FanTAXtic Work!

Leventhal team wins national Deloitte tax competition

January 29, 2017
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For the first time, a five-student team from the USC Leventhal School of Accounting won the Deloitte FanTAXtic national tax case study competition. The finals, held Jan. 13-14 in Dallas, TX, included eight teams from colleges and universities across the United States who prepared and delivered a presentation on a complex, issues-driven business tax case.

Each team participating in the national competition won the Deloitte FanTAXtic contest in their respective U.S. regions. Prior to the finals, 60 teams from 43 colleges and universities participated in regional qualifier events held in 14 cities.

“We are, of course, thrilled and very proud of this accomplishment of our student team members,” said Leventhal Dean William W. Holder. “Their success is testament to their hard work, talent and ability to function well as part of a professional team. These virtues will stand them well as they graduate and join our profession.

“I also salute the most effective work of their coach, Professor Joe Keller, whose dedication and inspiration has contributed in so many ways to the quality of our academic programs here at the Leventhal School,” Holder added. “We are most fortunate to have such outstanding students and excellent faculty as part of our programs.”

The winning Leventhal team consisted of Mike Shelton MBT ’17, Tiffany Soto ’18, Leighton Ko ’18, Meng Shen ’19 and Ingrid Waung ’19. Professor of Clinical Accounting Joseph Keller was faculty adviser.

First place brings $2,000 in scholarships for each student on the winning team and a $10,000 institutional award.

Deloitte FanTAXtic is designed to familiarize students with the tax profession early in their academic careers. The interactive case study competition includes role-playing and presentations to help students better understand the types of experiences and business challenges they can expect from a career in tax.

The case required the teams to synthesize and apply tax concepts and create a polished presentation in less than three hours. Keller said the students worked extremely well together. “They were professional, poised, creative, articulate and very supportive of each other. The judges were very impressed with their writing ability and the professional manner in which they delivered their oral presentation.”

The Winning Numbers

Student team member Soto emphasized the teamwork element that went into the win. “Each person on the team had a unique specialty, and we all trusted each other,” Soto said. “The team did a lot of research and had great leadership from Professor Keller and Mike Shelton, our MBT student.”

Keller was most impressed with the growth that he saw in the students throughout the competition. “Their ability to analyze complex tax issues and develop insightful solutions grew exponentially,” he said.

“I learned more about tax in a short period of time than I ever could have expected,” said Soto.