Accounting faculty awarded grant from PwC for curriculum development in data analytics

The UW Foster School of Business has been awarded a $20,000 grant from PwC to support its integration of advanced data analytics into its accounting curriculum at the undergraduate and masters levels.

Crystal Finkelstein

Crystal Finkelstein

The grant comes from the global professional services firm’s INQuires Program, which has awarded more than $5.4 million in funding to over 200 schools for faculty research, diversity initiatives and curriculum development.

Foster’s INQuires grant will fund the training of Izzy Weber and Crystal Finkelstein, co-directors of the Master of Science in Taxation Program, to become academic digital accelerators. After attending programming and data science bootcamps, the directors will engage with PwC’s Digital Accelerator and Digital Fitness application to understand best practices, trainings and case studies that could be deployed in the classroom.

This digital mindset will first be infused in the MS Taxation Program and then the undergraduate accounting curriculum, with Weber and Finkelstein serving as technology ambassadors to fellow faculty in the Department of Accounting.

Weber (BA 2011, MPAcc 2012), a full-time lecturer and certified public accountant, has taught accounting and taxation courses at Foster since 2014, following three years as a senior associate at PwC specializing in international tax. She is a two-time recipient of the Accounting Faculty of the Year award and was named Most Inspirational Faculty or Staff Member in 2017. She’s also co-founder of the UW’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistant program.

Izzy Weber

Finkelstein (BA 2004, MPAcc 2005), also a full-time lecturer and CPA, is a former partner of PwC where she focused on the asset management practice with an emphasis on alternative investment products. At PwC, she provided tax compliance and consulting services to clients, including hedge funds, venture capital funds, private equity funds and fund of funds in Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California and New York.

“With the skills Crystal and Izzy learn at these bootcamps, they will be able to create much more meaningful tax projects for both the undergraduate and masters level tax students,” says Frank Hodge, the Michael G. Foster Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Accounting—and the next dean of the Foster School. “They will also be able to share guidance and resources with other faculty members interesting in doing the same. The department hopes that by investing in our own learning, we will model the continuous learning mindset we’d like to encourage in our students.”

The Foster School’s Master of Science in Taxation is a nine-month program that prepares students for high-level careers in taxation, where economic decision-making depends on an in-depth knowledge of the tax code and its ramifications.

PwC is a Director Level Partner of the Foster School.