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Sixteen Daniels students experience accounting in London

In early December, 16 Daniels students—some pursuing a bachelor’s in accountancy and others pursuing their master’s in accountancy—embarked on a trip to London, not for a holiday, but to soak in as much as they could from professionals in their future field. The group, led by Associate Professor Ryan Casey and Associate Professor of the Practice Suzette Loving, met with eight organizations in five days.

Day 1
The class met with two consultants from Resources Global Professionals (RGP) to gain insight on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RGP helps implement RPA processes for companies looking to improve control of their processes by automating high volume, repetitive tasks in the workplace often seen in finance and accounting jobs.

“We learned that implementing RPA reduces head count costs, and improves the speed and accuracy of data input, while remaining process based to remain relatively simple to implement compared to artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Justin Jokinen (MAcc 2019), who graduated with his master’s of accountancy this fall. “They shared that 70% of businesses are looking into, or already have implemented RPA, giving employees more time to use their personal experience and insights to add value to the company.”

The same day, the students visited the Hammersmith London office of Denver-based Western Union. Alex Beavan, Western Union’s senior manager of fraud and internal investigations, explained the vast difference between fraud attempted via their retail outlets and fraud attempted through their business solutions clients.

“We learned the value of forensic experts being involved in developing preventative business practices aimed at identifying and/or avoiding creative spam email aimed at infiltrating businesses of all types, which might be involved in money transfers,” said Ben Osofsky, who is pursuing his bachelor’s and master’s of accountancy.

Western Union’s Carrie Phillips, global sponsorship manager, explained the process of identifying and developing a marketing partnership (aka corporate sponsorship) with a professional soccer team, along with discussing the many challenges of calculating a return on investment for this significant market investment.

“Exposure to topics and issues experienced in the global business environment is invaluable for accounting students about to begin their careers,” said Ryan Casey, associate professor of accountancy. “Today almost all professionals working in the accounting/finance industry will need to have a global mindset so it is a huge advantage to start thinking about this as a student.”

Day 2
The students enjoyed the view on the 20th floor of EY, overlooking much of the new business district and the river in the center of Canary Wharf. Three senior managers in the capital markets practice presented on issues relating to audits of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. parent companies and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspections in the U.K. As all three managers were American citizens, they also discussed what life was like living and working abroad and general challenges and perks associated with it.

The view didn’t disappoint at Comcast either. The group got a break from traditional accounting firms to hear about Comcast’s strategy in the U.K., the specifics of programmed advertising, the company’s top competitors in the advertising space, as well as the future of the media industry from the professionals’ perspectives.

Day 3
Nandini Ramkrishnan discussed her career trajectory at JP Morgan with the students.

“I really enjoyed hearing about her experience within different parts of the company, as well as her take on political events like Brexit and the protests in Hong Kong,” said Mark Larocca, who is expected to graduate with a dual degree in winter 2020. “We were privileged to have had the opportunity to hear Nandini’s expertise and take in her career and professional advice.”

Day 4
Iona Moncrieff from PwC introduced the students to multiple audit teams, learning about non-financial service claims that business make, such as ‘world’s most sustainable building’ or ‘least carbon emissions in the industry’. The group also heard from the digital auditing team who explained how audits are evolving to cope with massive amounts of data, and the automation of procedures that makes this possible.

Day 5
The group met with four professionals from Deloitte, two in the U.S. tax practice and two from the capital markets assurance division.

Their final visit on the last day was with the U.S. law firm ReedSmith, where tax partner Gareth Amdor covered a wide variety of topics including Brexit, as well as Starbucks’ and Apple’s income tax issues. Gareth further explained how he works, as a tax lawyer, with accountants on a variety of issues primarily dealing with mergers and acquisitions.

“This class allowed for us to gain perspective not on the accounting world, but on the world of accounting,” Osofsky said. “The class opened my eyes to the global perspective. Do not be surprised if you see me working abroad.”