Sometimes ideas for academic research can come from the unlikeliest of places. Like out of your earbuds.
Hilal Atasoy, assistant professor in the Department of Accounting at the Fox School, was hardly expecting to discover a subject that would lead to years of study while listening to a podcast, but that is exactly what happened.
“I was listening to a story about a cancer patient,” says Atasoy. In addition to being physically and emotionally difficult, having cancer can be costly. The patient explained that during her treatment she had moved and had to change hospitals and doctors several times because of her relocation and other reasons.
“She was saying how difficult it was to keep transferring her tests, results, procedures, and other records. She had to go through this ordeal again and again,” recalls Atasoy. Finally, the patient landed at a hospital with a good electronic health records (EHR) system, and she didn’t need to go to any extra trouble or expense anymore.
That got Atasoy thinking. Since the HITECH Act of 2009 made the migration of patient information from paper files to electronic health records mandatory, many studies have investigated whether this shift actually benefits hospitals, as electronic health records systems are costly to implement.
The results of previous research, particularly around healthcare costs, have been inconclusive. Studies point to the likelihood that costs actually go up—not down—as electronic health records systems are put into practice, at least for the individual hospital in question. But Atasoy’s research looks beyond the adopting hospital to the region surrounding it. “The question we’re asking in the study is whether the impacts of the electronic health records go beyond the adopting hospital.”
It’s common for someone to have a dermatologist at one hospital, get a mammogram at a different hospital, and see a primary care doctor affiliated with a yet a third institution, especially if that person lives in a city. When you factor in the costs at not only the individual hospital that adopted EHRs but also the costs at surrounding hospitals where there are shared patients, Atasoy has found that there is a marked cost-saving benefit after all. Estimates suggest that if one hospital in each area adopts an EHR system, it would add up to a net reduction of $18 billion in healthcare costs nationwide.
To conduct her research, Atasoy relied on several data sets. “We tracked information about the adoption of electronic health records systems at almost all the hospitals in the U.S. from 1998 to 2012,” she says. She also used Medicare data, census data, and HIMSS data (a dataset that comprises information about EHR use across the country). Atasoy and her team used statistical analysis software to interpret the numbers and come to their conclusions about the costs and benefits of EHR beyond the walls of any one hospital. Her research was published last year in the journal Management Science.
Atasoy notes that implications for her research extend beyond the healthcare sector. “It shows the importance of connections across different organizations. Businesses might be connected, for example, through shared customers,” she says. “Obviously, the firms are focused on their customers and their purchases and all the information they have on their customers right within their business, but there are many organizations that share customers or share suppliers. They have these connections.”
Her work on hospital-level data led into her current research, which focuses on patient-level data and seeks to identify the cost and quality of care benefits that could come with the widespread sharing of EHR between health institutions. “We’ve learned that only 20 percent of doctors use electronic health records, and what we’ve seen suggests that there are significant benefits to patients when doctors do use them,” says Atasoy. This seems to be especially true for patients living with chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
Atasoy hopes her research will help spark a discussion about the value of hassle-free information reciprocity at hospitals, something that, on a policy level, she believes needs to be incentivized. Just as she began to look at the bigger picture, viewing hospitals regionally as a group and not individually, viewing a patient’s multi-year health journey and not just a single procedure, she hopes hospital administrators will zoom out, too.
“One big problem with healthcare in the United States is that it’s very fragmented,” says Atasoy. Her work reveals that a hospital isn’t an island and that the free flow of information will ultimately benefit everyone’s bottom line.
This story was originally published in On the Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
The spring semester was busy for the students for the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program; the MAcc students used the past semester to learn about career management from Al Chiaradonna, visit Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and finalized their post-graduation employment plans.
Al Chiaradonna, a senior vice president at SEI and Temple University alumnus, presented during a MAcc Colloquium on Feb. 21 about century career management. He has spoken all over the world on topics ranging from industry dynamics and global talent management to leadership, business strategy, change management and work-life integration.
Speaking to the MAcc class, Al talked about his personal career journey and provided key career advice. He encouraged students to focus on learning opportunities and to chase experiences, not titles. He also discussed how the students must embrace technology as it is changing the working environment and allowing for more flexibility in the workplace. The empowering conversation was appreciated by the students, who asked many follow-up questions about managing their careers in accounting.
The following month, the MAcc class spent a full day Washington, D.C. visiting the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The students visited the offices of both organizations and heard about audit and regulatory issues from PCAOB and SEC representatives. This is the eighth visit by the Fox School MAcc program to these agencies.
The MAcc students graduate in September 2019 and are ready to enter the workforce. Nearly all students have secured jobs.
|Jonathan Angeline||Ernst & Young (EY)|
|Joseph Cannella||Kreischer Miller|
|Zaynub Cheema||PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)|
|Walter Chrobocinski||Veralon Partners|
|Bryan King||Grant Thornton|
|Trung (Tony) Le||PwC|
|Alamelu Mangai Sockalingam||RSM|
|Matthew Thompson||Baker Tilly|
|Xiqing (Claire) Xu||Deloitte|
|Wendolyn Yang||Mitchell & Titus|
Congratulations to the 2019 MAcc class! The next cohort starts in Fall 2019.
Greetings from Alter Hall! Here is the Spring 2019 Footnotes from Fox. What have students, faculty and our alumni been up to? We search out and dispense the news about department doings to loyal readers.
Probably still abuzz are the minds of attendees with warm memories from the Third Annual Accounting Achievement Awards dinner, held May 1, 2019 at The Lucy by Cescaphe. We hosted over 260 guests, including Temple University Provost JoAnne Epps, the Fox School Interim Dean Ron Anderson and most of the members of the Accounting Circle Executive Committee. This was both the most successful and most fun of the three of these events we’ve held. Six Fox alumni were recognized during the festivities. A story in the newsletter provides more revelations and photos.
Our MAcc students are at it again — earning top scores on the CPA Exam! This time it’s Valerie Brooks, Melissa Cameron and Colleen Diehl. Melissa, now an audit associate with Deloitte, says, “Having three of the fifteen top scorers in the state in our cohort is a testament to what we gained from the MAcc program.” Thanks for your apt acknowledgement.
Joshua Khavis, a 2019 Accounting PhD graduate, will joining the faculty at University at Buffalo SUNY in the fall after he defends his dissertation at the Fox School during the summer. Congratulations are due, Joshua — you’ve done us proud. Read more about his accomplishments within.
Rita Cheng, president of Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, is another successful alumna from the department’s accounting PhD program. The Fox School recognized her this spring with its inaugural PhD Alumni Diamond Award. This and more stories await you within.
This is the 20th edition of Footnotes from Fox that I’ve signed off as Chairman. Having scored a score of newsletters, I am about to depart for a sabbatical year in 2019 – 2020. Elizabeth (Betsy) Gordon will begin as the new head of the Fox School Department of Accounting on July 1, 2019.
It’s been an honor to have led the Department of Accounting for 13 years. I am sure Betsy is capably prepared to don the mantle of leadership. There’s a story to come on her thoughts about and vision for the department.
I want to acknowledge my colleague Sheri Risler. She has been continuously helpful, nudging and urging in the right combination, and has been a glue that kept the production of this newsletter going for 10 years. I could not have done it without her!
As is ever the case, you get full disclosure when you read Footnotes from Fox.
In recognition of its 100th anniversary, Temple University’s Fox School of Business selected honorees—entrepreneurs, visionaries and disruptors—who helped shape the school and the business world since 1918. These accomplished alumni and donors have been commemorated on the Fox 100 Wall of Honor in the lobby of 1810 Liacouras Walk. Nineteen of the honorees are alumni of the Department of Accounting.
“The Centennial Honorees succeeded over the past century because they were persistent and because they were innovators at heart,” says Ronald Anderson, interim dean, Fox School of Business. “Many of their stories contain consistent themes—including originality, service and generosity. All of these people have impacted the Fox School in uniquely profound ways—through their involvement, commitment and a strong belief in innovation.”
To celebrate, the school hosted the Fox Centennial Honorees Reception on Thursday, April 25. Eleven accounting alumni were present to accept awards from Dean Anderson. The honorees in attendance included: Rita Hartung Cheng, PhD ‘88; Harris Devor, BBA ‘73; Morton Goldfield, BS ‘49; H. Richard Haverstick Jr., BBA ‘74; Wayne Leevy, BBA ‘66, MBA ‘97; Stanley Merves, BS ‘51; Bernard Milano, BS ‘61; Larry Miller, BBA ‘82; Lori Reiner, BBA ‘86; Jane Scaccetti, BBA ‘77; and Johnny Young, BS ‘66.
Additional alumni included in the list of Centennial Honorees include: Gustav Auzenne Jr., BS ‘26; Kathleen Bock, BBA ‘86; Cosmo DeNicola, BBA ‘76; Irwin L. Gross, BS ‘65; Stanley C. Middleman, BS ‘76; Robert Tarola, BBA ‘73; Edna S. Tuttleman, BS ‘42; and Albert Zanger, BS ‘47.
Joshua Khavis, PhD ’19, Joins the University at Buffalo SUNY
Joshua Khavis will join the faculty of University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, as assistant professor this fall. He joined the PhD Program in 2014. Khavis received his masters degree in Taxation from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. He also holds a dual BBA degree in Finance and Information Systems from Pace University. After finishing Pace, Khavis was awarded the prestigious U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to conducted capital markets research in Israel for a year. Khavis was part of the NYC startup scene where he oversaw operations, accounting and finance for a number of startups. He has also worked in the fixed income technology division at Barclays Investment Bank. His research interests are in capital markets and financial accounting.
PhD Alumna Recognized with First PhD Alumni Diamond Award
Rita Cheng, president of Northern Arizona University, was honored with the inaugural PhD Alumni Diamond Award. In 1988, Cheng earned a PhD in management, with a concentration in accounting, from Temple University. Her career began as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where she ultimately became Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Following this position, she became Chancellor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and subsequently President of Northern Arizona University. Cheng is a certified public accountant and a certified government financial manager. She is internationally recognized for her research in government and nonprofit accounting and serves on a variety of boards, including the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors.
Executive Committee Welcomes Five New Members
New members include Al Chiaradonna, senior vice president at SEI; Ron Kapusta, controller and chief accounting office of Johnson & Johnson; Nicholas Pfeiffer, vice president at FMC Corporation; Thomas Ruchubinski, corporate controller of Wawa, Inc.; and Paul Kinmartin, partner at Baker Tilly. Established in 2009, the Accounting Circle comprises business leaders who support excellence in accounting education at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Members provide inspiration, leadership, and private gift support that are vital to keeping accounting education at the cutting edge of students’ educational experience. The committee met on campus on May 7 and received updates on the Fox School Strategic Plan, the Third Annual Accounting Achievement Awards and more. Learn about more about the Accounting Circle.
Young Accounting Alumni Group Rebuilds
The Young Accounting Alumni Group is relaunching this spring with new leadership and a kick-off event this spring. Are you an alum who is 35 years old or younger (or within seven years of graduating)? Stay in touch – update your contact information online or join our LinkedIn Group.
In the Winter 2018 issue of Fox Focus, readers were introduced to a group of Fox students who were among the first to participate in the school’s new and improved Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Core Curriculum. The curriculum was redesigned with innovation in mind and focuses on topics such as critical thinking, communication and quantitative reasoning skills.
Fox undergraduate students use these skills every day. The editorial team checked in with Nasir Mack, Meredith Orme and Robert Zurzolo to see what has changed for each of them in the last year.
Nasir Mack, a business management major, has taken on more leadership roles in his extracurricular activities. He is now the strategic partnership coordinator of the Fox Student Philanthropic Society, and he is involved with the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, which is a diverse group of students working shape the school’s culture. He is also starting to explore whether he wants to major or minor in something that will build upon his creative, artistic side, such as Marketing.
“Last year, I was constantly grinding away and pushing for more and more. Now that I am more comfortable in myself and my education, I am learning to stride and pace myself,” Mack says.
Meredith Orme, now double majoring in accounting and legal studies, is involved with student professional organizations (SPOs) on campus and is an intern for the Philadelphia Flyers. Since her freshman year, Orme discovered that she is interested in a career in forensic accounting.
“While my classes have taught me a lot, I think the most important skill I have learned is how to present myself,” Orme says. “I am much more sure of myself and confident in who I am and what I want. I am not only more confident in how I present myself, but in my set of skills. I’ve also learned how to communicate effectively and how to be much more straightforward.”
Robert Zurzolo, after changing his major a few times over the course of the last year, decided on double majoring in finance and accounting in order to pursue a career in investment banking or private equity. Currently, Zurzolo is studying abroad at Temple University’s campus in Rome, Italy. In addition to attending classes and exploring Europe, he has gotten back to his hobby of playing soccer.
“I feel that I have grown as a student; I take more pride in my assignments,” he says. “During my time abroad I have become more appreciative of the opportunities that I have been given, both here and back at home, and it has also reaffirmed my desire to travel as much as possible in the future.”
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
Graduates of the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) 2018 cohort Valerie Brooks, Melissa Cameron and Colleen Diehl are among the top fifteen scorers on the CPA Exam in Pennsylvania for 2018, according to NASBA. The top scorers are individuals whose combined scores on all four sections of the exam were the highest of all state exam takers last year.
“I’m very proud of having passed the CPA exam, and passing as top scorer is icing on the cake!” says Melissa Cameron, now an Audit Associate with Deloitte. “Having three of the fifteen top scorers in the state in our cohort is a testament to what we gained from the MAcc program: Technical foundations, access to professors and teachers with on-the-ground experiences and willingness to share, and collegial support from a group of people working towards the same goals.”
Upon graduation, Valerie Brooks joined Grant Thornton as a tax associate and Colleen Diehl accepted a position as an assurance associate with PwC in Philadelphia.
Three other Fox School alumni—Christopher Bohdan, Jr., MAcc ’15, Boris Furer, MAcc ’15 and Joseph T. Pickett, MAcc ’16—have also been among the highest CPA exam scorers in Pennsylvania.
During the one-year 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 time for CPA exam review courses and exam sittings, as well as access to the Fox School’s job placement resources and relationships with Big Four, national and regional firms.
Reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania CPA Journal, a publication of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Blockchain is considered one of the most significant advances in record keeping since double-entry bookkeeping emerged in Italy in the 15th century. There may be differing opinions on the rate of adoption, but the view is widespread that blockchain has the potential to dramatically change the way business will be conducted. It is imperative that accounting educators expose students to this technology. This column offers strategies for introducing blockchain content into the accounting curriculum and helping ensure accounting education remains current for future CPAs.
What Is Blockchain?
A generally accepted definition of blockchain remains elusive, but typical characteristics include the following:
- A distributed database, meaning each party on the blockchain has access to the entire database and can verify all transactions without an intermediary
- Peer-to-peer transmission without the need for a central authority
- Complete transparency for all that are authorized to participate in the blockchain
- Permanent, immutable, and time-stamped transactions
- Computational logic, meaning transactions can be programmed using algorithms and rules that automatically generate transactions 
In simple terms, blockchain can be thought of as a shared database in real time that is continuously reconciled and all transactions are known by all authorized participants.
Often associated with the enabling infrastructure for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, blockchain can be used in a variety of industries, including banking, supply chain management, health care, and government. Blockchain can be used to store transaction data for anything of value, including titles, deeds, images, music, intellectual property, patient records, and even votes. 
Blockchain in the Curriculum
Blockchain concepts could be introduced in a variety of undergraduate and graduate accounting classes, including financial accounting, auditing, tax, and accounting information systems. Perhaps the simplest method for introducing blockchain is to assign an article on blockchain and then discuss as a class. Students in my graduate enterprise systems and information technology controls class had a robust online discussion after reading an assigned article on blockchain.
How blockchain solved the double-spending problem with digital currency would be an appropriate topic for a financial accounting class when covering double-entry accounting. Since blockchain has the ability to provide an immutable audit trail, examining its impact on the audit profession would fit well in an auditing class. In a federal taxation class, exploring the effect blockchain may have on transfer pricing would be relevant.
Or you may consider a research project on blockchain in an accounting information systems course that would allow students to explore an organization’s entire information system.
Demonstrating how blockchain works is another way to expose students to the technology. Anders Brownworth, a cryptocurrency expert and former blockchain lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created a site (anders.com/blockchain/blockchain.html) to visually demonstrate how blockchain works. Students can see the security features in action and the process of mining (solving math problems using a cryptographic hash function).
Blockchain Training for Faculty
Faculty who gain expertise in blockchain will be able to go beyond “raising awareness” efforts. Sean Stein Smith, an assistant professor at Lehman College in New York, suggests accounting departments ask for faculty volunteers to act as early adopters. Course releases and stipends could serve as an effective incentive. After becoming experts, faculty can integrate blockchain projects and case studies into existing courses, or even develop a stand-alone special topics course.
The AICPA has an online certificate program titled “Blockchain and Beyond.” It will be available through the PICPA this spring, and provides about 15 hours of content focused on the concepts underlying blockchain technology and crypto-currencies, the risks and challenges of implementing blockchain, and exposure to digital ledgers and smart contracts. The Big 4 firms also offer a variety of online resources.
There are several reputable online resources available too, such as Coursera’s IBM Blockchain Foundation for Developers course, Edureka’s Blockchain Certification Training, and Udemy’s Basics of Blockchain, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more. Other providers include Lynda.com, Khan Academy, Skillshare, Udacity, and Microsoft Virtual Academy. Several books have also been published on the technology.
Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize business processes and accounting practice. Educators cannot be left behind. Effectively introducing blockchain into the curriculum will ensure that accounting education maintains relevancy and prepares students for the future.
[1 ] Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani, “The Truth about Blockchain,” Harvard Business Review (January-February 2017).
 For an in-depth review of the potential implications of blockchain for CPAs, see “Blockchain and the Future of Accounting” by J.L. “John” Alarcon and Cory Ng in the winter 2018 edition of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal.
 Sean Stein Smith, “Integrating Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence into the Accounting Curriculum,” Journal of Accountancy (Nov. 14, 2017).
On Wednesday, May 1, alumni and friends of the Fox School of Business gathers for the Third Annual Accounting Achievement Awards at The Lucy by Cescaphe. The annual event honors Department of Accounting alumni who stand out among their peers with the their commitment to excellence in business and community engagement. Among the over 260 guests were Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps, Fox School Interim Dean Ronald Anderson, members of the Accounting Circle Executive Committee and alumni, faculty and students of the Department of Accounting.
This year six alumni received awards reflective of their impressive professional careers and civic service:
- Rising Star Award — Kaitlin Ziminski Schott, Manager of Internal Controls, FMC Corporation
- Public Accounting Award — Joseph Fisher, Partner and U.S. Investment Management Audit Leader, Deloitte
- Corporate Award — Albert Chiaradonna, Senior Vice President, SEI Wealth Platform, North America Private Banking, SEI
- Non-Profit/Government — Frank Breslin, Revenue Commissioner and Chief Collections Officer, City of Philadelphia
- Community Service Award — John Milligan, CEO and Managing Principal, Milligan & Company, LLC
- Lifetime Achievement Award — H. Richard Haverstick, Jr., Chair-Elect, Board of Trustees, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health
In their acceptance speeches, the award recipients praised Temple University for its accessibility for work class families, the Fox School school for providing a strong foundation in business and the department faculty, past and present, for their mentorship. Many of the honorees thanked their families for supporting and encouraging them as they pursued a business education and advanced their careers.
Department of Accounting Chair Eric G. Press remarked, “We say, ‘Three times is the charm.’ That’s surely true about the May 1 dinner. The room was vibrant, people enjoyed themselves. Who knew you might have so good a time at an Accounting event?”
In addition to engaging and reconnecting with alumni and friends, attendees also supported the next generation of accounting professionals by raising funds for 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.
The Fourth Annual Accounting Achievement Awards is slated to take place in Spring 2020. The nomination process will open in Fall 2019.
To support the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund visit www.giving.temple.edu/givetoaccounting.
2019 ACCOUNTING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
Learn more below about this year’s recipients and their affinity for the Fox School by clicking their names to watch videos.
Kaitlin Ziminski Schott, 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. Schott, BBA ’10, is excelling as a manager of internal controls at FMC Corporation.
Joseph Fisher, CPA, received the Public Accounting Award, presented to a professional for outstanding success in the public accounting sector. Fisher, BBA ‘93, is a partner in Deloitte’s Investment Management Group and serves as the U.S. Investment Management Audit Leader. He has over twenty-five years of experience serving clients in the capital markets.
Albert Chiaradonna, received the Corporate Award, presented to an executive-level professional who has reached a level of success in the non-public accounting profession. Chiaradonna, BBA ’88, the executive management team for leading financial services firm SEI. He also writes about managing a journey of personal and professional growth and growing as leaders and individuals through everyday life experiences on a blog he authors for SEI, called Front and Centered.
Frank Breslin, CPA, received the inaugural Non-Profit/Government Award for his success in the the public service sector. Breslin, BBA ‘82, began his career with the City of Philadelphia as a revenue examiner in the Department of Revenue, and now more than thirty years later, serves as Revenue Commissioner and Chief Collections Officer for the city. Maximizing revenue collections needed to supply critical funding for city and school district services has been a focal point during Frank’s time in public service.
John Milligan, CPA, received the Community Service Award for outstanding contributions to the accounting profession and local communities. In 1985, Milligan, BBA ’75, established his own certified public accounting firm, Milligan & Company, LLC, now the largest minority-owned CPA firm headquartered in the tri-state area and one of the largest minority-owned CPA firms in the nation. John served on the board of directors of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for twenty years. He also served on the board of directors of Montgomery Hospital in Norristown and chaired the board of directors of the Norristown Area School District Education Foundation. As the current president of the Greater Norristown NAACP, John has led an effort with other local NAACP branches to collaborate with all Montgomery County Pennsylvania police departments and improve relationships and trust between the police and minority communities.
Richard Haverstick, Jr., CPA, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to a professional who has advanced the accounting profession through their sustained leadership in public accounting, business, or academic communities. Haverstick, BBA ‘74, spent the majority of his professional career with Ernst & Young, including twenty-six years as a partner. He has served on the board and audit committee of public companies in the real estate, technology and financial services sectors. He is currently on the boards of Brandywine Realty Trust, Bryn Mawr Trust Mutual Funds and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. Haverstick is a member of the Dean’s Council and chair of the Executive Committee of the Accounting Circle at the Fox School. He was inducted into the Temple University Gallery of Success in 2006 and was recently named a FOX 100 Centennial Honoree.
In the early ’80s, John Milligan, BBA ’75, faced a choice: remain in a dead-end job or set out on his own. Milligan decided to move on, build his own diverse accounting firm and create opportunities for minorities. over 30 years later, his business Milligan & Company LLC is the largest minority-owned CPA firm in the Philadelphia region and a champion for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
As a teen in Norristown, PA, Milligan never thought about owning a business or attending college. He dropped out of high school after 10th grade and joined the Navy, serving for four years. After two years of junior college in California, Milligan returned to the Philadelphia area. On the recommendation of a friend, he enrolled at Temple University.
Being one of the few students of color in his classes, he felt out of place at school but he received support and guidance from his professors. They encouraged him to consider public accounting, connected him with employers and coached him through interviews. Milligan graduated magna cum laude with an offer from Coopers & Lybrand, the largest accounting firm in the city at that time.
Milligan left Coopers & Lybrand after nine years when it became apparent that leadership was not ready to make an African American a partner at the firm. However, his experiences there were formative. Not only did he learn the basics of public accounting and auditing, but he also learned about entrepreneurship and running small businesses.
“I had a mentor [Bruce Cohen] at Coopers & Lybrand who really helped me focus not only on becoming a good auditor but also being a good entrepreneur,” says Milligan. “So when I made my decision to leave, that experience and that mentoring really helped me prepare to start my own CPA firm.”
With his staffing choices, business practices and outside endeavors, Milligan has surpassed his initial goal to establish a more diverse accounting firm. Today, approximately 50 percent of Milligan & Company’s employees are minorities and 75 percent of the employees are women. He has made a commitment to support minority-owned businesses in his personal and professional life.
One of the most important decisions he made was to get involved in government programs for small businesses and work with government agencies. Milligan & Company was, for a number of years, a member of the Small Business Administration’s 8(A) Business Development Program. This program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. After outgrowing the program, Milligan’s company now provides assistance to other businesses seeking 8(A) certification.
Milligan & Company managed the Philadelphia Minority Business Development Center for eighteen years. “That was very rewarding,” he says. “We helped literally hundreds of businesses with their business and marketing plans, and get bank loans.”
Milligan also created a nonprofit, the Greater Philadelphia Minority Business Strategic Alliance (GPMBA), a network of twenty organizations dedicated to promoting the growth of minority business enterprises with shared resources and collaboration. While GPMBA is no longer operational, one of their most important partnerships remains; Milligan sponsors SCORE, a network of expert business mentors, by providing them with office space in Center City.
Milligan’s interest in community service isn’t limited to his work with entrepreneurs and small businesses. He has served on the boards of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Norristown Area School District Education Foundation, and Montgomery Hospital in Norristown. He is currently the president of the Greater Norristown NAACP. The Fox School Department of Accounting will honor John Milligan with the Community Service Award at the 2019 Accounting Achievement Awards.
“It’s rewarding to be able to have an impact on people and their lives and know somehow you helped other people reach their full potential.”
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
Throughout the month of February, the Fox School of Business is highlighting the voices and businesses of black entrepreneurs, executives, volunteers and more. These talented professionals are striving to make the world a more diverse, inclusive and accessible place for future generations.
To balance his impressively extensive workload, Anthony Copeman, BBA ‘14, chooses to work smart. Since he was a student studying accounting at the Fox School of Business, Copeman has founded a non-profit, began working for the City of Philadelphia, and launched an animated financial literacy YouTube series aimed at millennials called $hares.
His non-profit, Backyard Business, was born while he was still working on his undergraduate degree at Temple. The mission of the organization was to empower inner city youth to create businesses that met the needs of their community. But then Copeman decided that, if he really wanted to make an impact and inspire youth to embrace entrepreneurship, he needed to practice what he preached.
As a result, Financial Lituation came to fruition in 2016. What started as an Instagram account filled with financial inspiration evolved into a one-on-one financial coaching program, and then a digital platform hosting online workshops. The Financial Lituation website describes their mission best:
“FINANCIAL LITUATION is millennial-infused, digital platform which focuses on helping you reinvent your finances and reimagine your freedom. We believe that your mindset is the primarily currency for building wealth, and money is second. We help you start the journey towards financial freedom through mindset, movement, money, and maintenance.”
To build on this vision, Copeman came up with the idea of $hares. The series teaches financial literacy in an accessible way for millennials that might not have had exposure to finance topics. “My desire for starting $hares was to offer a creative way to reach millennials and help them understand personal finance concepts,” he says. “Financial literacy isn’t taught in the classroom. That may be a good thing, because if it can’t be taught in a relevant way than it shouldn’t be taught at all. With $hares, I want to bridge that gap.”
With an unprecedented amount of student debt, a volatile financial future, as well as lower earnings, fewer assets and less wealth than generations past, it can be uncomfortable downright frightening for millennials to talk about finances. When reflecting on the impact that these ventures have had on his audience, particularly millennials and underrepresented groups, Copeman says that $hares creates a safe space for people to be open about their money experiences and goals.
“Our goal is not to preach money, but rather freedom,” Copeman explains. “And that’s why millennials who engage with our content feel comfortable sharing their stories. All of our animated characters are approachable and relatable to the everyday millennial.”
While the entrepreneurial spirit flows freely through Copeman, after completing a year and a half of national service with AmeriCorps from 2013 to 2015, he decided to continue on the path of helping others by becoming a civil servant with the the City of Philadelphia. He is currently working in family court, but is in the process of transitioning to a new position in financial services.
Looking to the future, Copeman is committed to scaling the impact of his various projects, measuring the results, and trying new things. “I am constantly inspired by innovation and creativity. I’m always asking myself, ‘how can I leverage my passion and put my own creative spin on it?’”
Temple’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program returns for its twelfth year. Operating on Temple University’s Ambler Campus, VITA provides free tax preparation assistance to low- and middle-income individuals and families. In 2018, Fox School accounting majors helped prepare nearly 500 tax returns, and garnered almost $500,000 in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
The recent partial government shutdown and the new federal tax bill create some challenges for tax preparers this year, but Dr. Steven Balsam, professor of accounting at the Fox School and director of the Temple VITA program, is ready. “But whether we have multiple changes, or just one, we always train our students to take their time, to be thorough, and to get our clients the largest refund possible,” he says. “Our emphasis is on quality, and that won’t change.”
Accounting students and alumni from Temple’s Fox School of Business will be available each Saturday from Feb. 9 to April 13 to assist with filing state and federal income tax returns. The tax return deadline is Monday, April 15.
To qualify for VITA, a client’s annual household income must not exceed $55,000 (whether filing independently or jointly). A client also is not eligible if he or she owns rental property or owns a business. Schedule an appointment by visiting fox.temple.edu/vita, emailing email@example.com, or calling 215-326-9519.
Department of Accounting at the Fox School of Business is pleased to announce the honorees of the 2019 Accounting Achievement Awards. These distinguished alumni will be recognized at the third annual awards ceremony at the Lucy on Wednesday, May 1. Hosted by the Department of Accounting, the event will recognize the six alumni with awards reflective of their professional careers and civic service:
Kaitlin (Ziminski) Schott, 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. Schott, BBA ’10, is a manager of internal controls at FMC Corporation.
Joseph Fisher, CPA will receive the Public Accounting Award, presented for outstanding success in the public accounting sector. Fisher, BBA ’93, is a partner in Deloitte’s Investment Management practice and serves as the U.S. Investment Management Audit Leader. He has 25 years of experience in serving clients in the capital markets, including hedge and private equity funds.
Albert Chiaradonna will receive the Corporate Award, presented to an executive-level professional who has responsibility for the financial operations of their organization and has demonstrated industry expertise. Chiaradonna, BBA ’88, is the Senior Vice President, SEI Wealth Platform, North America Private Banking and is responsible for the overall launch and delivery of the SEI Wealth Platform.
Frank Breslin, CPA, will receive the new Non-Profit/Government Award, presented to a professional who has achieved success in the not-for-profit or government sector. Breslin, BBA ’82, is the Revenue Commissioner and Chief Collections Officer for the City of Philadelphia. He has worked for the government for over 30 years and is also an active member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
John Milligan, CPA will receive the Community Service Award for outstanding contributions to the accounting profession and local communities. Milligan, BBA ’75, is the founder, CEO and managing principal of Milligan & Company LLC. He served on the board of directors of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for twenty years. Milligan also served on the board of directors of Montgomery Hospital in Norristown, chaired the board of directors of the Norristown Area School District Education Foundation, and he is currently the President of the Greater Norristown NAACP.
H. Richard Haverstick, Jr., CPA will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to a professional who has advanced the accounting profession through their sustained leadership in public accounting, business, or academic communities. Haverstick, BBA ’74, has had a distinguished career in the Philadelphia area, including serving as a partner at EY for over twenty five years. Haverstick is currently a board member of Brandywine Realty Trust, Bryn Mawr Trust Mutual Funds, and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, where he has just been named Chair-Elect of the Board of Trustees. Haverstick also is a member of the Fox School of Business Dean’s Council and chair of the Executive Committee of Fox’s Accounting Circle.
The Accounting Achievement Awards honor the accomplishments of Temple University alumni and recognize the impact professionals in accounting and related fields have on the business community. The net proceeds from the event are added to the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, which supports high-achieving accounting students pursuing undergraduate and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degrees.
To RSVP to the event on May 1 at the Lucy by Cescaphe visit fox.temple.edu/accountingawards.
Greetings from Alter Hall! Here is your Fall 2018 Footnotes from Fox. What have the students, faculty, and our alumni been up to? We search out and dispense the news about department doings to our loyal readers.
We begin with a story about data visualization and analytics. Under the guidance of our departmental curriculum committee, headed by Professor Elizabeth Gordon, we are refurbishing our courses to incorporate career-relevant training. MAcc students work on a case that requires they use Tableau to illustrate visually the whys of decision-making. Undergraduate auditing students have been trained in ACL software. Successful completion of the work they’re given leads to Data Analyst Level I Certification.
Speaking of Elizabeth Gordon, she was chosen to lead the 2019 New Faculty Consortium by the . Over 130 Assistant Professors assemble bearing newly-minted PhD degrees, to be initiated and acculturated by over 30 senior faculty between January 31 and February 3, 2019 at the Lansdowne Resort and Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, a convention center in Virginia.
The Fox School Department of Accounting is honored to have been chosen as the newest home for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) Student Center for the Public Trust (StudentCPT). This group focuses on ethical decision making and leadership. The group hosts speakers who come to share their experiences dealing with challenges related to ethics in corporate settings.
Our next story reports on the honors, research accomplishments, and recognition afforded three of our number: Professors Jayanthi Krishnan, Sheri Risler and Cory Ng. In an article in the , Cory and Sheri discuss how they developed their data visualization courses, referred to above.
In late September, the (ACCA) and the hosted a panel discussion on how technology is impacting accounting and auditing. About 60 students—plus a number of faculty including yours truly—attended the event, held in the “Egg” on the first floor of Alter Hall.
We welcome SIX new members to the leadership group—the Accounting Circle Executive Committee—that guides the Department of Accounting. Who might they be? Read the piece and find out! PLUS, the other six communiqués we prepared for your illumination await your attention.
Before I quit, let me remind you that—if you know of a Fox Accounting graduate young or old, just starting or winding up a distinguished career—use the link in the Accounting Achievement Awards advertisement to submit your nomination. I hope you will be able to attend the May 1, 2019 awards banquet, where the honorees will be honored.
As is ever the case, you get full disclosure when you read Footnotes from Fox.
In keeping with current trends, the Department of Accounting has spent the last year evaluating the curriculum for opportunities to include emerging technologies such as data analytics into the its course work. Part of a long-term project, the department is examining how to incorporate technology into current classes and how to provide additional coursework in these subjects in an effort to better prepare students for careers in the accounting industry.
“It’s changing rapidly and drastically,” Professor Elizabeth Gordon, chair of the department’s curriculum committee, says of the industry. “And so we have to change the way we’re teaching. We’ve gone out and talked with a lot of the accounting firms. We’ve talked with publishers and talked with other teaching resource providers to understand what is available, what’s out there that we can adopt or adapt for our courses as needed.”
Undergraduate students benefit from Accounting Information Systems, a core accounting course, that covers data creation and manipulation, statistical analysis and data management. Students use Access to to explore how to manage and analyze data; the course also includes an introduction to data visualization.
This semester a number of other courses have integrated data analytics and data visualization into the curriculum. Professors Jagan Krishnan and Sheri Risler added an ACL Certified Data Analyst Level 1 Certification to their auditing class. Students learn the process by which data are obtained, cleansed, analyzed and transformed into information using analytic routines. ACL software is used across the accounting industry for fraud detection and prevention.
Professor Cory Ng has incorporated Tableau, an interactive data visualization software, into a graduate level course. Students in the class not only learn how to use the software, but also how to apply it to complex financial and non-financial data and to use it to make intelligent business decisions.
“Each student is required to deliver a final project that uses Tableau to visualize a complex data set. The deliverable for this project is a data visualization using an executive dashboard or story point that enables a user to explore the data,” explains Ng. Additionally, students have to prepare a manual on how to use the visualization to explore the data, requiring them to strategically consider the user’s experience.
The goal is not only to teach the students how to use use these tools, but also to teach them how the tools can assist with problem-solving and decision-making. The critical thinking skills developed with these classes will be transferable to many other software programs and real-world situations.
“I firmly believe that students will benefit from developing these skills in their studies and their careers,” say Ng. His students report that they expect to use data visualization in professional settings and that these skills make them more marketable to potential employers.
Professors Risler and Ng discussed the development of their data visualization courses in the Fall 2018 Pennsylvania CPA Journal.