The Fox School of Business prides itself on creating a community that helps students thrive long after graduation. The reformation of the Young Accounting Alumni Group (YAAG) shows that even after students graduate, they do not have to face the real world alone.
Co-presidents of YAAG, Melissa Cameron, MAcc ’18, and Eric Hamilton, BBA ’16, explore their personal motivation for reforming the group, why its existence is important for future alumni and what is in store for the future of YAAG.
Melissa first entered the world of accounting through arts administration and arts management positions. Since receiving her master of accountancy degree from the Fox School, she has worked at Deloitte in the audit and assurance practice. Eric started as an associate in the risk consulting practice at RSM and was promoted to senior associate after two years.
The driving force behind relaunching YAAG was the accounting faculty at the Fox School, Melissa and Eric explain. “They wanted to reconnect with the recent alumni to keep the bond strong when students graduate, and they wanted a group of motivated alumni to get it off the ground,” says Eric.
Relaunching the group shows that, while students may go down a multitude of career paths, there will always be a support system by their side.
“I’ve learned so much through other people’s experiences,” Melissa says. “I have had many key people willing to take time out of their busy schedules to go out for a coffee or lunch with me, or email, or call, just so that I could ask them my (dozens of) questions, pick their brain about their experiences and knowledge and background in accounting.”
She views YAAG as a platform to give back to her fellow Fox graduates and current students and is motivated to “pay-it-forward.” “I want to be available to be that person for the next round of students looking to establish themselves in an accounting or business field.”
The Young Accounting Alumni Group kicked off its relaunch with the YAAG Launch Happy Hour on August 6. The event served as a kick-off for recent alumni to meet Melissa, Eric and other members of the YAAG leadership team and learn about the group’s future plans. With over 50 recent graduates attending, the alumni board was able to reconnect with familiar faces and get the excitement going about the relaunch.
When looking to the future of YAAG, Eric says, “Be on the lookout for future events while we continue to develop our brand. Then we will eventually build the programming that our group wants to see, such as mentoring, continuing education and exclusive events.”
Their next event, on October 26th, will be a Love City Brewery Tour and Temple/UCF Football Watch Party at Love City Brewing.
The resurgence of the Young Accounting Alumni Group has only just begun and is ready to help recent graduates every step of the way.
If you are interested in learning more about YAAG, check for emails from the group as well as the Temple Alumni site for future events, and register!
During her visit to the Fox School of Business, Cynthia Cooper put an auditorium holding 300 seats in her shoes as the whistleblower of one of the largest corporate scandals that catapulted her into the public consciousness.
Cooper, an accountant who served as the director of Internal Audit at WorldCom, a telecommunications giant, worked with her team to investigate and unearth $3.8 billion in fraud. At the time in 2002, it was the largest incident of accounting fraud in the U.S. Shortly after the fraud was uncovered, WorldCom filed for bankruptcy and collapsed.
“It was by far the most difficult thing I went through in my lifetime,” she says. “I weathered the storm with help from my family and my faith.”
During her talk “Ethical Leadership in the 21st Century,” she took students through the process of discovering the fraud. She also challenged them to think about the decisions they would have made and how those decisions would have impacted their lives and the lives of others. She detailed the backgrounds of the managers who had become complicit and explored the reasons why people make unethical choices.
Cooper harkened back to classic examples of moral dilemmas, such as the Milgram Experiment and the Parable of Sadhu to illustrate the point that these dilemmas are common, and can take on many different forms, such as cheating on a test or going over the speed limit.
“We have to prepare ourselves for these possibilities and recognize ethical dilemmas before we come to the crossroads,” she advises.
At one point in her presentation, Cooper had the group stand up, close their eyes and point to true north. Looking around the room, students were pointing in all different directions.
“You have to find your own moral compass,” she explains. “Define a mission statement and your core values. Find your courage, find a mentor, and don’t let yourself be intimidated.”
Cooper’s book about her life and the WorldCom fraud, Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower, was published in 2008. Profits from the book were given to universities and organizations for ethics education.
One such organization is the Student Center for the Public Trust (StudentCPT), created by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Temple University is one of the nationwide chapters that provides an interactive environment for ethical business behaviors and ideas to flourish. Temple StudentCPT, sponsored by Deloitte, allows students to engage with the business community, develop professional leadership skills and host high-caliber guest speakers.
José E. Muñoz Jr. and Hyun Jong Park are making their Temple debut
The Department of Accounting of the Fox School of Business welcomes two new professors—Hyun Jong Park and José E. Muñoz Jr. Both professionals bring a unique mix of high-quality research, innovative teaching, and professional experiences to the department.
Hyun Jong Park joins Temple as an assistant professor, having recently earned his doctorate from the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. Park’s research focuses on timely and relevant issues in auditing, examining the intersection of auditing, regulation and litigation risk. His dissertation investigates the real-world concern of the relation between audit firms’ political connections and PCAOB inspection reports. Before entering his PhD, Park received his master’s of commerce and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne.
Park’s teaching strategies allows students to learn at their own pace. “I believe each student learns in different ways. I think students need to work in their own time making sure that they understand the materials covered in the classroom, said Park, I give them instructions and explanations so that they could learn the material.”
José E. Muñoz Jr. is a professor of instruction who recently served as the associate dean of graduate business education at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He brings his 18 years of teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels and over 30 years of experience in senior executive management positions.
Muñoz considers his teaching method as a mixture of a practical and theoretical approach to business. “We discuss work experiences and problems experienced by the students and me and apply them to the classroom lessons of the day, as a way of making the textbook material come to life in real-world situations,” says Muñoz.
Muñoz has also served on numerous advisory boards, corporate boards and civic boards. Muñoz received a doctorate of business administration in accounting from Anderson University in Indiana, and a master of business administration and two bachelor of science degrees from Florida State University.
Bringing real-world professional insights, broad teaching experience and a rigorous research-based perspective to the classroom, Muñoz and Park establish themselves as professors who will engage students and encourage their learning at Fox and into their professional lives.
For someone so early in their career, Mary Tang, BBA ‘18, MAcc ‘19, understands leadership.
Most recently, Mary was named the Atlantic Regional Alumni Representative for Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), an international honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students and professionals. She also served as the president for the Temple chapter of BAP during her time at the Fox School.
Her role as president of BAP, as well as her tenure as the ASCEND president during the 2016-2017 academic year, helped her develop professionally. She participated in a variety of leadership programs during her time as an undergraduate student, including PwC Explore, RSM Pathways, Baker Tilly Spotlight, KPMG Global Advantage, EY Emerging Leaders Program and more. She also interned at KPMG, which allowed her to gain audit experience. After her internship, she was offered a full-time position as an audit associate in the Philadelphia office.
“Being involved with student professional organizations (SPOs) like BAP taught me that the classroom doesn’t necessarily teach you how to get a job,” she says. “Since learning that, I’ve taken that lesson on to how I do my work at KPMG. I am constantly wanting more—whether it be audit work or extracurricular activities in the office and beyond.”
In her new role as the Atlantic regional alumni representative for BAP, Mary will work with alumni representatives internationally on initiatives to improve the value that Beta Alpha Psi brings to members. Mary will be the voice of students in the region in order to ensure that their perspectives and concerns are addressed.
“I will be able to have an outreach to chapters beyond Temple and Fox,” she says. “By being a regional representative, I have exposure to students from schools all over the Atlantic Region. I can learn about what worked and did not work for them, and hopefully expand their networks and minds as well by introducing them to different chapters to connect.”
Mary is bringing her leadership skills and a unique perspective to her new role. Since entering the world of public accounting and corporate America, she noticed that there is a serious lack of diversity. As a first-generation Asian American college student, the subject is near and dear to her heart.
“Though being in BAP as an alumni representative will not change this overnight, I think my background at a diverse university can help start conversations on what we can do to increase our membership with more diverse students which will then funnel into full-time employment with these firms,” she says.
2019 has been an extraordinary year for Sudipta Basu.
In July, Basu was appointed the Fox School’s new senior associate dean of research and doctoral programs. He was also honored to be named the American Accounting Association’s inaugural Yuji Ijiri Lecturer on Foundations of Accounting. The prestigious lectureship, sponsored by five global accounting associations, recognizes thought leadership from around the world. Basu presented his Ijiri Lecture, “How Robust are the Foundations of the Conceptual Frameworks?” at the annual American Accounting Association meeting in August.
Throughout his career, Dean Basu has established himself as a thought leader and now he will help chart the direction of academic research at the Fox School moving forward. To understand his vision, he discussed the past, present and future of research at Fox.
Can you share a bit about your background? Why were you originally interested in accounting?
I grew up in big cities all over India (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Delhi in that order), earning a BA (Honours) in Economics at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and an MBA in economics, finance and accounting at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. My family members have many PhDs including a grandfather (mathematics), uncles (statistics, history and English) and first cousin (astrophysics), so an academic life was always considered a respectable—and even praiseworthy—choice.
I first studied accounting in grades 9 and 10 and found it quite hard to follow initially. But once I realized how double-entry bookkeeping worked, and that simple algebra revealed the intangible value created by transactions, I was hooked.
What are some of your major goals as dean of research and doctoral programs?
Fox produces lots of high-quality research and one of my main goals is to make our research more visible locally and internationally.
I would also like to collaborate with the Digital Scholarship Center at the Temple library to introduce our students and faculty to new cutting-edge digital tools that could help them stand out in the research world. Most importantly, I want to change our research culture so that we can talk about how our new ideas improve people’s lives and not merely about where they were published. I want to focus on explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how of a particular research project’s impact.
What role has research played in shaping your career?
For me, research is a vocation rather than a career, meaning that I enjoy and value its creativity and life-long learning aspects so much that I largely ignore the future monetary and status rewards. As my wife puts it, I often go to sleep thinking about research and wake up in the morning still thinking about research. I pursue big questions that excite me, such as why accounting exists or what our world would be like if double-entry bookkeeping had not emerged, even if this research cannot be published in our top journals. I am constantly scanning blogs, conferences and journals for questions and tools that I can use in my research, so I am a big consumer of research, not just a producer.
How would you like to see Fox School research evolve in the future?
As its former research director, I strongly support the Translational Research Center’s efforts to make Fox School research more relevant to all our stakeholders—other academics, practitioners, students, policymakers and our local communities. I would like more of our faculty, students, alumni and staff to engage in research and to describe their findings in top academic journals AND in less traditional venues such as op-eds, letters to the editor, blogs, TED talks, undergraduate and practitioner journals, etc. Ultimately, I want Fox School faculty, staff, alumni and students to be more widely regarded as thought leaders in business research.
What role does research play in business schools?
Most business schools promote faculty and student research to increase our shared knowledge. Business schools’ missions usually shape the type of research they support. At research-intensive schools like Fox, rigorous empirical and theoretical research takes pride of place. At teaching-oriented schools, pedagogical and practice-oriented research is valued more than theoretical research.
Where is the largest intersection of research and industry in the future of work?
Researchers dream up the technologies, products, business models and organizational forms of the future. Every technological advance frees people from doing some kinds of routine work, which are delegated to animals, machines, and now computers. The freed-up workers can better use their minds to make higher quality and unique products and services that were too earlier too costly to market.
How can companies work with Fox School researchers?
Companies can learn from the new ideas developed by Fox School researchers and conversely inform them about changing realities in the marketplace. Ideally, we would develop a virtuous cycle wherein firms identify emerging problems, researchers propose alternative solutions, firms try these out in practice and observe how well they work and provide feedback, which in turn lets researchers refine their prescriptions.
This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.
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.