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NIU Accountancy hosted MAC Accounting Research Symposium & Accounting Analytics Competition

April 22, 2019

On April 5th-6thNIU Accountancy welcomed faculty representatives from nine Mid-American Conference (MAC) schools who arrived on campus to attend NIU’s 2019 MAC Accounting Research Symposium. The event took place on the NIU Naperville campus and included a welcome reception that was hosted by accounting firm RSM.

The MAC university system spans from western New York to Illinois.

“Our colleagues in the MAC system all share wonderful expertise in the field of accounting,” says NIU Department of Accountancy chair Rebecca Shortridge, who is also the Donald E. Kieso Endowed Chair in Accountancy. “It’s incredibly worthwhile to bring our great thinkers together with those from so many other outstanding schools in the MAC system.”

Friday and Saturday activities included research presentations that varied from the impact of emoji’s on nonprofessional investors to conflicts between supervisory monitoring and monetary incentives, to alternatives for reorienting business education.

An accounting data analytics case competition was held in conjunction with the MAC Research event on Saturday. Student teams from schools inside the MAC and outside the MAC system – among them, DePaul University, Grand Valley State University, Marquette University, and  National Chung Cheng University from Taiwan – competed.  Also included was a keynote talk from Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) Wayne Hoover, a national expert in forensic accounting. Hoover presented ways to identify fraud in the business world.

“For this year’s competition, we increased the participating teams from four to nine,  including a Taiwanese team, “ says Chih-Chen Lee, the William and Dian Taylor Professor of Accountancy.  Lee teaches forensic accounting and IT audit and incorporates data analytics into both courses. “It’s an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to work under stress — each team has only 2 ½ hours to work on the case — and  identify solutions as well as to communicate the solutions to the judges. Our NIU team told me that they enjoyed the experience. They said it’s challenging but fun.”

All student teams presented their analyses to a panel of judges that included accounting professionals and academicians. This year’s first place team represented Marquette University. The second place team was comprised of students from Grand Valley State University. During last year’s competition, hosted by DePaul University, NIU student teams took home first and second place.

“The NIU accountancy program is among the best nationwide. We’ve created a strong and growing data analytics focus,” Shortridge says. “Five NIU accountancy professors have built a robust curriculum around the topic. They are passionate about the importance of the field. Equally, they are inspired by the expertise of their fellow accountancy professor Ann Dzuranin.”

Dzuranin – the NIU Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Analytics in Accounting – is widely regarded as a national authority on the subject of data analytics.

“The case competition highlights the skills employers are seeking today in accounting graduates…critical thinking, the ability to work with data, and the ability to communicate results,” Dzuranin says. “The teams did a terrific job analyzing a large set of data, identifying key issues and then communicating their findings.”