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Team of ODU Accounting Students Wins AGA Government Finance Case Challenge

A team of Old Dominion University students enrolled in the Master of Science in accounting program recently won first place in the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) 2011 Graduate-Level Government Finance Case Challenge.

The Challenge, AGA's first at the graduate level, required each team to produce a set of citizen-centric financial statements for a fictional United States city. A total of 24 teams competed in the first round of the competition, submitting a citizen-centric report for a fictional city. Three teams were selected as Challenge finalists: ODU, Ohio Dominican University and George Mason University.

With expenses covered by the AGA, the three finalist teams attended the AGA's national conference in Atlanta last month to make a formal presentation before a panel composed of government accounting experts. First place was awarded to Team ODU, which consisted of Matthew Stewart, James Fiske, Meena Katwal and Sara Crabtree (team leader).

Team advisers included current accounting faculty members Laurie Henry, Megan Burnham and Douglas Ziegenfuss; Professor Emeritus Jesse Hughes; and Kelly Stefanko, an auditor from the Office of the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation. ODU has a long-term relationship with the local chapter of AGA and currently has the only active student chapter of AGA.

Ziegenfuss is understandably proud of the team for winning the Challenge. "I am continually amazed at the leadership displayed by our students. In this instance, Sara and her team took the initiative to sign up, compete and win this competition. We owe her and the team much for representing the university in such a great manner," he said.

Crabtree said Team ODU worked hard to achieve the win. "Between our submission for the first round and then in preparing our presentation for the final round, our team spent several hundred hours working on this competition, with a lot of team meetings during the evenings and weekends," she said.

The Graduate-Level Government Finance Case Challenge is part of the AGA's Citizen-Centric Reporting Initiative, intended to foster innovative means of communication between governments and their citizenry by providing government financial information to citizens in a format that is clear and understandable, updated regularly, delivered to all, easy to locate, honest in breadth and technically accurate in detail.

The format of the Challenge shows community information such as population figures, regional characteristics and government goals for the community, presents a performance report on key missions and service, details cost and revenue information and looks forward to the year ahead.

AGA believes that these reports will make governments more accountable to their citizens and will help Americans become better educated and better able to participate in government activities.

Photo from left to right: Relmond Van Daniker, executive director of the AGA and ODU students Matthew Stewart, James Fiske, Meena Katwal and Sara Crabtree (team leader).

Fri, 08/5/2011 9:00am