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Accounting News Roundup: KPMG’s Special Schools; Taxes and Triathlons | 08.05.16

KPMG's special (graduate) schools

KPMG announced a new partnership with Villanova and Ohio State that will put 50 lucky boys and girls into master's programs that "[emphasize] data and analytics." Program participants will start next fall, followed by a spring internship, back to school in the summer and become full-fledged Klynveldians in fall of 2018.

But what's most interesting is the learnin'!

The program will also involve working with Ohio State and Villanova to integrate the latest audit technology into the classroom. But the key is the analytics portion, which will consume about 50 percent of the curriculum, according to Villanova School of Business Vice Dean Daniel Wright.

Created to develop auditors in the data age, the program innovations are part of broader data analytics initiatives at the two schools. The program will combine practical use of the latest analytics technology and data sets, as well as real-world experience using the firm’s proprietary tools in the classroom and as members of KPMG audit teams.

Villanova's current master's program "is focused on almost all accounting principles with little room for analytics training" so the data and analytics would be a new emphasis.

I think there are a couple of different ways you could look at this: 1) This is a good opportunity for students to focus on important skills for auditors and they get exposure to audit technology that big audit firms use; 2) This is a Big 4 firm throwing money at a couple of universities to further entrench their recruiting machine and keep the curriculum focused on skills that most accountants will use only briefly during their careers.

Or you could mash those two together for one really complicated viewpoint which is more or less where I fall on this debate that I just created.

The optimist in me understands that data and analysis is the future of accounting so it's a great opportunity for a small number of students to focus on those skills. Skills that, I reckon, are far more transferable to a non-public accounting job. But the cynic in me reads "using the firm's proprietary tools in the classroom" and I realize that this warps the students' minds with the belief that a Big 4 firm is the only way to start a career out of school.

I'm sure the programs will be a huge success.

Taxes and triathlons

The Olympics are starting today and that means we can look forward to all kinds of heartwarming stories about athletes overcoming long odds and suspected doping to realize their gold medal dreams.

Gwen Jorgenson is a US triathlete who competed four years ago in London and is back in Rio this year where she is a favorite to win gold:

Jorgensen is a reigning two-time world champion and didn't lose a single race for the entire 2015 season. Even when she's about to lose, she doesn't: In June, she found herself trailing Bermuda's Flora Duffy by 100 seconds entering the conclusive running portion of a triathlon in Leeds — and she still won by 51 seconds.

Holy schnikes, that is impressive. Gwen, if you remember, worked in tax for EY shortly before she decided to go all in as a world-class athlete. Our pal Tony Nitti (a decent athlete/tax person himself) interviewed her back in June for Forbes where she talked about her routine:

My days were pretty hectic. Looking back, it wasn’t fair to either of my jobs (as an accountant nor as a triathlete). I would wake up around 4am, ride my bike in the dark with lots of lights to swimming practice (at the time I didn’t own a car), swim for an hour and a half, hop on the treadmill for thirty to forty minutes, ride home and be at work before 8am. I would then put in a full day at work and then come home and ride the trainer (as it was usually late and dark outside by this time). I wasn’t getting enough sleep and I wasn’t recovering properly to be an elite athlete at the top level. Some days I would get a ride to swimming and then run the thirteen miles home before starting my day at Ernst & Young.

That makes me tired just reading about it. Good luck, Gwen! We'd advise staying out of the water, but that's sorta what you're there to do; be sure to keep your mouth closed.

Accountants behaving badly

Walter Walas was sentenced to 3 to 20 years after pleading no contest to three counts of embezzlement from his elderly clients. At the time he committed these crimes, Walas was on probation for criminal sexual conduct after "grop[ing] a woman with whom he had a professional relationship." It will probably not surprise you that during the investigation of his embezzlement crimes, his CPA license was suspended, but he continued "to practice and file income tax returns." An all-around creep, this guy.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about BYOT (bring your own team). And in Open Items, someone is mentally preparing for Meet the Firms.

In other news:

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