Thursday, September 1, 2011

By Kelly Millar

2011 BDO WATCase WinnersA group of students from the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) placed Best Transfer, a privately owned trucking company from Guelph, under a financial microscope.

Upper-year students in Accounting and Financial Management (AFM), Math/Chartered Accountant (CA), and Biotech/CA recently delved into the company’s financial background as part of a case study for School of Accounting and Finance's annual Binder Dijker Otte & Co (BDO) WATCase Competition.

This year, the 11-day challenge required students to portray a client services team member in order to prepare an interim deliverable and briefing memo on issues surrounding the status of a new truck order and the implementation of a new dispatch system.

For over a week, student groups encountered intense discussions and debates on how to best proceed. “I had a vision for the case.” explains Yale Ren, Math/CA student and member of the winning team #33.

Communicating with the team to see if they felt the same and then going forward was probably the biggest challenge for me, getting perspective from everyone and making sure it all worked.

Although the task at hand was a unique process for the 40 groups involved, all students had to rely heavily on the background knowledge they received throughout their schooling. Teams were challenged to think analytically, translate complex data, and make a convincing presentation in front of a panel of industry experts and judges.

The judges were to play the role of the client: Best Transfer founder, Brian Williamson. Teams were to assume the judges had Brian’s background with a deep understanding of the business, the industry, and related business decisions. But they also needed to anticipate that judges were not experts on financial reporting standards or tax regulations. “It was sort of information overload.” explains Emma Ging, AFM student and member of team 33, “But it was nice because it was the first case we tackled, so we know it will be great preparation going into the [Uniform Final Evaluation]”.

One-by-one, judges narrowed the teams down to a mere two semi-finalists based on the following four criteria: content and structure, slide design/format, presentation delivery, and responses to questions during the question and answer period.

In the end, is was team 33 and group 46 who would square off for the last time, each perfecting their presentations and delivery, hoping the judges would see their recommendations as the most feasible.
Although the judges openly admitted that both teams did an excellent job it was team 33 who would be named champion of the 2011 BDO WATCase Competition.  

Congratulations to Yale Ren - Math/CA, Emma Ging – AFM, Mina Huang – AFM, and Jeff Blay – AFM.

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