Wake Forest accounting team earns top five position in national competition

By Pam Barrett
February 3, 2006

A team of three sophomores and two juniors from Wake Forest University's Calloway School of Business and Accountancy was named one of five national winning teams in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 3rd Annual xTREME Accounting (xACT) Competition in New York City, Jan. 19-20.

The Wake Forest team consisted of juniors Nicole Burnap and Kristen Raliski and sophomores Brandon Prewitt, Andrew Salcetti and Kati Sanford.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers xACT Competition is a prestigious annual learning competition that recognizes accounting and auditing skills of students from leading accountancy programs across the country. Sixty-three universities were invited to compete in this year's competition. Five schools were named national finalists: Wake Forest, Indiana University, Louisiana State University, Bentley College and Florida A&M University. Wake Forest is the only private university to make a repeat trip to the national finals. In 2004, Wake Forest's team was also named a top five finalist.

Although Wake Forest has participated in past xACT competitions, only one junior from this year's winning team had previously participated. "We open this competition to all Calloway students with a passion for enhancing their knowledge of accounting and auditing as well as their critical thinking, teamwork and creative skills.

More than 100 students were interested in participating. After a faculty review and interviewing process, two teams of five students were selected," said George Aldhizer, the team's faculty coach and associate professor of accountancy in the Calloway School.

According to Aldhizer, the victory was particularly sweet since, unlike other schools, Wake Forest's winning team had two juniors who had not yet taken an auditing class and three sophomores who had taken only two months of an introductory accounting class. "Their outstanding presentation and Q&A responses before a panel of PwC partners are not only a testament to the quality of the students on the team, but also the quality of the education they are receiving at Wake Forest," Aldhizer said.

The competition required each of the five national finalist teams to recommend improvements to the accounting educational process, the auditing profession and the corporate governance structure of a mythical country called Panadrevia.

Each of the five national winning teams received more than $15,000 in cash and an all expense-paid trip to New York that included tickets to a Broadway performance. A multimedia presentation of the competition, featuring the five teams, will be distributed to business schools across the country in the near future.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused audit and assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients.

Wake Forest's Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, the university's largest undergraduate program, is ranked 30th among the nation's undergraduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report. It is ranked 14th in accounting programs and 16th in entrepreneurship in the magazine's college rankings guide.