Applying course concepts at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
by Katie (MAcc Student) and Michelle (MAcc student)

How case competitions prepare you for the Master of Accounting program

The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is one of the oldest case competitions in Canada and is known for its complex yet integrative cases. This year, we had the pleasure of competing in the accounting stream, which focused on a business expansion in the cannabis sector. We had the fortunate opportunity to apply skills we learned in the classroom and work terms to real-life case applications. For our case, we focused on the issues faced by the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, as well as the fast-growing cannabis industry. 

Before we entered the Masters of Accounting (MAcc) program, we wanted to participate in a case competition to immerse ourselves in the case writing environment and apply the concepts we learned during our undergraduate studies. During the winter term, we enrolled in courses such as ACC 611 (Financial Reporting with integration), ACC 680 (Management Accounting, Strategy and Finance) and ACC 650 (Assurance and Governance). Despite being separate courses, all of these topics are interrelated. Each course requires fundamental accounting knowledge and focuses on developing the CPA technical competencies through deep case analysis. It is important to assess each scenario, provide in-depth analysis and make recommendations based on the needs of the stakeholders. Each course requires us to use our financial reporting, assurance, tax and finance knowledge to identify the issues and provide a consistent recommendation that considers the stakeholders' needs. 

Looking back, the case competition was a valuable introduction to the MAcc as we must continue to apply and complete cases in the program. The case competition provided an opportunity to apply our knowledge outside the classroom, utilizing stills developed throughout undergrad and thinking outside the box using fundamental concepts taught to us in core Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) courses. With the help of the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) professors, Shari Mann, Adam Vitalis, and Bradley Pomeroy, we were advised in the right direction and we met the expectations set by the collegiate. We were also able to develop an expectation of the high caliber of work that was expected from us. In addition to utilizing fundamental concepts gained throughout undergrad, we were able to apply the knowledge we learned from our co-ops at major public accounting firms to apply to the case competition. By utilizing our understanding of audits and reviews, we were able to provide our client recommendations and the next steps to help our response exceed the expectations of the competition.  

Overall, we would recommend the I.C.B.C. case competition to SAF students as you are able to apply core concepts and technical skills learned in the classroom and workplace into a case. This in turn mimics the thought process of the MAcc program and the high caliber of work required in a post-graduate program.