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Application of Small-Scale Data Analytics to a Pre-Existing Accounting Process

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The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as

The concept of data analytics has become a primary focus for companies of all types, and from within all industries. Leveraging data to enhance the decision making power of management is now vital for companies to remain competitive. Beginning as a movement pioneered by tech-startups and teams of university researchers, data analytics is reshaping every industry that it touches, and the field of accounting has been no exception.
Corporate buzzword terms like “big data” and “data analytics” are vague in meaning, and are thrown around by media sources often enough to obfuscate their actual meanings. These concepts are then associated with company-wide initiatives beyond the reach of the individual, in a nebulous world where people know that analytics happens, but don’t understand what it is.
The power of data analytics is not reserved for company-wide initiatives, or only employed by Silicon Valley tech start-ups. Its impacts are visible down at the team or department level, and can be conducted by the individual employees. The field of data analytics is evolving, and within it exists a rapid transition in which the individual employee is becoming a source for insight and value creation through the adoption of analytics based approaches.
The purpose of this thesis is to showcase an example of this claim, and demonstrate how an analytics based approach was applied to an existing accounting process to create new insights and information. To do this, I will discuss my development of an Excel based Dashboard Analytics tool, which I completed during my internship with Bechtel Corporation throughout the summer of 2018, and I will use this analytics tool to demonstrate the improvements that small-scale analytics had on a pre-existing process. During this discussion, I will address conceptual aspects of database design that related to my project, and will show how I applied this classroom learning to a working environment. The paper will begin with an overview of the desired goals of the group in which I was based, and will then analyze how the needs of the group led to the creation and implementation of this new analytics-based reporting tool. I will conclude with a discussion of the potential future use of this tool, and how the inclusion of these analytical approaches will continue to shape the working environment.

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Date Created
2019-05

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An Analysis of SEC Clawback Provisions in terms of Loss-Aversion and Narcissism

Description

Executive compensation is broken into two parts: one fixed and one variable. The fixed component of executive compensation is the annual salary and the variable components are performance-based incentives. Clawback provisions of executive compensation are designed to require executives to

Executive compensation is broken into two parts: one fixed and one variable. The fixed component of executive compensation is the annual salary and the variable components are performance-based incentives. Clawback provisions of executive compensation are designed to require executives to return performance-based, variable compensation that was erroneously awarded in the year of a misstatement. This research shows the need for the use of a new clawback provision that combines aspects of the two currently in regulation. In our current federal regulation, there are two clawback provisions in play: Section 304 of Sarbanes-Oxley and section 954 of The Dodd\u2014Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This paper argues for the use of an optimal clawback provision that combines aspects of both the current SOX provision and the Dodd-Frank provision, by integrating the principles of loss aversion and narcissism. These two factors are important to consider when designing a clawback provision, as it is generally accepted that average individuals are loss averse and executives are becoming increasingly narcissistic. Therefore, when attempting to mitigate the risk of a leader keeping erroneously awarded executive compensation, the decision making factors of narcissism and loss aversion must be taken into account. Additionally, this paper predicts how compensation structures will shift post-implementation. Through a survey analyzing the level of both loss- aversion and narcissism in respondents, the research question justifies the principle that people are loss averse and that a subset of the population show narcissistic tendencies. Both loss aversion and narcissism drove the results to suggest there are benefits to both clawback provisions and that a new provision that combines elements of both is most beneficial in mitigating the risk of executives receiving erroneously awarded compensation. I concluded the most optimal clawback provision is mandatory for all public companies (Dodd-Frank), targets all executives (Dodd-Frank), and requires the recuperation of the entire bonus, not just that which was in excess of what should have been received (SOX).

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2018-12

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Blockchain: What is it and What Does it Mean for Public Accountants?

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Blockchain is a sophisticated and complex technology that will have a massive impact on the public accounting industry. Currently there is concern surrounding how blockchain may impact the industry as a whole. Auditors and accountants are worried that this technology

Blockchain is a sophisticated and complex technology that will have a massive impact on the public accounting industry. Currently there is concern surrounding how blockchain may impact the industry as a whole. Auditors and accountants are worried that this technology has the potential to replace the responsibilities they fulfill. However, blockchain technology will not replace accountants and will enhance their daily activities by eliminating menial tasks, providing increased transparency, and allowing time to be spent in areas that require more consideration. This will change the role of accountants and professionals, requiring them to be more technologically proficient and analytically minded. This paper is organized as follows. There will be an initial explanation of the technology to inform the reader of what blockchain is and how it works. Then there will be a discussion regarding how blockchain technology relates to, and can be utilized by, public accounting firms as well as the implications of blockchain on the public accounting industry. These implications will be discussed followed by why they are extraneous, and how to combat them in both the assurance and advisory practices. In conclusion, recommendations will be provided for public accounting firms on how to effectively utilize the technology to their benefit.

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Date Created
2018-12

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Motivation Crowding Theory and Its Limits

Description

This paper consists of a literature review, wherein four papers surrounding Motivation Crowding Theory (MCT) were read and analyzed. The paper then goes into an analysis of a survey I conducted. The survey consisted of three main questions with three

This paper consists of a literature review, wherein four papers surrounding Motivation Crowding Theory (MCT) were read and analyzed. The paper then goes into an analysis of a survey I conducted. The survey consisted of three main questions with three sub-questions for each, and all attempted to find a "limit" to MCT. However, results for the survey were ultimately inconclusive. The paper concludes with lessons learned in conducting research and surveys in particular, as well as a nod to the relevancy of MCT in business and personal applications.

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2020-05

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Introversion and Success in Public Accounting

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This thesis analyzes the connection between introversion and success in public accounting by looking at traits introverts need to develop in order to do well in this field. The paper begins by giving a background on both public accounting and

This thesis analyzes the connection between introversion and success in public accounting by looking at traits introverts need to develop in order to do well in this field. The paper begins by giving a background on both public accounting and introversion and why the relationship between these two needs to be studied. It discusses how introversion is not the norm in business, but how the traits outlined in the paper give introverts a strong opportunity for success. The first trait looked at is one-on-one skills and how the ability to communicate well in small groups helps introverts in public accounting to build solid relationships with their clients and coworkers. Next, the paper talks about public speaking and how introverts need to lean into their ability to prepare thoroughly in order to avoid speaking anxiety, which likely plagues them. After that, the paper looks at networking and how an introvert's ability to create deep connections outweighs some natural setbacks they may face in this endeavor. The final trait analyzed is creativity and how introverts possess a unique aptitude in this area because of the differences in how they think and process information. For public accounting, this is a useful skill, especially when it comes to problem solving. The last section of this thesis examines the importance of self-awareness for introverts to understand themselves and be understood by others while working on teams. The conclusion of this paper outlines the main ideas on how introverts can succeed in public accounting by leaning into these traits, owning who they are, and contributing from their unique perspective.

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Date Created
2017-12

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The Unintended Consequences of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Description

Given its impact on the accounting profession and public corporations, Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002(SOX) is a widely researched regulation among accounting scholars. Research typically focuses on the impact it has had on corporations, executives and auditors, however, there is limited

Given its impact on the accounting profession and public corporations, Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002(SOX) is a widely researched regulation among accounting scholars. Research typically focuses on the impact it has had on corporations, executives and auditors, however, there is limited research that illustrates the impact SOX may have on average Americans. There were several US criminal code sections that resulted from the passing of SOX. Statute 1519, which is often referred to as the "anti-shredding provision", penalizes anyone who "knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to" obstruct a current or foreseeable federal investigation. This statute, although intended to punish behavior similar to that which occurred in the early 2000s by corporations and auditors, has been used to charge people beyond its original intent. Several issues with the crafting of the statute cause its broad application and some litigation even reached the Supreme Court due to its vague wording. Not only is the statute being applied beyond the intent, there are other issues that legal scholars have critiqued it for. This statute is far from being the only law facing these issues as the same issues and critiques are found in the 14th amendment. Rewriting the statute seems to be the most effective way to address the concerns of judges, lawyers and defendants regarding the statute. In addition, Congress could have passed this statute outside of SOX to avoid being seen as overreaching if obstruction of justice related to documents was actually an issue outside of corporate fraud.

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Date Created
2016-12

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Best Value Accounting: Applying Information Measurement Theory to Public Accounting

Description

The author is an accounting major headed into the public accounting industry. As a tax intern his senior year, he was able to work in the thick of "busy season", when tax returns are due for submission and work is

The author is an accounting major headed into the public accounting industry. As a tax intern his senior year, he was able to work in the thick of "busy season", when tax returns are due for submission and work is very busy. The author tired of working long hours and continuous talking with his accounting friends how working on Saturdays and long weeknights was generally accepted. Best value principles from Dr. Dean Kashiwagi's Information Measurement Theory were applied to examine how to maximize efficiency in public accounting and reduce the workload. After reviewing how Information Measurement Theory applies to public accounting, the author deemed three possible solutions to improve the working conditions of public accountants. First, to decrease the work load during busy season, tax organizers need to be sent earlier and staff should be assigned to oversee this information gathering. Second, in order to better prepare new hires to become partners, the career path needs to be outlined on day one with a career guide. Finally, in order to more successfully on board new hires due to the steep learning in public accounting, firms should utilize buddy systems and encourage organic mentoring.

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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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Date Created
2016-05

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Measures against Accounting Fraud and their Efficacy

Description

The competitive nature of business requires managers to consistently work towards eliminating unnecessary costs and improving financial management. Worldwide, fraud remains a pervasive and expensive problem for businesses. Fraud involving misappropriation of assets (commonly referred to as embezzlement) and fraudulent

The competitive nature of business requires managers to consistently work towards eliminating unnecessary costs and improving financial management. Worldwide, fraud remains a pervasive and expensive problem for businesses. Fraud involving misappropriation of assets (commonly referred to as embezzlement) and fraudulent financial reporting cost organizations trillions of dollars worldwide. To better understand the most effective ways of combating misappropriation and to a lesser extent, fraudulent financial reporting, this paper evaluates research and reports the results of expert interviews with accountants, forensic experts, and security specialists.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Past, Present, and Future of Spotify: A Financial Analysis

Description

The purpose of this thesis was to create a valuation of Spotify (Ticker: SPOT) and estimate a share price for the company. Spotify is one of the largest music streaming services in the world, currently operating in 79 markets globally

The purpose of this thesis was to create a valuation of Spotify (Ticker: SPOT) and estimate a share price for the company. Spotify is one of the largest music streaming services in the world, currently operating in 79 markets globally with a subscriber base of over 100 million people. Spotify initially offered April 3, 2018 at $132 per share and sees a huge amount of financial assets on their balance sheet due to continued investment. As a newly established high-growth company, Spotify has enjoyed a 30% average revenue growth year over year from 2014 to 2019. Although Spotify’s reach is quite large, the company is dwarfed by competitors such as Apple, Google, and Amazon in the extremely competitive music streaming industry. Within this paper, we first analyze the competitive landscape that makes up the music streaming industry. Once a baseline understanding of the music streaming industry has been reached, we turn the focus more directly onto Spotify through examining Spotify’s position within the market as well as the company’s current strategic goals and objectives. We then forecasted Spotify’s financial statements forward and created a residual income model (RIM) based on Spotify’s financial statements. As was previously stated, the purpose of this model was to arrive at a share price for Spotify that we believe accurately reflects its value and compare that with its current market trading price. After successfully accomplishing this goal, we conducted a comprehensive final analysis and offered Spotify recommendations based on the model as well and its output.

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Date Created
2020-05