Foster undergrads win regional Deloitte audit challenge, advance to nationals

Kelsey Evenson, Ali Campbell, Joey Catton, Kenny Kasperbauer, Mallory Breen, Kimberly Bronstein and Terrence Blackburne.

A team of undergraduate accounting students from the UW Foster School of Business has won the 2018 Deloitte Audit Innovation Campus Challenge, western region.

The Foster team—Mallory Breen, Kimberly Bronstein, Ali Campbell, Joey Catton, Kelsey Evenson and Kenny Kasperbauer—bested seven prominent West Coast business schools to take top honors.

The Audit Innovation Campus Challenge provides students with an opportunity to leverage their skills and experience through practical application by responding to an innovative audit challenge statement.

This year’s challenge was: “How can Deloitte capitalize on its institutional skills and capabilities to expand and broaden its assurance services in connection with less traditional, non-financial subject matters?”

Team Foster’s winning solution was to leverage Deloitte’s resources to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) for a variety of industries that are most closely correlated with companies’ stock prices. They then outlined a plan to standardize definitions of the KPIs and to develop controls to assure their reliability.

Foster’s advantage was its balanced approach, according to Terrence Blackburne, the assistant professor of accounting at Foster who served as the team’s faculty advisor.

“In our debrief, the judges commented on how balanced the team was,” says Blackburne. “In the Q&A sessions, all of the team members responded to the judges’ questions with very thoughtful answers.”

Victory in the regional round earned Foster a spot in the firm’s national challenge at Deloitte University—the company’s learning and leadership development center near Dallas—in April, where they will match wits with 11 other finalists from top b-schools around the nation.