Students win big in accounting contest

Most students at Sonoma State are assigned class projects that they often dread, but once money is involved that may change their minds.

For a few lucky students, this challenge was accepted when a company called PricewaterhouseCoopers invited Sonoma State to participate in their competition. Students will be put in a real life scenario where they need to come up with a way to increase tax revenue in another area while gas tax revenue is decreasing.

After entering the competition, two teams made up of four Sonoma State each went on to win $1,000. The first place team is now awaiting the next stage of competition where they can potentially win $10,000 and be one of five teams to compete in Washington, D.C. These eight were also competing against 56 other Sonoma State students.

This competition consisted of four to five students per team where groups were randomly chosen, and is being hosted by Sonoma State’s Accounting Club. PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the big four accounting companies not only in the United States, but in the world as well.

They often are on campus recruiting students for their company and also hiring students once they graduate from Sonoma State.

According to their website, PricewaterhouseCoopers focuses on audit and assurance, tax and consulting services with a reputation that lies in building lasting relationships with their clients and a focus in delivering value in all they do.

Originating from London, England during the mid-1800s, this company has made a huge impact all over the world as well as gaining recognition with multiple awards. PricewaterhouseCoopers has locations in over 150 countries.

One of the students who participated in the challenge was junior Isabel Karst.

“I got involved because my teacher was offering extra credit to join and I had no idea what to even expect going into it,” said Karst.

As Karst signed up for the competition, she was informed that it would begin sooner than she thought.

“The PwC challenge is nationwide and this was the first year they selected Sonoma State to participate. They gave us a week to do it where as all the other schools had about three to four weeks to prepare,” said Karst.

With time starting to run out, Karst and her group got to work quickly. According to the Sonoma State website, The PricewaterhouseCoopers judges were looking for students who think critically, communicate effectively and use teamwork to succeed; all the qualities they are looking for in someone they would hire.

The real life scenario that the teams were put in was one where a city was losing gas tax revenue because people were driving more fuel efficient cars or electric cars and not using a lot of gas anymore. The teams had to figure out a way to increase tax revenue in another area.

“For my group, we just tried to keep our ideas as close to plausible real life solutions as possible,” said Karst.

This competition has been around for 11 years and has been extremely successful with over $3 million in prize money awarded throughout the years and over 85 schools participating. 

The School of Business and Economics strives to create various learning experiences that help students land successful jobs in the future. With great career opportunities, such as working for companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, this department serves over 1,500 students.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has 90 schools that are involved in this year’s competition. For further details on the competition, visit pwc.com/US.