BYU Accounting Students Take Top Prize at Deloitte FanTAXtic Competition

PROVO, Utah – Feb 05, 2015 – A team of Brigham Young University accounting students renewed the school’s tradition of success by taking home first place and $20,000 in winnings at the national Deloitte FanTAXtic Case Study Competition.

“Although BYU had nine first-place finishes in the past 14 years, we hadn’t won since the competition was changed in 2011,” says Matthew Gregson, a second-year MAcc student from Portland, Oregon. “It was awesome to be able to break through and help reestablish BYU’s name there.”

More than 100 schools were invited to compete regionally, and winners of each region advanced to the national competition held at the Deloitte campus in Westlake, Texas. Finalists were asked to tackle two issues-based case studies that required teams to engage in simulation exercises advising a hypothetical company. Teams then made presentations to Deloitte professionals recommending solutions based on their knowledge of tax laws and practices.

“Teamwork is what helped this group succeed,” says Robert Gardner, BYU accounting professor and the team’s faculty adviser. “Their communication skills were outstanding — they knew how to simplify very technical tax topics, just like they will have to do for future clients.”  

In addition to Gregson, the team included accounting seniors Amy Daines from Rexburg, Idaho, and Tiffany Yeates from Quincy, Wash., as well as sophomores Alexia Jentgen from Vacaville, Calif., and Michelle Barnett from Cypress, Texas. Each student won a $2,000 share of the first-place prize, with another $10,000 awarded to the School of Accountancy.

“What’s more important than the prize money is that students recognize tax accounting isn’t just bookkeeping or filling out tax returns,” Gardner says. “It’s about developing necessary skills such as communication and critical thinking. This competition does a very good job of helping the students recognize that what they’re really doing is helping clients, and they’re doing it in an ethical way.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

From left: Deloitte tax director Jason Hakerem, Professor Robert Gardner; students Matthew Gregson, Alexia Jentgen, Michelle Barnett, Amy Daines, and Tiffany Yeates; and Kathy Shoztic, Deloitte Foundation director.
Gardner and the BYU team with Oliver Alafaro, a senior manager at Deloitte's Salt Lake City office.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Madison Nield