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Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2008

Kelley Accounting PhDs Take Top Prize in Case Competition

Sept. 2, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kelley School of Business doctoral students Devon Erickson and Adam Esplin created, directed and starred in small-budget film on international accounting standards, landing them in Hollywood, California this August.

Their film was actually a taped submission to PricewaterhouseCooper's annual case competition, and they were in Pasadena, not Hollywood, but congratulations are due nevertheless.

Case Competition 2008 Accounting

2008 xFAC competition winners Devon Erickson (left), Teri Yohn and Adam Esplin

With guidance from Teri Yohn, associate professor of accounting at Indiana University's Kelley School, Erickson and Esplin took first place in PWC's 2008 xFAC competition, which stands for "extreme faculty." The contest, in its third year, requires two doctoral students to work with a faculty advisor to create a presentation on a real-world problem, applying research from the accounting field. Future university faculty demonstrate their comprehension of accounting topics and teaching chops by presenting a case to a group of sophomores from the imaginary Quern University. The participants have two weeks to prepare a presentation, which they record and submit to a panel of judges.

All participants receive $5,000 and members of the five teams designated "national winners" receive additional $5,000. The top-ranked team wins a trip to PWC's annual business faculty seminar that occurs in the days before the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association.

Erickson and Esplin were ranked first among five national winners, including the universities of Connecticut, Georgia, Tennessee and Washington. The judges complimented the team on its rich content, good examples and useful slides.

Erickson explained, "The judges wanted to see that we understood both the implications of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the pedagogy involved in communicating that information to students." Esplin added, "They felt like we were successful in teaching the material to the students, and explaining to them how looking at the same company under the two different sets of standards might affect an investor's decision."

Professor Yohn, an expert in the transition to IFRS who has testified on this topic before a congressional subcommittee, gave Erickson and Esplin guidance on how best to organize their presentation for their students' benefit, as well as help identifying the differences between the old and new standards.

"They did a great job and represented IU well," Yohn said of Erickson and Esplin.

The competition is intended to provide support to doctoral-level students of accounting, which are in short supply. Kelley has sent a team to the competition in all three years of its existence, but this is the first time it has ranked among the top five.

Accounting Department Chair Joseph Fisher praised the Kelley team, saying, "While this competition is rather new, Adam and Devon competed against all the top doctoral programs in the country. It is a real credit to the students and the doctoral program that they won this national competition."