A Word from Dr. Hollingsworth, Accounting Department Head
As the 2019-2020 academic year comes to a close, we look back over the highs and lows our department has faced. The fall 2019 semester started with sadness for the death of Dr. Greg Thibadoux, a cherished faculty member who has been missed greatly. Dr. Thibadoux taught many students at UTC and helped them improve their lives. As I watched students move from class to class, it reminded me of my college days and how a college education enhanced the quality of my life. It is a privilege to be in higher education, especially in UTC’s accounting department, where we have the opportunity (and responsibility) to help our students achieve their career goals. With healthy and active student organizations such as IMA, Beta Alpha Psi, and NABA, the department gives students the opportunity to serve the community and learn practical skills for their job success. In this newsletter you will read about Madison Gaither, just one of our many outstanding recent graduates, who excelled in the undergraduate and MAcc programs and will continue to excel in the accounting profession. Our students and recent graduates, especially the MAcc students, are achieving impressive results on the CPA exam as well as job placement. As you read this newsletter, you will find that UTC accounting graduates who have been employed in the accounting profession for a few years achieve much success in the marketplace as shown by our Accountant of the Year, Julie Boerger. We are very optimistic about the future of accounting education at UTC and our graduates.
2019-2020 Academic Scholarships
Over the last academic year, our accounting students benefited from over $51,000 dollars in scholarships and awards. This amount includes the $10,000 nationally awarded Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) scholarship presented to Jacob Whitehair for the 2019-2020 year. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 provides that funds generated from the collection of PCAOB monetary penalties must be used to fund a merit scholarship program for students in accredited accounting degree programs. The PCAOB Scholars Program was created to identify students eligible to become a PCAOB Scholar and award funds through the students’ educational institutions.
Jacob Whitehair is projected to graduate at the end of Summer 2020 from the Rollins College of Business MAcc program. He has accepted a position with Elliott Davis in Franklin, TN working in their tax department. Jacob has passed the BEC and FAR sections of the CPA exam with plans to take the AUD and REG exams later this summer.
Alumna Highlight: Madison Gaither
Madison Gaither obtained her bachelor’s degree in the Spring of 2018 from UTC’s Gary W. Rollins College of Business with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Criminal Justice. She then continued on, participating in the Accounting Department’s MAcc 4+1 program, and earned her Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree in the Spring of 2019. Madison simultaneously completed the examination and certification process for her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.
During her time at UTC, Madison was a Brock Scholar, Stophel Scholar, Student Government representative, Beta Alpha Psi member, and Graduate Assistant. She was awarded numerous scholarships from the Tennessee Society of CPAs (TSCPA), the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA).
Madison’s research interests include forensic accounting, fraud, and accounting education. Her undergraduate honors thesis, titled “The Role of Forensic Accounting in U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of the Coastal Business Journal. She presented her research on first-generation business students at the national conference sponsored by the Society of Business, Industry, and Economics (SOBIE), at which she was the recipient of the Student Research Award. Madison accepted a position on the Forensic Valuation and Litigation Services team with Elliott Davis. She relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina this past September with her husband and RCOB alumnus, Scott Grody. Madison and Scott met during their time in UTC’s Beta Alpha Psi Accounting and Finance Honor Society (BAP). They were married in August of 2019 at Patten Chapel.
Regarding her experience in the MAcc 4+1 program she stated that she started studying in August, took her first exam in October, and by May had taken the final section.
“The structure of the MAcc 4+1 program, with the built-in Becker modules, encourages you to keep on track with each section. The classes are small, and you get close with your classmates. It was nice to have that support from the professors and peers through the program. The exams are hard, and you have to put long hours in. Even working part-time as a Graduate Assistant, I had to manage my time very well. I highly recommend doing the 4+1 and knocking the exams out and getting the master’s degree all before entering the workforce.”
2019 UTC Accountant of the Year
Julie Boerger is a distinguished graduate of UTC who, among her many earned accomplishments, is a Certified Public Accountant, is Certified in Health Care Compliance, and is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional. She is a member of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Health Care Compliance Association, and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. She has served on the Boards of the American Society of Women Accountants, Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House. Ms. Boerger also contributed to the publication of the first edition “Health Insurance Accounting” Generally Accepted Accounting Principles first chapter, and was a guest columnist in the November 25, 2018 The Tennessean “Fighting Fraud in the health care system.”
Julie Boerger has been the Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) for over 5 years. In this role, she is responsible for all company compliance requirements including all MedAdvantage, ACA, and Medicaid lines. She also directs the company’s strategy to ensure compliance meets all the changing regulations and requirements in the health care industry including overseeing the company’s efforts to address health care fraud.
Prior to joining BCBST, she served 19 years as lead audit Senior Manager for the global accounting firm Ernst & Young in the Chattanooga office. She has extensive experience in the insurance industry including specific SEC, NAIC and SOX 404 matters. Through her previous position at Ernst & Young, Ms. Boerger is highly experienced in helping companies successfully operate in complex regulatory environments.
Certified Management Accountant Exam Pass Rate
Current students and graduates of the UTC Accounting Department ranked within the top 25 universities with the highest Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam first-time test takers pass rates. UTC ranks #21, on the list of schools with successful first-time test takers. This was due to the achievement of 12 UTC students and graduates taking the exam with a collective pass rate of 71% compared to other institutions. The pass rates indicate our candidate’s knowledge prior to any experience gained from sitting for the exam.
The Certified Management Accountant certification has a two-part exam. Part I covers topics related to Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics. Content tested includes External Financial Reporting Decisions, Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting, Performance Management, Cost Management, Internal Controls, Technology and Analytics. Part II covers Strategic Financial Management. Content tested includes Financial Statement Analysis, Corporate Finance, Decision Analysis, Risk Management, Investment Decisions, and Professional Ethics.
SGA Outstanding Senior
Madeline Wade was voted SGA Outstanding Senior by the Rollins College of Business Accounting Department. Madeline has been active in numerous clubs and events throughout her undergraduate career including the SMILE Fund, Beta Alpha Psi, and the Fly Pitch Competition. Madeline will graduate Magna Cum Lade holding a 3.9 GPA. Upon graduation, she will work as a full-time staff accountant with the Henderson, Hutcherson & McCullough CPA firm. She plans to continue her education here at UTC in pursuit of a MAcc degree with plans to sit for the CPA exam.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the career development center at the RCOB. The numerous networking workshops and events have given me the opportunity to make so many business connections in Chattanooga and have played a large part in the beginning steps of my future career. I would also like to thank all of the accounting, finance and other COB professors who have passed on so much knowledge and guidance to me throughout my time at UTC.” – Madeline
Outstanding MAcc Student
Richard Guiry was chosen as the accounting department’s Outstanding MAcc Student for his hard work and excellent dedication. Richard always demonstrated professionalism while working as a graduate assistant for Professor Haun, Dr. Fayard, and Dr. Vincent over the 2019-2020 academic year. Demonstrating a strong commitment to success, Richard has passed both parts of the CMA exam and is taking his last section of the CPA exam in May. He will be working for RSM in Nashville, TN.
“Thank you to all the professors and staff that have helped me over these last five years! It has been a great experience at UTC and I will always be thankful for everything they have done for me.” – Richard