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USYD Students Impress in Accounting Competitions

29 Oct 2010

The University of Sydney has been well represented in the accounting world over recent months, with a number of students from the Faculty of Economics and Business rising to challenges set by Australia's two top accounting bodies CPA Australia and The Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

CPA Big-Break Challenge

After a gruelling two rounds of judging, University of Sydney Bachelor of Commerce students, Daniel Kim and Anthony Hui have been named the NSW winners of the CPA Big-Break Challenge.

The competition, which ran over three months, gave University students across Australia an opportunity to solve a real-world business challenge faced by CPA Australia's principal charity organisation: Room-to-Read.

With the support of their lecturer Vijaya Murthy, Daniel and Anthony developed and presented a market entry strategy for Room-to-Read, who is seeking to expand into Honduras in Central America. The not-for-profit organisation focuses on literacy and gender equality in education, and endeavours to assist underprivileged girls to complete secondary school.


Daniel Kim and Anthony Hui are presented with their state awards in the CPA Big Break competition.

Utilising skills learnt throughout their time at The University of Sydney, Daniel and Anthony spent one month preparing a PowerPoint Presentation; analysing reports, and developing a SWOT Analysis of Room-to-Read, which was then judged by representatives of CPA. Success in round one saw them move onto the second leg of the competition, where they were flown to Melbourne to give a thirty minute presentation. This was followed by a fifteen minute Q&A in front of a panel of three judges from the CPA.

"The idea of presenting our slides to a panel was very daunting," said Daniel. "However, the ongoing support from our Management Accounting lecturer Vijaya Murthy, gave us the opportunity to showcase what we have learnt over our two years at University. Our experience in international business, business strategy, and our ability to analyse accounting reports provided us with an edge over competitors, and we were lucky enough to walk away as state winners."

Daniel and Anthony were thrilled to have won an iPad each, as well as a $1000 Myer voucher. Anthony said; "the experience was very rewarding. I didn't ever think I would have the opportunity to work on a real-world business challenge whilst still studying. The University, along with CPA, provided a platform for us to network with a global company, and showcase our talents."

2010 Chartered Accountants Student Challenge

Their fellow accounting student, Akilesh Mahadevan, has also shown that he has what it takes to make it in the business world, with his submission being placed as a NSW finalist in the 2010 Chartered Accountants Student Challenge.

Akilesh put accounting knowledge to the test and designed a functional and accessible budgeting tool for high school students.

More than 111 business, finance and commerce students from universities around Australia took part in the 2010 Student Challenge, putting themselves in the shoes of a Chartered Accountant to identify and solve a real business problem facing well-known Australian charity, The Smith Family.


Akilesh Mahadevan accepts his award from The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

Paul Henderson, Executive Director of Engagement at The Smith Family, said:

"We were very impressed with the high standard of entries and the creativity of the students. We appreciate the time invested and the clear consideration given to the needs of our stakeholder groups. The winning entry cleverly presented four key indicators that we recognise will be important in demonstrating our impact to our supporters."

Now in its third year, the Student Challenge is an opportunity for students to boost their CVs with practical experience. It allows them to experience the dynamic challenges that Chartered Accountants face every day, all over the globe and help make a difference to an Australian charity.

As part of his prize, Akilesh presented his winning submission at the Ultimate Power Lunch to The Smith Family and prospective employers on Monday 11 October. The power lunch was held at the very exclusive Aria restaurant, where the students were able to network with Chartered Accountants and HR representatives from the Big 4 and corporate firms.

Akilesh, a first year business student said: "The Power Lunch was an excellent opportunity to present my budgeting tool for high school students to employers and Chartered Accountants in the industry. I really enjoyed the Student Challenge experience and I feel it has added real value to my CV and improved my skill set."