March 12, 2021

University of Hawaii Students Take Top Honors in the 2021 TrueUp Student Innovation Challenge

By: Center For Accounting Transformation / news-and-updates

A student team from the University of Hawaii at Manoa was announced as the winner of the 2021 TrueUp Spring Student Innovation Challenge after presenting a solid case for measuring company performance and introducing alternative methods aimed at increasing results and overall business success. The team, consisting of Michelle Yim, Isaiah Lopez, Camrie Kubota, and Victoria Kashiwai, earned a $1,000 financial award and will have their winning video featured online.

A virtual collaboration of students representing Irvine Valley College, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forrest took second place winning $800, while students representing the University of North Dakota rounded out the top three teams and received a financial award of $600. In addition to the top three teams earning financial awards, student participants who completed the challenge will gain complimentary access to innovative learning opportunities to maximize their talent, practice and improve skills, and learn how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data analytics are transforming the accounting profession, positioning them for career success.

In partnership with the Center for Accounting Transformation, TrueUp, and Northern Illinois University, the competition brought together nearly 70 students making up more than 20 collegiate teams spanning the globe testing their data analytics, accounting and management skills. Teams were challenged to analyze raw data sets for their client, dig for insights, discover alternative metrics, and decide on new ways to measure the company’s performance. Submissions were evaluated by a panel of academic and industry judges and scoring was compiled from two different components of the competition: each teams’ Data Mine virtual game score as well as their presentation score. The top team achieved 92% of the total possible points to secure their win.

“Data analytics is an increasingly critical skill for business success,” said competition judge Donny Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA, of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC. “I was impressed by the level of thought and variety of analyses that we saw from the teams. No longer is data analysis an “IT thing”, this competition showed how accountants can upskill to help provide insights that help identify business improvement opportunities beyond just finance. These students rose to the challenge and are setting themselves on the path for success.”

Teams were given practical application problems with which to assess their technical knowledge, problem-solving skills and communications skills in an effort to demonstrate their understanding and ability to do more with their classroom learning by implementing it into a real-world scenario

Fellow competition judge Jody Padar, CPA, vice president of strategy at, echoed many of Shimamoto’s sentiments adding, “I was really impressed with the submissions from the teams.  Not only were they great from an analytical standpoint, they were able to communicate their results is unique ways… data story telling at its finest!”

Participating in case study competitions such as the TrueUp Student Innovation Challenge provide a platform for students to gain knowledge in areas such as accounting, finance, technology and other varying business-related fields of which they many not otherwise be exposed.

The 2021 Spring Student Innovation Challenge was sponsored by the AICPA and Crowe, LLP.

  • Learn more about the Student Innovation Challenge
  • Watch the video of the final results from this year’s data analytics competition online

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