Accounting Students Make an Impact through the VITA Program

Every year, hundreds of thousands of dollars are unclaimed when citizens do not file tax returns. Many do not file because they believe they can’t afford to file their taxes, but the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help qualified tax payers file their returns for free. The program, allowed by the IRS, offers free tax help to people who make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need help in preparing their own tax returns.

Macy Dillard

For students, VITA is a great opportunity to gain experience and give back to the local Conway community. Led by UCA Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips, the program is open to COB students who would like to volunteer or earn college credit in accounting. VITA volunteers receive training and can either prepare returns or do intake. Experienced CPAs then review each return.

“Taxes are stressful for many people, and by helping through the VITA program, I was able to alleviate a big part of that burden. During review meetings, I could see the gratitude and relief wash over my clients’ faces,” said accounting student Macy Dillard.

Last year, students volunteered approximately 420 hours to return more than $324,000 of taxpayer money to the community through the preparation of over 250 tax returns for low-income taxpayers in the region.

“I am so thankful for the big difference I got to make as just a student for both individuals, their families, and the local community as a whole. It is an amazing feeling to see firsthand how much you are helping someone. On top of that, I got great experience, developed my social skills, and gained volunteer hours,” Dillard added.

To receive college credit, students must register for the course that occurs in spring, complete at least 25 tax returns, complete a total of 80 hours (3 hours per week) at United Way. To find out more, contact Professor Ashley Phillips about how to register for the course in spring 2023.

If you need help preparing your tax return in early 2023, learn more about getting help from VITA in Central Arkansas.

Internship • Independent Financial Advisors, Inc. • Private Accounting

Spring 2023 • Apply Now • Little Rock

Independent Financial Advisors is a state registered advisory firm.  We do tax returns for investment clients through a related company. We are looking for a part-time intern (at least 16 hours per week from mid-January to mid-April). There is some flexibility on the days and hours, so they may be able to work around your Spring schedule. The preferred candidate has some tax experience, but that is not required. Pay will be as much as $25 per hour for a candidate with tax experience. This part time work will not lead to a full time position.

To apply: Send your resume to veach@indfinadv.com.  Please indicate “Part Time Help” in the subject line.

Internship • AR Dept of Finance & Admin • Gov. Accounting

Government Accounting • Various AR cities

Fall 2022 • Apply by July 17

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) has developed a paid internship program that provides students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their area of interest while exploring a career in public service. This twelve-week program (09/06/2022–11/05/2022) allows interns to work up to 20 hours per week and earn $15.33/hr. Working hours are flexible to meet the needs of students. Most internships are located in Little Rock. However, opportunities are offered in other areas around the state. Applicants should pay close attention to the location of the position when applying. Applications must be received no later than July 17, 2022 for Fall consideration. Please assist us in notifying your students of these amazing opportunities. For assistance, contact Courtney Brown at Courtney.brown@dfa.arkansas.gov or 501-324-9065.

To apply:

 

Job • Arkansas Electric Cooperative • Private Accounting • Apply Now

Accountant • Little Rock

Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Incorporated (AECI) is an organization with a rich history and a bright future. As a leader in the energy industry we look to our employees to help us grow, change, and provide power to over 500,000 members of our 17 electric distribution cooperatives. The Accountant provides financial information to management by researching and analyzing accounting data and preparing reports. This position presents the opportunity to work alongside peers who are versatile, enthusiastic, and continuing to strive to push AECI and our mission forward. $54,000/year

To applyhttps://uca.joinhandshake.com/jobs/6558426/share_preview

Job • Windmill Rice Company • Private Accounting

Jonesboro | Accountant

Assist the CFO in performing most of the accounting requirements of the company to provide accurate reporting to the WRC ownership and to help protect their investments and the privacy of the business. This is to be done according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). $45,000/year

To apply: https://uca.joinhandshake.com/jobs/5995730/share_preview

Job • Vestcom • Private Accounting

Accounts Receivable Accounting Associate

Vestcom is the industry leader in technology-driven shelf-edge solutions for Retailers and CPGs. Our data-integrated media solutions drive sales and loyalty, engaging shoppers where it matters most – the point of decision. The Accounts Receivable Accounting Associate is responsible for processing invoices to clients, reconciling revenues, and preparing related billing reports as needed..

To apply and more info: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/3137933764/

Job • Centennial Bank • Private Accounting

Finance Quality Assurance Analyst 1

This position is responsible for assisting the Finance Quality Assurance & SOX Coordinator in the  implementation and ongoing monitoring of the first line of defense risk management initiatives within the Finance Department in support of the Enterprise Risk Management Framework. A major responsibility of this job is the testing of the finance department’s internal controls (very similar to internal audit). Looking for a recent graduate of accounting who potentially has an interest in working in control testing and the banking industry.

To apply and more info: https://recruiting.ultipro.com/CEN1011CENBA/JobBoard/51298f34-52ec-478d-bafa-d62ea4ea8c52/OpportunityDetail?opportunityId=787be21e-366d-4d8b-9a0f-a8fabdd701e1

Job • Landmark • Public Accounting

Interested in a public accounting opportunity in Little Rock (or other office in Arkansas)? Landmark is hiring in their audit department, tax department, and accounting services department.

To apply: Send your resume to Randy Milligan at RMilligan@landmarkcpas.com.

UCA’s Beta Alpha Psi Chapter Achieves Superior Status for 2021-2022

Congratulations to our Beta Alpha Psi students and to Connie McKnight and Ashley Phillips, our tireless faculty advisors, for another year of superior status!

To be a superior chapter, the registered student organization met the following requirements:

  • Average member completed at least 32 hours of service and professional development (at least 12 each)
    >265 hours of professional development
    >555 hours of service
  • Chapter completed at least 8 reaching-out activities including attending conferences; competing in best practices and project run-with-it; alumni activities’ multi-chapter events; and promoting careers in accounting, finance, information systems, and/or data analytics.

In addition, the chapter accomplished:

  • 1st place at Regionals for Best Practices in The Art of Engagement (Escape Room)
  • 2nd place at Regionals for Best Practices in The Art of Change (changing meeting formats)
  • $2375 donated to various charities (cash and items)

Beta Alpha Psi is an honor organization founded in 1919 for financial information students and professionals. There are over 300 AACSB- and/or EQUIS-accredited chapters on university campuses with over 300,000 members. Beta Alpha Psi recognizes scholastic excellence, offers professional development, and encourages ethical, social, and public responsibility.

The BAP Theta Lambda chapter of University of Central Arkansas focuses on honoring scholarship, professional development, and service to the community. Members have the opportunity to meet and get to know professionals from all areas of accounting, and they learn skills needed to be successful in careers in accounting, finance, information systems, and analytics.

The Best of College of Business: 2021-2022

The UCA College of Business delivers experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact their communities. We are committed to a culture of excellence across all programs, activities, and events, with a focus on action-based learning and student success and retention.

Despite disruptions due to COVID during our last academic year, our students and alumni have overcome obstacles and risen as leaders. Several COB alumni were honored for their efforts in their communities and workplaces while our students volunteered at food pantries, prepared free tax returns for low-income Arkansans, and earned awards.

This annual review gives a brief look at this year’s student, alumni, and faculty success as well as evidence of our commitment to engaged learning.

If you have a story of success or accomplishment from 2021-2022 to add to this list, or anytime in the future, please send it to US.

Sincerely,
Michael Hargis
Dean, UCA College of Business



NEW & NOTEWORTHY

To address the changing business environment, COB expanded to add three new Applied Data Analytics programs:
– a Bachelor of Science
– a Master of Science
– and a technical certificate.

COB welcomed new Marketing & Management Department Chair, Dr. Tracy A. Suter, who began his role at the start of the spring semester.

Dr. Suter has taught and led at 5 institutions over the past 25 years; has authored many academic articles and textbooks and served in other administrative capacities; most extensive experience was as a 15-year faculty member at Oklahoma State University.

Learn more about his credentials, career, and interests.

COB Student Ambassadors engage, connect, and serve as representatives for our college. Twenty-one students took on the task of serving as COB’s first ever group of ambassadors.

They have talked with incoming students, received swag and headshots, and experienced unique development opportunities available only to ambassadors.


AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Economics student Caleb Vines won the Student Research Award at the 2022 Society of Business, Industry, and Economics (SOBIE) conference.

Several other COB faculty and students across all disciplines also presented papers at the SOBIE and International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD) conferences this spring.  MORE

COB named its Outstanding Students who were chosen because they combined exemplary academic performance with internships, volunteerism, professional development, experiential education, and participation in clubs and other important experiences.

Daisy Martinez Carranza took home the top honor of COB’s 2022 Outstanding Student. READ MORE

UCA’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program was named to the Princeton Review’s 2022 Best Online MBA Programs and University HQ’s Best Arkansas MBA Programs list.

Associate Professor of economics and ACRE Scholar Jeremy Horpedahl received the Public Choice’s Duncan Black Prize for the best article contributed by a senior scholar.

Karen Shaw, a member of the COB Board of Advisors, was named 2021 CFO of the Year by Arkansas Business.

Shaw was a leader even during her UCA days, as a charter member of Beta Alpha Psi, but her leadership development didn’t stop there. Learn more about Karen’s leadership as a business and community leader.

Several COB alumni, including Joyti Lal (pictured), Ericka Gutierrez, and Scott Dews were named as rising business and community leaders by Arkansas Business.


Three teams representing UCA’s MBA program placed among the top 100 performers in a worldwide business simulation competition called GLO-BUS. Nearly 2,000 teams from 99 colleges and universities competed.


Congratulations to COB’s Theta Lambda Chapter who earned first place at the 2022 Beta Alpha Psi regional conference competitions in the category of Best Practices in the Art of Engagement and will compete at the conference in Orlando this summer. The chapter also earned a second-place win for Best Practices. MORE

In addition, UCA’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi achieved superior status for 2021-2022 from the national chapter. To be a superior chapter, the registered student organization met the following requirements:

  • Average member completed at least 32 hours of service and professional development (at least 12 each)
    >265 hours of professional development
    >555 hours of service
  • Chapter completed at least 8 reaching-out activities including attending conferences; competing in best practices and project run-with-it; alumni activities’ multi-chapter events; and promoting careers in accounting, finance, information systems, and/or data analytics.

Congratulations to our Beta Alpha Psi students and to Connie McKnight and Ashley Phillips, our tireless faculty advisors, for another year of superior status!


CAREER DEVELOPMENT & SERVICE LEARNING

More than 65 volunteers and students from UCA’s Biz@Bear Residential College collected over $1650 worth of personal care donations for children in Arkansas foster care.

This event ended an academic year with more than 1800 student engagement hours led by Academic Director, Dr. Louisa Moseley; over 200 of those were service hours. MORE

Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips was awarded the Peter J. Mehl Service-Learning Faculty of the Year Award for her work with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Under her leadership, students volunteered approximately 420 hours to return more than $324,000 of taxpayer money to the community through the preparation of over 250 tax returns for low-income taxpayers in the region.

Sixteen business professionals connected with COB students at the annual Women in Business Sixteen business professionals connected with COB students at the annual Women in Business luncheon for which a panel and table leaders shared the “Top 5 Things Women in Business Need to Know.”

 Beta Alpha Psi hosted a COB Escape Room of intricate puzzles for students to solve. To “escape,” participants applied tips for create an effective resume. READ MORE

In ’21 & ’22, COB and Acxiom partnered to provide a four-day Information Technology (IT) Careers Camp for high school students.

During the camp, students stayed on UCA’s campus, were mentored by industry experts, and participated in exercises in programming, cybersecurity, robotics, 3D modeling, and 3D laser printing.

Congratulations to all of our graduates in 2021-2022!



If you have a story of success or accomplishment from 2021-2022 to add to this list, please send it to the UCA College of Business.

For year-round news and updates from the UCA College of Business, make sure to visit uca.edu/business/news.