Fox School’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program, now in its sixth year, continues to maintain a track record of successful career outcomes, with 96% of the latest class of graduates earning placements at Big Four, national, and regional accounting firms.
Launched in 2011, the MAcc program has grown from 22 students in its first cohort to 44 in this year’s cohort, with 96% of the current cohort earning positions at 12 different firms across various specialties, including audit, asset and investment management, and tax.
“The Fox MAcc program is committed to securing strong employment outcomes for our graduates,” said Sheri Risler, CPA, director of the Fox MAcc program and professor of accounting practice. “Our program maintains a strong reputation among leading firms with its No. 1 ranking from the Public Accounting Report in the Greater Philadelphia region, a CPA Exam passing rate that exceeds the national average, and courses and opportunities outside the classroom that are geared toward enhancing career results.”
Over the course of three semesters, students in the MAcc program become both CPA- and career-ready with a curriculum that includes review courses and sittings for all four parts of the CPA Exam, as well as top-tier job placement resources and partnerships with major firms. In addition to earning the 30 credit hours that count toward CPA licensure requirements, students receive invaluable networking and professional opportunities, like weekly guest speakers and a trip to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in Washington, D.C.
“The Fox MAcc program has really focused on our professional development from a career standpoint while also giving us the tools to pass all four parts of the CPA Exam,” said Carolyn Roughton, a future MAcc graduate who is starting her career with EY as a financial services assurance staff member in October 2017. “Because of the structure of the MAcc program, I was able to pass three parts of my CPA by March 2017, giving me plenty of time to study and pass my last part before I start work full-time. The program has also created an environment that prepared me for my career by having weekly guest speakers and challenging group projects.”
Thanks to efforts from MAcc faculty and the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), recruitment and networking events abound with leading accounting firms, including the Big Four firms. More than half of this year’s job placements are within Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC.
EY is enjoying a particularly successful year, with 10 of the current cohort joining the firm after graduation. Joe Santulli, campus recruiter for EY, credits this high placement to MAcc students being “well prepared for situations they will face on the job due to the real world-oriented curriculum” of the program.
“MAcc students tend to be more prepared for the working world than many students from other schools,” said Santulli. “In our audit hires, a very valuable quality is being able to research a problem first and MAcc students understand how to research very well!”
MAcc students continue to be in great demand among regional accounting firms that have an active recruiting presence at the Fox School, including BDO, EisnerAmper, Grant Thornton, Protiviti, and RSM. New to the placement list is Protiviti, where Natasha Lahovski will specialize in a concentration unique among her classmates this year — internal audit.
Congratulations to the MAcc Class of 2016-2017 and good luck in your future careers!
Rodrigue Adjovi — EY – Audit
Collin Branch — Crowe Howarth – Asset and Investment Management
James Brott— EY – Audit
David Bucior — BDO – Audit
Mariya Chernaya — EY – Audit
Chase Coleman — BDO – Audit
Ryan Day — KPMG – Audit
Gianna Decarvalho — EY – Audit
Christopher Dellaquilla — EY – Audit
Tyler Delong — GT – Audit
Marianne DiLegro — EisnerAmper – Tax
Jordan Fash — EY – Audit
Florance Febriyani — PwC – Tax
Ryan Healy — EY – Audit
Patrick Horton — RSM – Audit
Ashley Jackson — Deloitte – Audit
Natasha Lahovski — Protiviti – Internal Audit
Waishan Lee — GT – Audit
Daniel Leiby — PwC – Audit
Thomas Lukman — Deloitte – Tax
Mark Monacelli — RSM – Audit
Frankline Odongo — EY – Audit
Anna Palutis — PwC – Audit
Kelsey Penney — GT – Audit
Robert Radzinski — GT – Tax
Seung-Gyu Rim — PwC – Audit
Harry Rosenberg — PwC – Audit
Carolyn Roughton — EY – Audit
Brandon Sood — GT – Tax
Savanna Spott — PwC – Audit
Matthew Sullivan — GT – Audit
Wenyu (Wendy) Sun — Deloitte – Tax
Stephanie Terinoni — Comcast
Damjan Treshaj — EY – Audit
Madison Walley — Deloitte – Tax
Wesley Wasserman — Weiser – Audit
Alex Zatratz — PwC – Tax
For the 10th consecutive year, students, faculty, and alumni of the Fox School’s Department of Accounting assisted low-income members of the Philadelphia community by filing their income-tax returns for free through Temple University’s chapter of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
VITA is a nationwide organization regulated by the IRS that works with families that make less than $53,000 a year. Temple’s VITA program launched in 2007 to help the community in central Montgomery County, where no similar programs existed at the time, according to Steven Balsam, an Accounting professor and the director of the program.
Based at Temple’s Ambler Campus, participants have offered their expertise on Saturdays from January through the end of the busy season in April. This year, more than 60 preparers claimed nearly half a million dollars in refunds on behalf of their more than 400 clients.
“Over the years, we’ve established relationships with our clientele, many of whom come year after year,” said Dr. Balsam. “In one particularly memorable case, while doing his tax return, we discovered an elderly client had not filed for several years. Two volunteers went beyond the call of duty and met with him several times into May to file back tax returns and get him thousands of dollars in refunds.”
To qualify for the VITA program, a client’s annual household income must not exceed $54,000 (whether filing independently or jointly). A client also is not eligible if he or she owns rental property or a business.
Students submit to several weeks of training to participate in the VITA program. In exchange, they receive a valuable learning experience, as well as the gratification of helping those in need.
“Last tax season, I got to know my clients while I prepared their returns, which only increased the level of satisfaction I took away from my experience,” said student Jacob Zenisek. “It was uplifting to hear how they benefited as a result of our service.”
The customer service provided by Fox students, said Dorothy Middleton, is unmatched.
“Last year, I met a student who was doing everything he could for me,” said Middleton, who has used the VITA program for a number of years. “He was researching and calculating over and over again. Later on, another student told me that he had skipped his lunch to help me on my return. That is wonderful customer service.”
Accounting alumni are encouraged to help support the department’s efforts to have a significant, positive impact in the Philadelphia region by becoming a volunteer for a future tax season. Learn more and get involved.
Alumni of the Fox School of Business at Temple University gathered with business leaders and guests at the First Annual Accounting Achievement Awards on April 25, 2017, to celebrate their shared Fox School heritage and honor five noteworthy graduates of the Department of Accounting.
The inaugural event provided a great opportunity for the Fox School community to connect with fellow alumni from classes spanning 50 years, as well as make new industry contacts, meet current faculty and students, and learn about the recent achievements of the Department of Accounting at the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia.
Among the nearly 275 guests were five alumni who received awards reflective of their impressive professional careers and civic service in the Greater Philadelphia region:
- Rising Star Award — Ross S. Reiter, CPA, Senior Manager, KPMG
- Public Accounting Award — Lori F. Reiner, CPA, Partner-In-Charge, EisnerAmper LLP, Philadelphia Office
- Corporate Award — Stanley C. Middleman, President and CEO, Freedom Mortgage
- Community Service Award — Anthony J. Conti, CPA, MBA, Managing Partner, Retired, PwC, Philadelphia Office
- Lifetime Achievement Award — James N. Solano, CPA, MBA, MS, Professor and Sports Agent
The excitement of the honorees was obvious and their positive energy contagious as each expressed appreciation for the Fox School and enthusiasm for their alma mater recognizing them as the inaugural award winners.
“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized by Temple University,” shared Stanley Middleman, president and CEO of Freedom Mortgage, as he received the Corporate Award. “To be a part of the first Accounting Achievement Awards is extraordinarily important and I feel especially honored because, as I’ve told my children and tell people everywhere I go, accounting is the language of business.”
“It’s great to be part of the class that is the first class,” followed Anthony Conti as he accepted the Community Service Award with two of his grandchildren. Conti ended his speech with a request for all audience members involved in community service to stand, stating “I applaud Temple for recognizing community service. We’re here on your behalf accepting for you. Stay involved in the community, continue to give back, and give yourselves a round of applause; you certainly deserve it.”
In addition to engaging and reconnecting with alumni and friends, attendees also supported the next generation of accounting professionals by raising more than $150,000 for the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, a new scholarship created to support high-achieving accounting students in pursuing their undergraduate and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degrees.
“The First Annual Accounting Achievement Awards was a great occasion not only for honorees and guests, but also for hosts. The event let us engage and reconnect with alumni and friends of the Fox School who have helped shape and support the business school’s time-honored tradition of preparing business leaders for successful careers,” said Eric Press, PhD, chairman of the Department of Accounting. “It was a pleasure to see our current faculty and students interact with alumni, hear about the success they’re enjoying in their careers, and share memories, experiences, and ideas for the future.”
The Second Annual Accounting Achievement Awards is slated to take place in May 2018. The nomination process will open in Fall 2017 at fox.temple.edu/accountingawards.
To support the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, contribute online at giving.temple.edu/givetoaccounting. Learn more below about this year’s winners and their connection and affinity for the Fox School.
2017 Accounting Achievement Award Recipients
Ross S. Reiter, CPA, received the Rising Star Award, presented to a public or private accounting professional who has demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to the Fox School. Reiter, BBA ’09, is a senior manager at KPMG’s tax consulting practice in Philadelphia.
Lori F. Reiner, CPA, was presented with the Public Accounting Award for outstanding success in the public accounting sector. Reiner, BBA ’86, is partner-in-charge of the Philadelphia practice of EisnerAmper LLP, specializing in providing accounting, auditing, and advisory services to closely held and private equity-backed companies.
Stanley C. Middleman received the Corporate Award, presented to executive-level professionals in the non-public accounting profession who have shown excellence in the areas of financial reporting, accounting, and/or tax expertise. Middleman, BS ’76, is the founder and CEO of Freedom Mortgage Corporation, a national mortgage banker headquartered in Mount Laurel, N.J.
Anthony J. Conti, CPA, MBA, was celebrated with the Community Service Award for outstanding contributions to the accounting profession and local communities. Conti, MBA ’73, maintains an active civic career following retirement from a 36-year career with PwC, including 29 years as a partner. He has served the Philadelphia community in several civic leadership positions, including interim president and CEO of the United Way on a volunteer basis.
James N. Solano, CPA, MBA, MS, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to professionals who advance the accounting profession through sustained leadership in public accounting, business, or academic communities. Solano, BS ’66, MBA ’68, MS ’79, has had a distinguished 48-year career in the Philadelphia area, successfully balancing his professional career as an accounting professor, practicing CPA, and professional sports agent with active involvement in community service as a founder of two charitable foundations.
The Fox School of Business will honor five accounting alumni who are business leaders in the Greater Philadelphia region at the first annual Accounting Achievement Awards on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at the Hyatt at The Bellevue.
Hosted by the Department of Accounting, the inaugural event will recognize the following alumni with awards reflective of their professional careers and civic service: Ross S. Reiter, CPA; Lori F. Reiner, CPA; Anthony J. Conti, CPA, MBA; Stanley C. Middleman; and James N. Solano, CPA, MBA, MS.
Ross S. Reiter, CPA, will receive the Rising Star Award, presented to a public or private accounting professional who has demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to the Fox School. Reiter, BBA ’09, is a senior manager at KPMG’s tax consulting practice in Philadelphia.
Lori F. Reiner, CPA, will be presented with the Public Accounting Award for outstanding success in the public accounting sector. Reiner, BBA ’86, is partner-in-charge of the Philadelphia practice of EisnerAmper LLP, specializing in providing accounting, auditing, and advisory services to closely held and private equity-backed companies.
Stanley C. Middleman will receive the Corporate Award, presented to executive-level professionals in the non-public accounting profession who have shown excellence in the areas of financial reporting, accounting, and/or tax expertise. Middleman, BS ’76, is the founder and CEO of Freedom Mortgage Corporation, a national mortgage banker headquartered in Mount Laurel, N.J.
Anthony J. Conti, CPA, MBA, will be celebrated with the Community Service Award for outstanding contributions to the accounting profession and local communities. Conti, MBA ’73, maintains an active civic career following retirement from a 36-year career with PwC, including 29 years as a partner. He has served the Philadelphia community in several civic leadership positions, including interim president and CEO of the United Way on a volunteer basis.
James N. Solano, CPA, MBA, MS, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to professionals who advance the accounting profession through sustained leadership in public accounting, business, or academic communities. Solano, BS ’66, MBA ’68, MS ’79, has had a distinguished 48-year career in the Philadelphia area, successfully balancing his professional career as an accounting professor, practicing CPA, and professional sports agent with active involvement in community service as a founder of two charitable foundations.
In addition to celebrating the storied careers and community involvement of alumni, the Accounting Achievement Awards event goes a step beyond traditional alma mater recognition by providing current and new students access to higher education. The event serves as a kick-off to the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, a new scholarship created to support high-achieving accounting students in pursuing their undergraduate and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degrees, funded by the net proceeds from the event.
“The Fox School of Business Department of Accounting Achievement Awards celebrate our outstanding alumni who excel professionally and make impressive contributions to their communities,” said Eric Press, chairman of the Department of Accounting. “We’re proud of this year’s winners and their connection to the Fox School. Using the proceeds from this event to support the Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, we will assist future accounting professionals in reaching the high level of success attained by the winners of this inaugural event.”
Read more about the event and honorees at fox.temple.edu/accountingawards.
High-achieving students and alumni of the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program at the Fox School of Business continue to outperform the competition with CPA pass rates well above the U.S. average. Continuing a record of signal performance, recent graduate Joseph T. Pickett is one of the top 15 scorers on the 2016 CPA exam in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants released 2016 statistics from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and congratulated state examinees with top results in February 2017. The highest scores among Pennsylvania examinees are determined by combining individual scores on the four sections of the exam: Auditing and Attestation; Business Environment and Concepts; Financial Accounting and Reporting; and Regulation. In 2016, the top 15 scorers in Pennsylvania earned an average score of 95.25.
Pickett graduated from the Fox School MAcc program in September 2016 and the undergraduate accounting program in 2015. He is currently an audit associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
“Congratulations to Joseph on receiving such an impressive score. This accomplishment is a fitting return for all the hard work and commitment he dedicated to his studies and preparation for the CPA exam while in the Fox School one-year MAcc program,” said Sheri Risler, director of the Fox School MAcc program and professor of accounting practice. “The Department of Accounting is proud of the outstanding caliber of our graduates. Joseph’s high score is a testament to the quality of MAcc students and the merits of the program’s curriculum.”
Since the program’s launch in 2011, Fox School MAcc students who took the CPA exam passed at a rate of 70 percent—far in excess of average national pass rates of 45–55 percent. This year marked the second year in a row Fox School alumni were among the highest CPA exam scorers in Pennsylvania. Christopher Bohdan, Jr., MAcc ’15 and BBA ’14, and Boris Furer, MAcc ’15 and BBA ’14, earned top marks in 2015. Christopher is an audit associate at Deloitte and Boris is an audit associate at EY, both in Philadelphia.
During the three semesters of the MAcc program, students are provided with the tools to become both CPA-ready and career-ready. The 30-credit, full-time program includes built-in CPA exam review courses, as well as the Fox School’s top-tier job placement resources and partnerships with Big Four, national, and regional firms.
“The Fox School and the MAcc program prepared me very well for my career and the CPA exam by facilitating the development of my soft skills in addition to my technical accounting abilities. The MAcc program in particular is the perfect stepping stone towards success on the CPA exam, as each semester focuses on a particular portion of the exam,” said Joseph. “I would not be in the position I am today without the education I received at the Fox School and in the MAcc program.”
In 2016, the MAcc program demonstrated it’s the best place in the region to launch an accounting career and one of the leading programs in the United States, with a 96-percent job-placement rate and No. 1 ranking in Greater Philadelphia, according to the Public Accounting Report (PAR).
For the 10th straight year, students from Temple University are assisting low-income members of the community by filing their income-tax returns for free.
Accounting students from Temple’s Fox School of Business give their time and offer their expertise each Saturday, from Feb. 4 to April 8, to assist members of the local community in filing their state and federal income tax returns. (The 2017 tax return deadline is Tuesday, April 18.)
Temple’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program operates on Temple University’s Ambler Campus. In 2016, more than $437,000 in tax refunds were issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to the 379 clients supported by Fox School accounting majors.
“Over the years, we’ve established relationships with our clientele, many of whom come year after year,” said Dr. Steven Balsam, Professor of Accounting and Director of the VITA program. “In some cases, our service does not end with tax season. Our clients contact me about letters they receive from the IRS, state, and local authorities throughout the year.
“In one particularly memorable case, while doing his tax return, we discovered an elderly client had not filed for several years. Two volunteers went beyond the call of duty and met with him several times into May to file back tax returns and get him thousands in refunds.”
To qualify for the VITA program, a client’s annual household income must not exceed $54,000 (whether filing independently or jointly). A client also is not eligible if he or she owns rental property or owns a business. Clients can schedule an appointment by visiting fox.temple.edu/vita, emailing email@example.com, or calling 215-326-9519.
Fox School of Business students submit to several weeks of training in order to participate in the VITA program. In exchange, they receive a valuable learning experience – and the gratification of helping those in need.
“Last tax season, I got to know my clients while I prepared their returns, which only increased the level of satisfaction I took away from my experience,” said junior Jacob Zenisek. “It was uplifting to hear how they benefited as a result of our service.”
The customer service provided by Fox students, said Dorothy Middleton, is unmatched.
“Last year, I met a student who was doing everything he could for me,” said Middleton, who has used the VITA program for a number of years. “He was researching and calculating over and over again. Later on, another student told me that he had skipped his lunch to help me on my return. That is wonderful customer service.”
The undergraduate accounting program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business improved 17 places to earn a No. 30 national ranking, and is ranked No. 9 among programs of similar size, according to new rankings released by the Public Accounting Report.
The Public Accounting Report (PAR) also ranked Fox’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program No. 40 in the United States.
The PAR 35th annual Professors Survey, published August 2016, is the nation’s only survey that allows accounting professors to rank the nation’s best accounting programs. According to the PAR, hundreds of professors from the nation’s top colleges and universities participated in this year’s survey, which was conducted in April.
At the undergraduate level, the Fox School’s accounting program jumped 17 places from last year’s ranking to enter the PAR’s top 30. Among programs with between 16 and 21 full-time faculty, Fox is ranked No. 9 in the nation – an improvement of nine spots from the PAR’s 2015 report.
Fox’s MAcc program is ranked No. 1 in the Greater Philadelphia region, and No. 12 in the nation among programs of its size, according to the PAR.
“These rankings are pleasing facts, since the PAR rankings are compilations of accounting professors’ opinions,” said Dr. Eric Press, Chairman of the Fox School’s Department of Accounting. “These rankings reflect the esteem with which colleagues at other business schools hold our program.”
The Department of Accounting is the largest at Temple’s Fox School of Business, with more than 1,200 students enrolled across undergraduate, masters, and PhD programs. It is home to 21 full-time and 18 part-time faculty.
Students within the MAcc program have achieved a 96-percent job placement rate in public accounting positions within three months of graduate, since the program’s launch in 2011. MAcc students boast a 70-percent CPA exam pass rates, far exceeding the Uniform CPA Examination Passing Rates, and more than half of Fox MAcc graduates attain job placements at one of the Big Four accounting firms.
“The MAcc program’s inclusion in Public Accounting Report’s ranking demonstrates our place as the best in the region, and as one of the leading programs in the nation,” said Sheri Risler, Fox MAcc program director. “It’s also recognition of our continued growth and sustained excellence dating to 2011, when our program was founded.”
The Fox School of Business at Temple University adds to its growing number of endowed chairs and professorships with the creation of the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy.
This distinguished chair was created through a $2 million gift from Saul A. Fox, SMC ’75, in honor of his father, Jerome Fox. The late Jerome Fox was a World War II veteran, a certified public accountant, and the founder of the former Philadelphia accounting firm Gelrod Fox & Company. This chair is to be held by high-level practitioners of accounting, taxation and financial strategy, who hold the same zeal for these areas of academic focus as Fox did.
“My father was an accountant by trade, but he viewed a position as a high school history teacher as perhaps his highest calling,” Saul Fox said. “Though he chose a different career path, my father equally valued the accounting industry and the role of education in our society. The establishment of this distinguished chair at the Fox School of Business melds my father’s two lifelong passions and honors his memory as a successful accounting practitioner.”
Following an extensive global search, Dr. David E. Jones in July 2015 was appointed an Associate Professor of Accounting at the Fox School and the inaugural holder of the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy.
With more than 35 years of public accounting experience, Jones has worked with Ernst & Young LLP as a tax partner in Atlanta, Orlando, Indianapolis and Cleveland. He became the U.S. National Tax Leader and Global CEO of the GEMS (Global Mobility) Tax Practice at Ernst & Young. He has significant Big Four managerial leadership and global tax experience at Ernst & Young in the U.S. Jones has served large SEC tax clients, individuals with high net worth and entrepreneurial ventures.
Jones, who has presented at regional or national conferences, conducts behavioral research on tax professionals, and legal tax research, especially on international and domestic tax topics. His research explores issues that impact taxpayers and tax professionals as well as tax policy matters of importance. He has published in academic and practice oriented journals.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Auburn University, a Master of Taxation degree from Georgia State University, and a Doctor of Management degree from Case Western Reserve University.
Saul Fox will visit Temple University’s Fox School of Business Wednesday, Nov. 18, for a Jerome Fox Chair Talk and Reception event, to be attended by Dr. Neil D. Theobald, Temple University President, and Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School.