2015 SOA Conference Draws Crowds

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Three days. Four major events. More than 200 attendees.

The third annual School of Accountancy Conference ran 22-24 October, bringing together SOA alumni, faculty, and community members for an activity-filled weekend event. Here’s a rundown of the weekend’s happenings.

Ladies’ Night

The Women in the School of Accounting club kicked off the conference on Thursday with their fall banquet, an event designed to connect alumnae with current female students. A women’s panel and featured speakers addressed opportunities for women in the workplace and at home, aiming to help students learn to use their accounting degrees in all phases of life. Nolan Robinson, the banquet’s guest speaker and a 2012 MAcc graduate, spoke of the need for women to pursue a meaningful career.

“As women in the accounting program, it’s sometimes hard to see the big picture—that there are jobs out there that are conducive to being a mother and a professional,” she said. “Many women are discouraged from the program because of the . . . perception that having an accounting career means you will always work intense hours. There are so many opportunities out there.”

From the Experts

On Friday the SOA Conference hosted a number of different sessions taught by BYU faculty and field practitioners. After a welcoming address, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Benedict spoke about his experiences as a journalist, including the time he spent in Provo writing about BYU athletes for his book, The System.

“It was a great experience because I got to talk about some themes that mean a lot to me and share the experiences of some remarkable individuals with other people,” Benedict says. “Clearly, the stories matter a lot those who teach at BYU or who attended BYU because it’s their university.”

Later BYU accounting professor Doug Prawitt spoke to conference goers about his experience working with The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. He also illustrated the importance of effective internal control by sharing insights he gained while serving as an expert witness in the Koss fraud case, which involved one of the largest defalcations in the history of the United States.

“It was an honor to be included among such a distinguished line-up of speakers,” Prawitt says. “It is continually amazing and gratifying to me that the SOA is able to pull off such a high-quality accounting conference.”

Back Together Again

After the in-house sessions on Friday, the SOA gathered with alumni who entered the Junior Core in the fall semesters of 2010, 2005, 2000, and 1995 for a reunion event. The gathering was a new addition to the conference and a highlight for SOA director Jeff Wilks.

“I personally got to catch up with an alum who was in my Junior Core group twenty-two years ago,” he says. “I loved the chance to renew old friendships.”

The Tail End

The conference wrapped up on Saturday with a tailgate party before the BYU football game against Wagner College. For SOA alumni director Jennifer Maroney, it was a seamless end to a successful weekend.

“We were thrilled with the tremendous response of attendees for our three-day conference,” Maroney says. “We felt that everything went smoothly and more importantly, reconnections and new friends were made.”