Undergraduates debate the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards.

A year ago, graduate students in the Master of Accounting (MACC) program in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU) debated the question “Should the United States adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) now being used by more than 100 countries?”

This spring, the first IFRS event for accounting undergraduates took place. Ten students enrolled in Intermediate Accounting debated the same topic in front of an audience of about 150 and a five-judge panel: event organizers Abhijit Barua, Stephen Lin and John Wang—the faculty members who teach the course—as well as Eric Gillman and Patrick Gutierrez, both from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Stephen Lin

Whether or not the United States decides to adopt the standards, their implementation worldwide means that knowledge about them will be critical for future accountants. In addition, since 2010, the CPA Exam has included questions about IFRS.

“I want to do accounting in Brazil, so the research I did to prepare for the debate will be very helpful,” said junior accounting major Jason Karukin, who gave the closing argument for the winning pro-adoption team, and who received the award as the best speaker. “It was also helpful because I had never participated in a debate before, plus it was lots of fun.”

The “pro team” Jason Karukin, Barbara Sanchez, Elizabeth Figueroa, Matthew Fong Choi, and Helen Feliz, with Carlos Andres, from the “anti-team” at the lectern.

The team arguing for adoption also included Matthew Fong Choi, Helen Feliz, Elizabeth Figueroa and Barbara Sanchez. Carlos Andres, Stephanie Hocke, Kevin Pang, Vanessa Penaloza and Maryia Shkaredzenok argued against the adoption.

The “anti team” Stephanie Hocke; Maryia Shkaredzenok; Kevin Pang; Vanessa Penaloz, the third-best speaker; and Carlos Andres, the second-best speaker.

The event was part of a prestigious curriculum grant from PricewaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation awarded to Barua, Lin and Wang for their proposal “Integrating IFRS in both accounting-major undergraduate and MACC programs at FIU.”

PwC’s Patrick Gutierrez and Jason Karukin, named the best speaker

Second event challenges students on IFRS.

Approximately 130 students took part in the school’s first-ever IFRS quiz competition. During a 40-minute session, they answered 35 questions about the standard.

“These were two ways to help our students perceive the importance of IFRS and to understand ways it is already affected Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP),” Lin said, “and it is an effort we will continue for our undergraduates and graduates.”


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