Team UCSI, “The Bad Assets”, emerged as first runner up in the Accounting Competency Challenge 2019 organised by the UUM Accounting Society and the Student Council. The team comprised of Chan Kit Theng - BA (Hons) Accounting, Chan Wan Teng - BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance, Shaun Thew Chee Shian - BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance and William Kiong Wai Lun - BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance.
“This achievement helped motivate us to try again and harder. It was a good experience and an eye-opening one. While challenging it also gave us a lot of insight on industry trends,” said William.
“UCSI University has provided a lot of opportunities which enable us to go beyond our comfort zone and increase our capacity to learn. We were able to get the essence of thinking critically and logically while forming our own opinions. It taught us how to be book smart but also street smart,” he added.
In total, there were 14 teams representing different universities selected as finalists. This was after completing the preliminary assessment that involved a case study regarding corporate governance failure that required the teams to identify key areas of improvements and suggests ways to strengthen the corporate structure.
Throughout the few days of the competition, the team was put through various challenges revolving around the three main aspects in accounting: audit, taxation and management accounting.
The competition kick-started with the Tax Affairs Challenge where the participants were given an hour to crack a real-life business case.
The team “The Bad Assets” was tasked to represent the Economy Action Council (EAC) to propose solutions to the government in building a business-friendly environment to secure both foreign and domestic investors in order to revamp the FDI growth rate in Malaysia which has previously dropped due to the general election in 2018.
The solutions provided had to meet the criteria of having both tax and non-tax measures. The team received positive feedback from the judges. Nur Diyana Ahmad Fauzi, Senior Tax Manager of PwC Malaysia commented that “The team demonstrated clear, concise and professional presentation with great confidence.”
The next day, the competition continued with the Hawk Insight Challenge where participants were required to deliver a press conference to a news reporter. The team were tasked to help a company in the sports goods industry, in trying to resolve a business crisis. This challenge tested the teams in terms of crisis management, quick-thinking ability during the Q and A session, professionalism and the overall conduct of a real-life press conference.
The main judge, James Lee from KPMG Malaysia mentioned that “The team demonstrated sincerity in the press conference and managed to answer the issues that the business is facing with proper informed solutions. Everyone was well-versed and competent in each of the roles they played.”
The final stage of the competition commenced with a 2-hour audit stimulation whereby participants get to experience hands-on the tasks given to auditors in real life. Teams were each given a pile of source documents and were tasked to form a thorough opinion on whether the financial information given were presented in a true and fair manner in all material aspects.
There were also a few designated positions role-played by facilitators to simulate real-life communication between an auditor and their clients as they allowed for enquires and seeking of clarification. Afterwards, the participants were required to present their audit findings to the audit partner of a company.
The feedback from the judge for the final round competition, Adrian Lam, Director of Deloitte PLT Malaysia was that “The team showed confidence in delivering the audit findings, as they had the right direction in mind while conducting proper audit procedures. Key areas of audit were highlighted in the presentation but needed more in-depth audit analysis.”
The prize included RM1,300 and a glass medallion as a token to signify transparency. This was a great experience for the team as the members caught a glimpse of what each of the key areas of accounting had to offer and provided an insight on future career pathways.
Such competitions are not only beneficial for students in terms of knowledge but also provides an avenue for character development: teamwork, leadership, communication, critical thinking and problem solving. ACC 2019 undoubtedly ignited a spark in the students to join more competitions like this and to organise one on their own to share their passion and enjoyment for accounting amongst UCSI University students.