School of Business team places third at Deloitte’s National Audit Innovation Campus Challenge

The School of Business Deloitte Audit Innovation Campus Challenge team: Jeffrey Smith, C.J. Moddelmog, Emily Simpson, faculty advisor Josh Arpin, Curtis Hoover and Libby Kaufman. Team member Branson Tomlinson not pictured. They received valuable assistance from Lindsay Price, a recruiter at Deloitte’s Kansas City office, and alumnus Howard Cohen, lead client service partner in Deloitte’s Audit and Assurance practice, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and AIS Advisory Council.

The KU School of Business won third place at Deloitte’s National Audit Innovation Campus Challenge. Hosted April 6-7 at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas, the challenge featured the two winning teams from each of six regional competitions held in fall 2017.

The School of Business team included accounting students C.J. Moddelmog, Jeffrey Smith, Libby Kaufman, Emily Simpson, Curtis Hoover and Branson Tomlinson. Accounting lecturer Josh Arpin served as faculty advisor.

The KU team won the regional competition in Minneapolis to advance. That competition’s challenge asked students to consider how Deloitte could enhance the credibility of the information their clients provide to stakeholders beyond their audited financial statements. KU’s team suggested the creation of Deloitte Data, a dedicated service line that could provide verification in areas not currently tested, especially claims about gas mileage.

For the national challenge, teams were tasked with evaluating how their initial concept would affect recruitment for Deloitte and what specific skillsets would be needed to make it a reality. KU students received the challenge details about a month before the competition and met several times per week to hone their presentation, Arpin said.

Presentations were evaluated by a panel of six judges who narrowed the field down to four teams. Students then presented to an audience that included the teams that did not advance.

This was the first year KU was invited to participate in the Deloitte Audit Innovation Campus Challenge, and Arpin said he was proud of how the team performed, particularly after seeing the high quality of other teams’ ideas.

For placing third, the School of Business team won $2,500 for KU and an additional $500 per student.

Beyond taking home the prize money, Arpin said students benefited from getting to explore Deloitte University, where the company hosts training and leadership development, and experiencing Deloitte’s corporate culture. The challenge also highlighted how flexible careers in accounting can be.

“Long term, it’s showing them that going into audit is not just looking at financial statements,” Arpin explained. “There are all these tools and technologies and resources that can lead them down a much different career path if they so choose.”

Team member C.J. Moddelmog said the case competition strengthened his ability to work in teams, think on his feet and capture an audience through a presentation, but the highlight was building friendships with his fellow b-school students.

“I genuinely believe my five teammates are the five best people in the business school to represent KU’s accounting program on a national level,” he said. Recalling the moment they found out they were advancing to the final round, Moddelmog added, “I wouldn’t have wanted to share this moment with anyone else besides this amazing team.”