Archives for Karen

Last Semester Battle!

The Battle Continues...

In 74 days, 13 hours, 44 minutes, and 14 seconds (when I was writing this), I will be walking on stage in my cap and gown in front of a beaming crowd of MPAs and their celebrating proud families and friends. But before fast forwarding to that day of cameras and diplomas, let me paint a picture of what’s going on in my very last semester of MPA:

CPA Exam

It was 5:45 in the morning when I woke up. I was tired, yet I could not stay asleep any longer. I was ready to get it over with. It had been over a month since I started preparing for this test, and I was ready to fight the battle…

These were my thoughts two and a half hours before taking one of the CPA Exam sections. I was extremely nervous, regardless of the amount of time I had put in to study for the exam, I felt that I still was not prepared enough. There will always be a problem left to review or a formula left to memorize. I was panicking, yet I managed to calm myself down after eating a protein-loaded breakfast that would hopefully stimulate my brain.

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Time Travel: The History of Accounting

Once a number cruncher, always a number cruncher!

The celebration of the UT Accounting Program’s centennial anniversary is fast approaching. What would be a better way to celebrate this longstanding success than looking back at how the field of accounting was born? This will be the first of a three-part series on accounting: how it started; how it’s viewed and used in today’s world; and how the accounting program was established and developed at UT.

It might be a surprise to some, but accounting is one of the oldest professions in history. Families and small communities had to account for food and other necessities in preparation for cold and harsh seasons. Researchers and anthropologists found evidence of accounting records that existed during the Babylon Empire. In other words, formal accounting records were already in existence since 4500 BC! They also found accounting records in the Code of Hammurabi which dates back to 2250 BC! This just proves that as business transactions and government tax systems became more complex, people knew that they had to account and keep track of their revenues and expenses.

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Accounting Practicum: The Class that Gives Back

My co-bloggers Ally and Xinmiao have talked about how as MPAs, we do get various opportunities to give back to the community and work with/for not-for-profits. This semester, I am taking a course, which allows me to do just those. Yes, UT has an accounting class that is solely committed to using our accounting knowledge to serve others.

ACC 384 or ACC 366P is the Accounting Practicum class that can be taken by undergraduate and graduate students at McCombs. The class has been offered at UT for six years and has allowed students to become volunteer tax preparers at low-income neighborhoods.

UT partners with Community Tax Centers, a local not-for-profit organization under Foundation Communities. It has partnered with the IRS to implement the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for low income filers. Students taking the class are required to complete at least 55 hours of volunteer service as tax preparers at various Community Tax Centers from January until mid-April. Shifts can be as long as six hours per day.

This past weekend, we took the basic training to become preparers. We learned to navigate the tax preparation software that is being used for the program. We also worked on various cases and scenarios that we might encounter as volunteers and how we can effectively use the IRS guidebooks in helping clients with various tax issues and preparing their returns. Next Friday, we will have our intermediate training to become equipped in handling more complicated tax issues and preparation. The class requires that we take the certification tests after each training to assure that we have sufficient knowledge to do our volunteer work well.

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When Things Get Stressful…

The MindBody Lab (photo taken from CMHC)

Finals week, unarguably, is one of the most stressful weeks for MPA students. Fortunately, UT and Austin provide a vast number of self-care options for students when things get a little stressful.  The city boasts enough diverse activities that there are options for everyone. Whenever my brain needs to take a break from accounting or from anything school-related, here are some of the things I do to rejuvenate:

1)   Cooking. Austin has to be among the best cities to get the freshest ingredients to the dishes you are making. I frequent grocery stores HEB on 41st and Red River, Central Market on 38th and N. Lamar, and Whole Foods on 6th and N. Lamar, all of which are a 10-minute drive away from campus. I also go to the Austin Farmers’ Market  downtown on Saturdays and at the Triangle on N. Lamar on Wednesdays. Local farmers from the Central Texas area sell fresh produce and other local products that you would not find elsewhere.  Not only are their goods fresh, but they are fairly cheap, too!

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MPA Cribs: A “Mini Tour” of the McCombs School of Business

The 21st Street Entrance to the McCombs School of Business

Six floors, three buildings and top-notch classrooms and facilities – The McCombs School of Business has been the home of over 6,000 students. Personally, it is the only place on-campus where I spend my time: for classes, group projects, organizational meetings, studying, eating or just socializing with friends.

I would like to open the doors of the business school and give you a “mini tour” of the buildings’ most prominent highlights.  Welcome to my crib!

1)   “The Family Group”

Situated by the 21st Street entrance of the business school,   “The Family Group” is a sculpture designed by Charles Umlauf. Umlauf had a vision that focused on family; “the foundation upon which the world of business is built.” The plaza where the sculpture is located also has several tables and chairs where students can study or wait before their classes start.

AIM Investment Center

 

2)   AIM Investment Center

One of the most prominent facilities in the business school is the AIM Investment Center. With the LED ticker constantly running overhead, the facility provides business students the latest updates on current stock prices. The AIM Investment Center is also a part of the EDS Financial Trading and Technology Center, which is dedicated to helping MBA students and undergraduate finance majors obtain real-world experience in managing investment portfolios and developing client relationships.

 

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