Alumnus helps UA students take top honors in regional accounting competition


Thanks in large part to a gift from Sean P. Hennessy ’80, chief financial officer at The Sherwin-Williams Company, students in the George W. Daverio School of Accountancy at The University of Akron swept the top spots in the 2014 Ohio Region Student Manuscript Competition, sponsored by the American Accounting Association.

Sean Hennessy

Timothy P. Hagenbaugh’s submission, “The Impact of SEC Comment Letter Issuance on Client Business Risk and External Auditor Fees,” and Caroline Glaeser’s manuscript, “Assessing the Relationship between Readability of 10-K Risk Factor Disclosures and Effectiveness of Internal Controls” placed first and second, respectively, in the competition’s graduate category. In addition, the paper submitted by Danielle Shaffer, “Financial Ratios and Revenue Fraud,” took first place in the undergraduate category.

The students were recognized for their winning entries at the American Accounting Association’s (AAA) annual meeting in Columbus on May 2, and each received a cash award.

Critical to the students’ success was their ability to collect and mine data from Wharton Research Data Service (WRDS) – access that was made possible by the gift from Hennessy. Considered by many to be the world’s leading business intelligence tool, WRDS is a cloud-based platform that allows researchers and students to retrieve business, marketing, government, economic, and financial data from a variety of sources.

In fact, the ability to tap WRDS allowed Hagenbaugh, Glaeser, and Shaffer to collect large quantities of data more efficiently and to focus more time on the extensive data analysis and related interpretation needed to write their winning submissions.

“On behalf of every accounting faculty member, I extend sincere congratulations to our students and praise their hard work and dedication,” said Thomas Calderon, professor and chair of UA’s George W. Daverio School of Accountancy. “I also am grateful for the ongoing support of alumni, such as Sean Hennessy, whose generosity gives UA students a distinct advantage – and contributes significantly to student success.”

In addition, Calderon commended the outstanding service of numerous faculty members, including Li Wang and Hakjoon Song, who served as advisers, readers, and mentors throughout the submission process.

AAA’s annual Ohio Region Student Manuscript Competition is open to undergraduate and graduate accounting students at universities and colleges throughout Ohio.