Accounting Professionals Learn, Network as Part of Inaugural Jenkins MAC Lifelong Learning Summit
By Caroline Barnhill
On Friday, Sept. 9, accountants from around the region poured into Talley Student Center to participate in Poole College’s inaugural Jenkins Master of Accounting Lifelong Learning Summit. The event, which was held in collaboration with NC State Executive Education, was an interactive day allowing attendees to share practices and ideas with colleagues, accounting professionals and faculty.
According to MAC Director Scott Showalter, “The MAC Lifelong Learning Summit concludes the inaugural year of our efforts to meet the needs of our MAC alumni and friends for ongoing learning and connection with each other. We are looking forward to building on our current year’s effort in 2023.”
The MAC Lifelong Learning Summit concludes the inaugural year of our efforts to meet the needs of our MAC alumni and friends for ongoing learning and connection with each other.
The morning kicked off with a keynote presentation by the Carolina Hurricanes’ chief financial officer Shaun Nicholson. He discussed his journey to landing his “dream job” with the Canes, as well as player salary caps and the complex financial reporting and auditing process for a National Hockey League team.
Other popular presentations included an update on the future of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the accounting profession by Jamelia Livingston, a Jenkins MAC ‘09 alum and partner of Americas Professional Practice at EY, as well as a timely discussion on 3D team leadership for remote and hybrid teams by Bradley Kirkman, General (Ret.) H. Hugh Shelton Distinguished Professor of Leadership at NC State Poole College of Management and author of 3D Team Leadership.
During her DEI presentation, Livingston shared, “For most of us, the journey of DEI started with diversity – how do we increase numbers in the door? But once you’ve done that, you ask, ‘do they [diverse employees] feel like they actually belong?’ Oftentimes, there’s an insider-outsider dynamic at play. Then [the journey] moved beyond getting diverse people in the door to inclusiveness – so we would build specific networking groups for different groups of people. And that moved the needle some, but we need to think about equity and the fairness of opportunities, while also celebrating individual uniqueness – which I think of as belonging.”
After Livingston’s presentation on the importance of celebrating individual differences, the summit shifted to Kirkman’s discussion on working within teams – especially as more teams are collaborating virtually in the post-pandemic era. Kirkman also shared insights from his executive consulting with companies Sabre, Cisco and Alcoa on remote team leadership.
If you are in charge of leading a remote team, you need to be good at empowering and delegating because it’s too demanding for one person to handle alone.
“It is impossible for one person to effectively lead a remote team. So if you are in charge of leading a remote team, you need to be good at empowering and delegating because it’s too demanding for one person to handle alone,” Kirkman says. “Remote team leaders struggle with empowering those team members they cannot see – and often feel a loss of control more so remotely than when they are face-to-face.”
When it comes to hybrid work environments, however, in which many individuals are opting to participate, Kirkman says the body of research is still in its infancy.
Over lunch, attendees had the opportunity to hear an update about the impact of state and federal politics from Robert Broome, director of advocacy for the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA). And then, a group of Poole College faculty members served on a panel to explain the inner workings of cryptocurrency and its impact on the accounting profession. Panelists included Nathan Goldman, associate professor of accounting, Jim Scalise, professor of practice in accounting, and Richard Warr, associate dean for faculty and research.
“While cryptocurrency has risen in popularity substantially over the last several years, many still know little about how it works, the risks associated with it and how we are to treat it for accounting and tax purposes,” Goldman explains. “Cryptocurrency is more likely than not here to stay, and it is important that we better understand the consequences associated with these assets.”
Cryptocurrency is more likely than not here to stay, and it is important that we better understand the consequences associated with these assets.
As a profession committed to continuing education, the summit also offered an ethics session, which fulfills North Carolina CPA’s mandatory annual CPE (continuing professional education) requirement. To conclude the day, attendees had the opportunity to stay for a networking social to reconnect with former classmates and make professional connections.
“This was, by far, the best CPE event I have been to,” said Brendan Madigan, who graduated from the Jenkins MAC program in 2016 and currently serves as chief financial officer for Limited Run Games. “All of the speakers were passionate about their topics and I feel like I actually learned something.”