Fall 2017

Kim Pugliese – Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner

By Zolzaya Lkhagvasuren, MPAC Student

2015 Albers Accounting Graduate Kimberly Pugliese has won a coveted Elijah Watt Sells Award. This award is bestowed upon CPA candidates who have obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, passing all four sections on their first attempt.

Mr. Michael Decker, AICPA VP, while congratulating the winners of the Elijah Watt Sells award on their outstanding accomplishment reiterated that the CPA Examination, along with its education and experience requirement, sets a high bar for entry into the profession to ensure that only qualified individuals earn a CPA license. A total of 102,323 individuals sat for the Examination in 2016, with 58 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Examination. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the U.S., was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role advancing professional education within the profession.

"Kim was in my class and was an outstanding student. I'm not surprised she has won this award. She also won the Paul A. Volpe award for highest academic performance."

-Dr. Chipalkatti, Chair of the Accounting Department

Kim (center in maroon dress) with classmates at the Annual Accounting Awards Banquet. 

Accounting Mentor Program

By Zolzaya Lkhagvasuren, MPAC Student

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.” -Nnamdi Ezebube, Albers Alumni, Accounting Mentor and Controller at Evergreen Health

Seattle University's Accounting Mentor Program’s mission is to increase and aid the interactions between our students and professionals who are currently working in the accounting field. It is a perfect opportunity for students to network with professionals and gain practical knowledge of the accounting industry. The mentors offer invaluable career guidance, suggestions for the recruiting and interviewing process, professional insight to business issues, and professional development opportunities. 

The Accounting Mentor Program was initiated by Dr. Susan Weihrich in 2002 to aid the needs of Accounting undergraduates and graduate students.  Alumni who used to meet with Dr. Weihrich would always ask her if there were anything that they could do for the Department. When she became Chair of the Accounting Department, she started the Accounting Mentor Program as a way for alumni to give back to the school and stay connected with its activities. She also wanted each student to have up to two mentors so they can have more diverse insights.  True to her vision, 15 years hence the program has served over 800 students who have been matched with over 200 mentors.

"Mentors have played a significant role in my professional development which is why I continue to participate in the Accounting Mentor Program. I love the excitement and optimism of the students who I’ve met and mentored through this program and enjoy sharing my experiences with them."

Li Tan, Albers Alumni, Accounting Mentor and Corporate Controller at Shape Technologies Group

The Accounting mentors, many of whom are SU alumni, work in a variety of environments in the accounting industry, from The Big Four to local and regional accounting firms, as well as industry. The mentors are paired with one to two students and encouraged to meet every four to six weeks.  Alumna Li Tan (pictured above), Global Corporate Controller with Shape Technologies Group, has mentored all 15 years of the programs existence.  Without Li and all of our wonderful Accounting Mentors, this program would not be possible. We look forward to years of increased participation.  

EU Study Tour

By Hayley Dixon (MPAC Student) and Carlos Morgan Montemayor (Accounting Undergraduate)

First, the numbers: 22 students, over 20 venues, over 40 business professionals, in 11 weekdays. Yet behind the numbers lies a greater significance: In our short-term study abroad tour, including pre-departure sessions and a post-program panel, we were able to discover, confirm, and clarify paths to our own development as mission-driven, aspiring professionals. The 2017 European Union Study Tour was a transformational experience for all participants, regardless of major, and those of us intent on careers in accounting gained a deeper understanding of our discipline, both through the course on comparative corporate governance and the complementary course on the European business environment. The breadth of our visits—in Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, and Amsterdam—helped us gain a broader appreciation for the centrality of accounting. But it was the depth of our conversations in between venues, with our professors and peers from other business majors, that helped to enrich our understanding of the relevance of accounting in critical business decisions.

 In our pre-departure sessions, we explored the differences between the European and American corporate governance systems. We applied terms that had been introduced in our other business classes, terms that were initially a challenge but came alive as common language on tour, such as two-tier boards, co-determination, and comply-and-explain. They were especially helpful when we visited all Big Four firms and when we visited with professionals from Boeing, Commerzbank, Costco, Google, Microsoft, DAF/Paccar, and Starbucks, to name a few. By visiting these venues and others, by speaking with professionals, and by being able to ask questions, we could learn about and actually experience European’s processes in a much more tangible way and compare them to US practices. As we progressed through our tour, we were able to draw connections between venues. We could ask presenters at one firm about a statement made by a representative at another and identify similarities and differences in a way that would not have been as credible in a textbook or in a classroom. We weren’t merely reading about policymaking; rather, we met the professionals who help make policy, and we ate lunch with those who are affected by the policies. And when we returned home, we met with former students who had been on the tour in a previous year to learn how they had put the experience to work for them in the job search and in their careers.

 It's not so much that we got out of the classroom and into the real world. Rather, we took the classroom with us into the real world. Each venue was a classroom; each host was a guest speaker. One of our peers on the tour described the experience as a “whirlwind of professionalism.” At times it felt more like a business trip than a study tour. We set high expectations for ourselves and our professors held us accountable. We got to dress the part and meet the people we hope to be one day. And for that we’re very grateful to the Albers School and people in Albers and the people who support Albers for making this transformational experience possible.