Accounting students use analytic skills to win first place at business competition

Shidler team win first place at TrueUp Student Innovative Challenge.
Shidler team win first place at TrueUp Student Innovative Challenge.

A team of four undergraduate accounting students from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Accountancy clinched first place at the TrueUp Student Innovative Challenge on March 22. They were among 20 teams nationwide to compete in the three-day virtual competition to review data and create an overall strategy on Pueblo Hospitality Inc, a lodging company that operates hotels in several states across the United States. 

The first-place team consists of accounting undergraduate students Michelle Yim, Camrie Kubota, Isaiah Lopez and Victoria Kashiwai. The team used their data analytic skills to measure the company’s performance, collaborated online to create a video presentation and pitched their business strategy virtually to a panel of CPAs and business professionals who simulated Pueblo’s management team. 

Kashiwai said, “In addition to the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with my colleagues, this challenge has given me the experience to utilize raw data to measure performance and create proposals to improve a client’s business. I look forward to using the skills that I have learned in my future professional career!”

According to Donny Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA, and part of the judging panel, “Data analytics should be interpreted in a business context and tied into every organization’s operations and financial performance. I believe that optimally, accountants will collaborate with other professionals to provide insights to improve this performance, and the Shidler team did a great job of showing how this can be done. As a Shidler alumnus, I’m particularly proud to see this team take first place.”

The Student Innovation Challenge offers college students an opportunity to gain real-world knowledge while competing for prize money.

The competition was made possible through the partnership of the Center for Accounting Transformation, TrueUp, and Northern Illinois University. The event is sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and Crowe.