Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson, a junior accounting major, helps tally the results of the 23rd annual Accounting Challenge. (Photo provided)

March 08, 2021

Students win scholarships, prizes at SIU’s Accounting Challenge

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — High school and community college students from around the region competed virtually for scholarships, trophies and bragging rights at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s 23rd annual Accounting Challenge recently.

The School of Accountancy in SIU’s College of Business and Analytics sponsored the Feb. 26 event for about 140 participants who tested their skills in both an individual and team competition.  

A unique twist

Typically, the event takes place on campus and includes a written accounting skills test followed by a creative team challenge that involves imaginative problem-solving contests that vary from year to year. This year’s goal was to make the online event special and incorporate a fun, team element.

Chancellor Austin Lane spoke to all of the participants as they gathered at schools and homes across the region, via computers, cellphones and tablets.

Participants answered accounting questions such as “What is the cost of goods sold equation?” Then, they took part in an entertaining pop culture quiz. They had 30 seconds to respond to questions like “Put these apps in order from newest to oldest: Reddit, Roblox, Facetime, Kik Messenger.”

In case you’re wondering, the beginning inventory plus purchase minus ending inventory equals the cost of goods sold, and the apps, from newest to oldest, are Kik, FaceTime, Roblox and Reddit.

Winners earn prizes

When the competition wrapped up, the scores were all tallied. The individuals with the highest scores in each of the three divisions were announced as the winners of certificates and scholarships worth up to $500 if they attend SIU and major in accounting.

Meanwhile, the winning teams will receive trophies.

Since the winners weren’t able to pick up their awards in person, representatives of the College of Business and Analytics hope to travel to the school and present the prizes to the recipients in the near future, according to Marcus Odom, professor of accountancy and Deloitte & Touche Faculty Fellow. In addition, all participants will receive special event T-shirts via mail.

Top individual honors

Individual winners listed by event, school, and potential scholarship earnings, were:

Accounting I – High School

  • First place – (tie) Madison Heil, Maggie Reed and Lucas Gibbons, all from O’Fallon Township High School, $500.
  • Second place – (tie) Alexa Prouhet and Alexa Montante, both of O’Fallon Township High School, $300.
  • Third place – (tie) Connor Sorgea, O’Fallon Township High School and Elle Moore, Anna-Jonesboro Community High School, $200.

Advanced Accounting (Accounting II) – High School

  • First place – (tie) Raniyah Shannon and Ryan Krell, both of O’Fallon Township High School, $500.
  • Second place – Nikhil Ahuja of Flora High School, $300.
  • Third place – Aine Dixon, O’Fallon Township High School.

Community College

  • First place – Kaitlyn May, Shawnee Community College, $500.
  • Second place – Jaiden Sanders, Shawnee Community College, $300.

Team honors

Team winners listed by event along with team members, were:

Accounting I – High School Team

  • First place – Woodlawn High School: Ashtyn Barton, Joel Hayse, Sam Moore, Macy Williams.
  • Second place – O’ Fallon Township High School: Alexa Prouhet, Maggie Reed, Gabi Schram, Kaylee Shull.
  • Third place – Anna-Jonesboro Community High School: Breckstin Schaefer, Keri Rendleman, Carson Pengress, Nate Baggott.

Accounting II – High School Team

  • First place – Flora High School: Nikhil Ahuja, Eliza Herdes, Ty Landreth.
  • Second place – O’Fallon Township High School: Aine Dixon, Ryan Krell, Raniyah Shannon.
  • Third place – Steeleville High School: Jenny Wedemeyer, Jesus Xoca, Tanner Allison.

SIU students make event happen

Continuing a tradition that dates back more than two decades requires imagination, dedication and hard work by the event’s student organizers, according to Odom and Marc Morris, associate professor and director of the School of Accountancy.

Coordinators for this year’s competition were:

  • Emily Hillis, a master’s student in accountancy from Jacksonville, Illinois.
  • Brandon Lynn, a senior accounting major from Marion, Illinois.
  • Rachel Perez, a senior accounting major from Carpentersville, Illinois.

Other students, faculty and staff assisted with the event as well.



JP Palmeira, a sophomore majoring in accounting, is among the numerous students, faculty and staff who volunteered to help with the event.  (Photo provided)