Accounting Contest Victory is One for the Books

Event Tested UT Dallas Team's Knowledge of Government Financial Concepts

March 18, 2008

A team of two students and a recent graduate from the UT Dallas School of Management won a first-ever national government accounting case competition last month in Washington, D.C.

The three-man team defeated 12 other universities at the Advancing Government Accountability’s (AGA) Government Finance Case Challenge.

Students from UT Dallas and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the two finalists, presented their final cases orally to a panel of judges at the AGA’s National Leadership Conference.

The winning UT Dallas team members were Chris Holsonback and Jeff Kaspar, both Accounting and Information Management (AIM) seniors; and Dave Johnson, who graduated last fall with a bachelor’s degree in AIM.

“Student teams were given two weeks to analyze and offer a written response to a case centered on how a U.S. city government implements a performance management system,” said Liliana Hickman-Riggs, an adjunct faculty member who teaches governmental accounting at UT Dallas’ School of Management. The two top teams had 25 minutes to present their cases before a panel of judges from industry, local, state and federal offices.

Ms. Hickman-Riggs says the governmental accounting class not only serves a vital role in preparing students for accounting in the public sector, but also shows students the unusual accounting rules that regulate governmental agencies.

“I knew that my students would do very well and had great confidence in their ability,” she said. “We wanted to be first and to set the tone for others to follow.”

The students each took home $200 in prize money. All of the three competitors’ conference expenses were also paid. The School of Management will receive a plaque to honor the win.

Johnson, originally from Tulsa, is a senior accountant for operations at Aviall Inc., a Boeing company. Holsonback is from Rowlett, and Kaspar is from Wichita Falls.

AGA is a professional association with members from all levels of government – local, state and federal – as well as members who work for tribal governments, academic institutions and private sector organizations. The group encourages governmental organizations to adopt “citizen-centric” reports that distill huge financial documents into usable reports that average citizens can read and understand.


Media contact:Jill Glass, UT Dallas, ( 972) 883-5989, jill.glass@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Pictured are (left to right) School of Management Alum Dave Johnson and Accounting and Information Management students Jeff Kaspar and Chris Holsonback.

From left: School of Management Alum Dave Johnson and Accounting and Information Management students Jeff Kaspar and Chris Holsonback.

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