Category Archives: Student Life

extracurricular activites, UT sports and other campus events, student organizations, recreation, etc.

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. Continue reading Time Travel: The History of Accounting

A peek into how some things work.

Happy new year to everyone! I know I may be belated in saying this, but while we’re in the month of January, it still feels like the new year has just sprung.

I read an article the other day about resolutions. According to the article, social scientists have recently concluded that “willpower is a real form of mental energy powered by glucose in the bloodstream, which is used up as you exert self-control.” It’s interesting to think of willpower as being not only mental but also physiological. We’re depleting our stores of glucose whenever we attempt to pull ourselves away from immediate desires and wishes. (When faced with temptations, it’s like walking your 90 pound dog when there are squirrels in the vicinity).  The article’s thesis is pretty intuitive: avoid depleting those precious stores by knowing yourself and your weaknesses better and planning accordingly. I think about my precious glucose from time to time this semester, which is already looking like it’ll be a busy one.

This Spring, I’ll be working for the development team at Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, a nonprofit organization that provides services, consulting and otherwise, to nonprofits in the Central Texas area. It’s going great! On top of my daily duties, I am surrounded by nonprofit “shoptalk” and resources, have access to training sessions and workshops on topics from grant writing to board essentials, and am being thoroughly educated every day on the ins and outs of the industry. Greenlights is a small organization comprised of about 10 people all in love with nonprofits for one reason or another. My own fondness for nonprofits stems (quite simply) from their assertion of hope, which is infused into every mission statement out there. I’m reading a book right now that provides the following statistic, which I think is pretty interesting. Continue reading A peek into how some things work.

“Grew up in DFW, lived in Paris, loves cycling”

Tonight I attended the MPA: Building Connections workshop at McCombs. The workshop was led by Michelle Polkinghorn and she brushed us up on some crucial networking skills in preparation for the “Meet the Firms” recruiting kickoff this week at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium. For those of you who are not, or have not, recruited recently, “Meet the Firms” is an opportunity for students and firms to meet and connect with each other in a structured setting.

We were given a bunch of important tips but one particularly resonated with me.  When I returned home, I turned on The Office while I worked on some audit homework, and I was reminded of this tip and now feel obliged to pass it on to you all.

Michelle suggested that after talking with a recruiter, and receiving their business card, you should write on the back a few key facts about the recruiter or memorable talking points. Of course, this should be done out of view of the recruiter. Suggested were writing things such as “UT alum” or “Talked about our love for cycling.” Anything that will help you to create an actual memorable relationship with the person.

Tell me which sounds better:

1. “Oh, hi…do you remember me? We, um, talked before…at the event last week…”

OR

2. “Hello *recruiter’s name*, how are you doing? Did you ever get a chance to check out that bike trail we talked about last week at the brief and meet?”

I know I have a tendency to be extreme, but I hope you see my point.

Now back to The Office. This particular episode pits Dwight and Michael against each other competing for a big client. Although we can all agree that Michael can be a little bit radical and unreasonable in his business methods, he successfully employs this business card tip! In Michael’s case, he writes down facts about his clients’ families and likes/dislikes. Therefore, in a business setting, Michael delights his clients using the information he had written down.

Personal facts show his clients (and in our case, recruiters) that he cares about them and helps to maintain, as well as strengthen, their relationship.

My favorite clip from the episode reveals Michael’s thoughts on Dwight:

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. Continue reading Accounting Practicum: The Class that Gives Back

A Stand

Lady Justice

Most people that know me hopefully see me as jovial for the most part. I pray I am slow to anger and generally cheerful. Every once in a while, though, I see something that upsets me.

Last week I read a story about a girl in Philadelphia that angered me. I am truly irate. My jaws were sore on Saturday morning from clenching my teeth all day Thursday and Friday. Even after trying to give myself some time to cool down, I am certain that I can’t. See, this little girl was denied a kidney transplant because she was mentally disabled, and I cannot keep silent about that. It’s a blatant slap in the face of civil rights.

Why is this important to MPAs? I have said on several occasions that MPAs, because of our role in society, need to be civil role models as well as corporate role models. That is, we need to go vote, volunteer, etc. Our actions need to reflect the values we hold. It would be hard to look up to someone in the boardroom when you knew that that person was slime when he left the office.

For me, this is no exception. It would be difficult for me to stand by passively on a topic too close to my heart with such a responsibility on my shoulders. So here it goes:

Amelia Rivera

Amelia Rivera is three years old and has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. She needs a kidney transplant within a year, to live. However, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (“CHOP”) told her parents that she could not receive a kidney transplant there because she was “mentally retarded” and because of her “quality of life.” More upsetting is the fact that when her parents told the doctor that they would try to find a donor on their own, the doctor insisted that he still would not perform the transplant.

This is clearly discrimination against those with mental disabilities. Even while I am cautious to go to an extreme on this issue, it seems that there was no other rationale from this doctor to deny this child her right to live. Had several other reasons been given for this child to be denied her kidney, I may have been more understanding. As it is, I am not at all understanding. Continue reading A Stand