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The Cognitive Audit: The Effects of Cognitive Computing on Financial Audit Roles of Tomorrow

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Cognitive technology has been at the forefront of the minds of many technology, government, and business leaders, because of its potential to completely revolutionize their fields. Furthermore, individuals in financial statement auditor roles are especially focused on the impact of

Cognitive technology has been at the forefront of the minds of many technology, government, and business leaders, because of its potential to completely revolutionize their fields. Furthermore, individuals in financial statement auditor roles are especially focused on the impact of cognitive technology because of its potential to eliminate many of the tedious, repetitive tasks involved in their profession. Adopting new technologies that can autonomously collect more data from a broader range of sources, turn the data into business intelligence, and even make decisions based on that data begs the question of whether human roles in accounting will be completely replaced. A partial answer: If the ramifications of past technological advances are any indicator, cognitive technology will replace some human audit operations and grow some new and higher order roles for humans. It will shift the focus of accounting professionals to more complex judgment and analysis.
The next question: What do these changes in the roles and responsibilities look like for the auditors of the future? Cognitive technology will assuredly present new issues for which humans will have to find solutions.
• How will humans be able to test the accuracy and completeness of the decisions derived by cognitive systems?
• If cognitive computing systems rely on supervised learning, what is the most effective way to train systems?
• How will cognitive computing fair in an industry that experiences ever-changing industry regulations?
• Will cognitive technology enhance the quality of audits?
In order to answer these questions and many more, I plan on examining how cognitive technologies evolved into their use today. Based on this historic trajectory, stakeholder interviews, and industry research, I will forecast what auditing jobs may look like in the near future taking into account rapid advances in cognitive computing.
The conclusions forecast a future in auditing that is much more accurate, timely, and pleasant. Cognitive technologies allow auditors to test entire populations of transactions, to tackle audit issues on a more continuous basis, to alleviate the overload of work that occurs after fiscal year-end, and to focus on client interaction.

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2018-05

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An Analysis of the Profitability of Hilton's 2007 Leveraged Buyout

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Leveraged buyouts have gone in and out of popularity over the last four decades. The first wave began in the 1980's with the rising popularity of junk bonds, followed by years of economic downturn, and then a rise and respective

Leveraged buyouts have gone in and out of popularity over the last four decades. The first wave began in the 1980's with the rising popularity of junk bonds, followed by years of economic downturn, and then a rise and respective fall from the dot com era. However, in the 2000's, attitudes were high and a period of low interest rates, covenant-lite loans, and relaxed lending conditions gave rise to some of the largest leveraged buyouts in US history. As the name implies, leveraged buyouts are predominantly structured with debt, around 70% of the total transaction value. Private equity firms execute leveraged buyouts on companies in strong industries, who have proven, stable cash flows, with the intent of cutting costs, divesting unneeded assets, and making the chain more efficient. After a time period of five to seven years, the private equity firm exits the deal through an initial public offering of the target company, a sale to another buyer, or dividend recapitalization. The Blackstone Group is one of the largest private equity firms in the US, and, with the favorable leveraged buyout conditions, especially in the real estate market, it wanted to build its real estate portfolio with an acquisition of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. At the time of consideration, Hilton was one of the largest hotel companies in the world, but was beginning to lag compared to its competitors Marriott and Starwood. After months of talks, Hilton agreed to be bought out by Blackstone at $47.50/share, for a total purchase price of $26bn. Blackstone had injected $5.7 of its own equity into the deal. The Great Recession caused a lot of investors to worry about Hilton's debt obligations, and Blackstone was able to restructure a significant portion of the debt to benefit both themselves and their creditors. As new CEO, Christopher J. Nassetta was able to strengthen Hilton by rearranging management, increasing franchising fees, expanding its capital-lite segments, and building more rooms internationally, Hilton was able to grow quicker than its competitors from 2007-2013 while minimizing operating expenses. On December 2, 2013, Hilton went public on the NYSE as HLT. Its enterprise value increased from $26bn to $33bn, and Blackstone was able to achieve an internal rate of return of 19%, while continuing to own 75% of Hilton's shares.

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2017-05

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WPC 101: Ethics Curriculum

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At a time when the national and world community is viewing collegiate business programs as complicit in many recent business scandals rooted in ethical violations and breaches of trust, improving ethics education is a high priority. Review of current research

At a time when the national and world community is viewing collegiate business programs as complicit in many recent business scandals rooted in ethical violations and breaches of trust, improving ethics education is a high priority. Review of current research on techniques for effectively teaching ethics highlights the importance of incorporating conversational learning, decision models, and relevant, personalized case discussions into undergraduate ethics lessons. Focusing exclusively on ethics education in the first-year business seminar WPC 101, we evaluated the current ethics/academic integrity module and found it to be lacking many research-supported techniques. To develop an updated curriculum, we first used the EthicsGame Ethical Lens Inventory in a survey of 114 W. P. Carey students to explore whether a connection between students' majors and primary ethical lenses would demonstrate the effectiveness of designing different, tailored ethics curricula for students in each major. Regression analysis of the survey responses indicated that this research was inconclusive for every major except for Accountancy, which already has a specific (upper-division) ethics course. This initial research stage led to the creation of a universally applicable ethics curriculum based on the Baird Decision Model. Incorporating techniques from the literature review, the new WPC 101 Academic Honesty & Ethics curriculum includes a presentation on the Baird Decision Model, a small-group discussion of a relevant ethical dilemma, and a class role play. The curriculum additionally includes detailed Facilitator Guidelines for educators. The curriculum was piloted in WPC 101 classes during Spring 2016, and we present student and facilitator feedback as well as suggestions for further research and improvement. Use of this research-backed curriculum and further study into its impact on student decision making will allow W. P. Carey to continue advancing in pursuit of training students to be effective ethical leaders.

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2016-05

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Scandal: An Ethics Game on the Importance of Accurate GAAP and FASB Reporting for Public Corporations

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Financial statements are one of the most important, if not the most important, documents for investors. These statements are prepared quarterly and yearly by the company accounting department, and are then audited in detail by a large external accounting firm.

Financial statements are one of the most important, if not the most important, documents for investors. These statements are prepared quarterly and yearly by the company accounting department, and are then audited in detail by a large external accounting firm. Investors use these documents to determine the value of the company, and trust that the company was truthful in its statements, and the auditing firm correctly audited the company's financial statements for any mistakes in their books and balances. Mistakes on a company's financial statements can be costly. However, financial fraud on the statements can be outright disastrous. Penalties for accounting fraud can include individual lifetime prison sentences, as well as company fines for billions of dollars. As students in the accounting major, it is our responsibility to ensure that financial statements are accurate and truthful to protect ourselves, other stakeholders, and the companies we work for. This ethics game takes the stories of Enron, WorldCom, and Lehman Brothers and uses them to help students identify financial fraud and how it can be prevented, as well as the consequences behind unethical decisions in financial reporting. The Enron scandal involved CEO Kenneth Lay and his predecessor Jeffery Skilling hiding losses in their financial statements with the help of their auditing firm, Arthur Andersen. Enron collapsed in 2002, and Lay was sentenced to 45 years in prison with his conspirator Skilling sentenced to 24 years in prison. In the WorldCom scandal, CEO Bernard "Bernie" Ebbers booked line costs as capital expenses (overstating WorldCom's assets), and created fraudulent accounts to inflate revenue and WorldCom's profit. Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison and lost his title as WorldCom's Chief Executive Officer. Lehman Brothers took advantage of a loophole in accounting procedure Repo 105, that let the firm hide $50 billion in profits. No one at Lehman Brothers was sentenced to jail since the transaction was technically considered legal, but Lehman was the largest investment bank to fail and the only large financial institution that was not bailed out by the U.S. government.

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2016-05

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A Look into the Operations of Two Nonprofit Organizations on Opposite Sides of the World

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This thesis will analyze the operations of two nonprofit organizations located in different parts of the world. One local and one international nonprofit organization was chosen for this thesis/creative project because of the diverse culture, customs and regulations in each

This thesis will analyze the operations of two nonprofit organizations located in different parts of the world. One local and one international nonprofit organization was chosen for this thesis/creative project because of the diverse culture, customs and regulations in each setting. The paper will discuss the operations of St. Vincent de Paul, the Chandler Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, and Sri Sai Darshan Trust (SSDT). The paper begins with a brief history of nonprofit organizations followed by a detailed background on both organizations. The management (organizational structure), finances, marketing, and legalities will be discussed of each nonprofit. The paper will then examine the specialized projects of each organization throughout the year. A PEST, SWOT, value chain, Kraljic, spend, and demand analysis were conducted based off of the research on each nonprofit. The paper will then discuss the problems each organization exhibits and the potential solutions the nonprofits can implement into their daily operations in order to resolve them. This section analyzes the similarities and differences within each business area of the nonprofit organization. Short-term solutions to current business problems and long-term solutions to organizational problems will be discussed in this section. The conclusion is the final element of the thesis. In this section, a balanced scorecard will be created for each nonprofit organization. In addition, the authors will discuss what they learned throughout the entire process. The goal of this thesis/creative project was to integrate the knowledge and concepts from business (marketing, finance, management, accounting, supply chain management, and computer information systems), and find an application for each within nonprofit organizations around the world.

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Date Created
2016-05

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A Study of League Influence on the Overall Health and Perceptions of Major League Baseball and the National Football League

Description

We were driven by the question: what is happening to the popularity of Major League Baseball? In order to answer this question we compared the league structure of Major League Baseball with that of the National Football League. We were

We were driven by the question: what is happening to the popularity of Major League Baseball? In order to answer this question we compared the league structure of Major League Baseball with that of the National Football League. We were able to speak with five former or current members of the respective leagues in order to gain some insight into how the two leagues operate. The main focus of our research was around the payroll structures of the two leagues as well as their revenue sharing policies. In the end, we discovered that Major League Baseball is becoming highly regionalized. The sport is still growing in popularity in terms of revenue and fan involvement, but it is becoming less popular on a national stage. The league is benefitting greatly from factors like the increasing importance of "TiVo proof programming" and a lack of competition. Each league is very different in its own right. While the NFL promotes a perception of competitive balance, Major League Baseball can be plagued by the negative perception it creates surrounding some of its smaller market teams.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Company X Supplier Financial Health Model

Description

Company X is one of the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors. The company relies on various suppliers in the U.S. and around the globe for its manufacturing process. The financial health of these suppliers is vital to the continuation of

Company X is one of the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors. The company relies on various suppliers in the U.S. and around the globe for its manufacturing process. The financial health of these suppliers is vital to the continuation of Company X's business without any material interruption. Therefore, it is in Company X's interest to monitor its supplier's financial performance. Company X has a supplier financial health model currently in use. Having been developed prior to watershed events like the Great Recession, the current model may not reflect the significant changes in the economic environment due to these events. Company X wants to know if there is a more accurate model for evaluating supplier health that better indicates business risk. The scope of this project will be limited to a sample of 24 suppliers representative of Company X's supplier base that are public companies. While Company X's suppliers consist of both private and public companies, the used of exclusively public companies ensures that we will have sufficient and appropriate data for the necessary analysis. The goal of this project is to discover if there is a more accurate model for evaluating the financial health of publicly traded suppliers that better indicates business risk. Analyzing this problem will require a comprehensive understanding of various financial health models available and their components. The team will study best practice and academia. This comprehension will allow us to customize a model by incorporating metrics that allows greater accuracy in evaluating supplier financial health in accordance with Company X's values.

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2016-05

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Exploring Undergraduate Admissions through the Development of Shadowing Programs

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The thesis titled "Exploring Undergraduate Admissions through the Development of Shadowing Programs" is an organizational study and analysis of a shadowing program developed by Krista Moller, Ryan Johnson, and Kean Thomas. It resulted in the creation of a 25+ person

The thesis titled "Exploring Undergraduate Admissions through the Development of Shadowing Programs" is an organizational study and analysis of a shadowing program developed by Krista Moller, Ryan Johnson, and Kean Thomas. It resulted in the creation of a 25+ person student organization in the W.P. Carey School of Business called "Explore". The organization received backing and support from the admissions department in W.P. Carey, notably Dean of Admissions, Timothy Desch. The organization's members (titled "ambassadors") host a high school student interested in the business school for a day of class. High school students are matched with an ambassador based on majors they might be interested in, and ideally the result of the day of shadowing is the high school student having a better understanding of the opportunities available at W.P. Carey. The organization began in the fall of 2013, and was intended to be used as a thesis project from its inception. As a result, the founder's experiences were carefully documented and this allowed for a detailed analysis to take place. The analysis delves into the difficulties faced by the organization's members and executive board as a result of internal and external influences. The successes and experiences they were fortunate enough to have are also detailed, and plans for the organization's future are included as well. In addition, the Explore program is analyzed in comparison to other programs around the country and even in Canada, with the goal being to see where we could potentially strengthen our program. The founders of the Explore program (and authors of this thesis) hope other students might learn from it so that more programs such as Explore can be created, benefiting the local community and ASU itself.

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Date Created
2015-12

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Auditing Internal Controls: An Evaluation of Internal Controls in a Small Real Estate Firm

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This case study analyzed the internal controls of a real estate company using the widely accepted COSO framework. Testing of the internal environment and controls was completed using the COSO framework. The major internal control problem identified in the study

This case study analyzed the internal controls of a real estate company using the widely accepted COSO framework. Testing of the internal environment and controls was completed using the COSO framework. The major internal control problem identified in the study was a lack of ethical standards in the control environment. In addition to this main problem, inadequate documentation, no separation of duties, and unqualified employees were also identified as violations of effective internal controls. The department of real estate ordered a "cease and desist" on August 8, 2013 due to illegal company activities. The company participated in illegal actions regarding: the trust account and company documentation and procedures. Material weaknesses were found in the company's internal controls; therefore the result of this study was an adverse opinion on internal controls.

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Date Created
2013-12

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Long Lines: Looking at The Starbucks On Campus from A Business Process Management Perspective

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This project aimed to find implementable solutions to the long flow times at the Starbucks locations on campus. Surveys of the consumers indicated a dissatisfaction rating of 29%, neutral rating of 29% and satisfaction rating of 42%. Showing room for

This project aimed to find implementable solutions to the long flow times at the Starbucks locations on campus. Surveys of the consumers indicated a dissatisfaction rating of 29%, neutral rating of 29% and satisfaction rating of 42%. Showing room for improvement in satisfaction, respondents were asked if a decrease in flow time or if mobile ordering was implemented would affect their frequency, over 50% responded that it would increase their frequency. Implementation of a mobile ordering system into the ASU app or separating the register line into M&G only and then cash and card only, is recommended to decrease the flow time.

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Date Created
2020-12