MAcc

Our Last Day in the Netherlands

Today was a bittersweet day that had some of us excited to return home and sad to be leaving this fantastic country. It started with a lecture on investor relations from Kris Douma. He was very entertaining and easily kept everyone engaged. We discussed crises in the business world and how investors and managers deal with them. One of the main take-aways I learned from the session was cultural difference in the mindset of the Dutch and Americans. When making decisions, the Dutch tend to take more nonfinancial risks into consideration than Americans. The Dutch have a saying: “Just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it is right.” I have enjoyed learning about the many cultural differences on this trip.

After our morning lecture, we had lunch with the accounting students from the Nyenrode Business University. Their teacher this year was Ferdy, who we heard from on Wednesday. It was interesting to hear about their school and work life. They go to school one day a week and work full time the other four days. Their program is seven years long and started when they were 18. Our table talked about language barriers and school differences.

The last half of our day, we had presentations. We were all split into buddies near the beginning of the trip and were assigned a topic to present on today. We stated what we learned, how it related to past courses, and how it will help is academically, professionally, and personally. The topics were international tax, auditing, sustainability, auditing challenges, financial reporting, the Authority of Financial Markets, and the reporting process. Govert was the judge and the first- and second-place groups won a prize from the Nyenrode bookshop. It was refreshing to see how much information we all took in throughout the trip.

school school2

The day ended with a farewell dinner with Sophie and Govert. We ate at Lakei on campus and enjoyed a great steak dinner. It was nice to have one last dinner with everyone and show our thanks to our hosts. This trip was an unique experience, and we all learned so much. I am sad to leave the Netherlands, but our last term awaits.

food

 

Written by eproulx@uoregon.edu

I started the MAcc program September 2014 and will graduate June 2015. Last year I graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs where I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. I am excited for our study tour to the Netherlands and looking forward to the adventures that await!

Day 4: Lecture on Regulatory Environment and Trip to KPMG

Our day 4 started from a great lecture in the morning. The topic for today’s presentation was financial reporting supervision and enforcement in international accounting. Ferdy van Beest, who is from Authority of Financial Markets (AFM), presented the aim of AFM and the way in which they are trying to accomplish goals in the Netherlands. Ferdy is an energetic speaker who always encouraged students to ask him questions and made students get involved in this serious topic. He stated that the goal of AFM was to create a better market in the Netherlands. However, AFM was still confronted with some challenges to achieve its goal. For example, collecting sufficient evidence was one of the most important thing for AFM. Beyond that, balance between firm-level and country-level regulation is the other problem they needed to consider. He also spoke about some companies in the Netherlands using integrated reporting, which included a scoring list with mandatory and voluntary components. At the end of his presentation, he mentioned that companies seemed to postpone taking impairment losses, hence suggesting that the financial results are distorted. AFM could not fine them since it was hard to measure without certain information. It seems like AFM still has some challenges when it regulates and enforces the process of financial reporting in the company. We really enjoyed Ferdy’s passionate speech and most of MAcc students even said he was the most interesting speaker during this business trip.

After lunch, we headed to KPMG in Amsterdam. As the previous leading audit firm of Philips, KPMG addressed the challenges they face in auditing an international listed company, and the lecture on external regulation was given by a partner and audit manager, who is also a UO alum. One issue the partner raised is that audit firms must be trusted. He stated that one audit challenge that the auditor faces is the potential punishment from negative news on social media. When one or two auditors fail on audit quality, the whole audit firm would be exposed to negative news. So the audit firms face the challenge of building relationships and trust with stakeholders and potential investors. Our alumnus also gave us some suggestions on how to deal with culture shocks, work pressure, and difficulties from his own experiences on KPMG’s rotation abroad. This presentation was a great opportunity to gain knowledge that could help us to begin our future career path.

KPMG KPMG 3 KPMG 2 KPMG 1

 

Written by Joyce

I am currently a MAcc student at UO and I really enjoy the time here.

Day 3: Randstad, Nike, and the Employee Store

Randstad: Sustainability 

Hallo from Amsterdam day three! This morning the MAcc students visited Randstad, which is an HR services firm that provides jobs for about two million people annually. The topic for today’s presentation was on sustainability. Group Sustainability Officer Marlou Leenders on integrative reporting, sustainability reporting, and provided a case study for MAcc students to present on.

Today, traditional financial reporting is not sufficient enough information for stakeholders. Stakeholders want information on risks, opportunities, environmental efforts, strategy, the social environment, as well as financial performance. Randstad spoke about how important this is for their business model in order to create the most value for shareholders. We then discussed a case study where Marlou had us decide whether Randstad should keep a specific sustainability key performance indicator on which they currently report. This interactive learning opportunity was a great way to involve the MAcc students with important ongoing discussions currently happening at Randstad. We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the Randstad office and headed off to the Nike global headquarters in Amsterdam.

Nike: Accounting in Europe 

“If you have a body, you are an athlete.” Nike started off bold. Engaging us with an inspirational video and of course none other than an introduction to the history of Nike speaking about Phil Knight (Uncle Phil) and Bill Bowerman. Courtney Keating, a MAcc graduate and current european accounting manager for Nike, started off this presentation and was kind enough to set up one of the most intriguing discussions of the trip. There were five different topics presented on during our time at Nike. We had Lars Stratveit, Nike iD buyer, speak about the culture and heritage of Nike, as well as the process of Nike iD and what buying from vendors looks like for the company. Suzan Arendsen, director of WE tax, spoke about taxation at Nike and how the Dutch tax authorities are favorable to work with.

Then Erin and Scarlet, the PwC auditors of Nike came to talk about their audit procedures for Nike. They touched on risk assessment of their audit, the use of specialists, the audit planning timeline, and their experience living abroad. It was interesting to hear both the Nike and PwC side. What was even more exciting for me was the fact that I worked with Scarlet this summer during my internship at PwC in San Francisco. Such a small world. Then Justin Allen, retail accounting manager, spoke about Nike’s focus to move towards digital and the growing trend of Nike’s direct-to-consumer business in Europe. Then came THE BIG SURPRISE from Nike.

The final presenter was no one other than the CFO of Nike in Europe, Bart Boekraad. Bart spoke about what it means to be a CFO and how he deals with international management. He touched on the challenges of operating in certain countries and how Nike copes with the current political unrest and economic situations. I also asked him what advice he had for us as young professionals going into the workforce. His answer was that we need to be able to work well in a team, that soft skills are extremely important, as are believing in yourself, staying committed, not over-planning, and not being afraid of new opportunities.

We finished off the day by getting access to the Nike Employee Store. We all bought way too many clothes and shoes. I mean you don’t get that opportunity every day, so our mindset was JUST DO IT!

Written by Gabrielle Sanders

Current candidate for a Masters of Accounting degree from the University of Oregon. After graduation I will be pursuing a career in public accounting with PwC in Portland.

Financial Reporting and Tax Havens

The day started out with clear skies as we headed to breakfast. We discussed our doubts about the forecast for the day: 100 percent chance of rain. The forecast proved accurate before it was lunch time. We were told by our lecturer from Akzo Nobel that this rainy weather was quite common here, just as it is in Eugene.

After breakfast we were seated in an adjacent room overlooking a calm pond overshadowed by old trees. Erika from Akzo Nobel met us at 9:00 a.m. to give insights on the complexity of financial reporting through different jurisdictions, accounting standards, and cultures. Some of the important topics included dealing with pension plans and how the latest laws have changed the cash balance for the company, leading them to borrow from the bank to pay dividends.

Shortly after noon we ate lunch on campus and prepared for our ride to Loyens & Loeff. The building was five stories high, and featured an open middle area in which all the offices overlooked the entrance area, a lunch seating area which also has been used for bands or symphonies, and clear elevators going up on the corners. We were greeted by three employees who discussed the reasons many international companies use the Netherlands for tax purposes. They showed a video illustrating the emotions regarding the political climate surrounding using tax havens to increase profits. Both sides were addressed from the perspective of taking money from the government and tax payers, to the perspective of the hindrance in remaining competitive when in a high tax rate country when other companies located in lower tax countries are able to reduce their tax expense, making them more profitable.

We ended our night with a 30-minute walk to a great restaurant that had the best salmon I have ever had, and more desert than anyone could finish. It was a great ending to a great day.

Written by Steve Griswold

Off To A Great Start

Monday of the Netherlands trip marked the first official day of the program. The day was completely jam-packed with events, but it was still a good time. The day kicked off with Govert introducing us to some of the changes that the Netherlands is going through with regards to risk management. Next was Marcel who was a director of risk management at PwC in Amsterdam. He was a very energetic and passionate about the subject so it made the talk very interesting. I think he was so passionate about it due to the fact that risk management is somewhat of a new concept to the Dutch it seems, thus his profession was just taking off. He went over the various trends that are happening in risk management, and they really had to do with the fact that the world is so connected these days, which ends up making businesses more accountable for their actions across the world. He also stressed that your perception of the problem isn’t always the best, thus diversity in decision-making groups is very important. It was a very enlightening conversation and was made all the more interesting due to his enthusiasm.

After Marcel finished up his talk, we went to Deloitte in Utrecht where Mathijs spoke to us about the differences between a rules-based accounting approach and a principles-based accounting approach. The differences seemed to stem from the fact that rules-based will lay it out for employees where principles-based requires much more judgment from the employees due to the fact that the accounting rules don’t provide as much guidance in situations. Thus the talk centered around that and what might be the best potential system in the future. Mathijs stressed that it can never be all rules or all principles, but more of a middle ground between both systems. The Deloitte office in Utrecht is unbelievable though, it has a room that embodies the company’s new found emphasis on innovation. The company believes that Google and Apple are its biggest competitors rather than PwC, KPMG, and E&Y. I found this idea to be very interesting and intriguing. As you can tell from the futuristic look of the room, they truly believe in this initiative.

After our visit to Deloitte we climbed the Dom Tower in Utrecht. It was about 465 steps and 90 meters high. It provided a beautiful view of Utrecht and the surrounding areas. It was also ideal that we were able to make it up there fairly close to sunset as well. After trekking back down the 465 steps we then went to dinner at Raak where everyone ate glorious chicken skewers and pasta with pesto and portobello mushrooms. The night finished with crème brûlée and chocolate brownies, which were to die for.

 

Written by nbarton

Tulips and Tours

Our first day in Amsterdam was no work and all play.

First, we headed to Kuekenhof, the second largest flower garden in the world, to see the world-famous tulips. While it was early in the year and the tulips were not in full bloom, it was still breathtaking. We spent a few hours strolling through the gardens taking way too many pictures of flowers.

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We headed to the Amsterdam city center for an afternoon of exploration. We hopped on a boat for a tour through the canals of Amsterdam followed by a walking tour. The day ended with a delicious dinner at a Belgian restaurant. We definitely had a fantastic time on our first full day in the Netherlands.

Written by Alicia Gunther

Master of Accounting student

Day 1: Getting There

I had the easiest flight possible, direct Portland to Amsterdam. I even took a shuttle up from Eugene so I didn’t have to think about driving. But not getting a wink of sleep on a ten-hour flight can make being perky at 8:30 a.m. Dutch time a challenge. Nevertheless, stepping outside Schiphol Airport, I was met with a blast of cool, fresh, misty air. And the ride to Nyenrode offered views of green, water, cows, and sheep. It was as if I hadn’t even left the Willamette valley… until I saw the quaint villages in the background and swans in the foreground.

Nyenrode campus

Nyenrode campus

Nyenrode campus is surrounded by farmland—there’s a horse right outside my hotel room. The air has a nice earthy smell, which adds to the charm of the stream, footbridges, and castle. The reception building, however, is state of the art, complete with monitors showing the day’s schedule, modern lounge areas, and excellent coffee machines that grind the beans right before pouring your personal espresso.

cure for the jet-lag blues

cure for the jet-lag blues

Not even close to homesick yet. But I’m glad we have a few days to reset before we dig into the curriculum.

 

Written by Margaret Savoian

After earning my Master of Accounting degree at UO in 2004 and spending a few years in public accounting, I returned to the Lundquist College of Business as the Administrative Manager of the Accounting Department. I oversee many department operations, including planning alumni events, directing annual fundraising, managing finances, developing communications materials, and organizing scholarships.

EndorsEase on the Competition Circuit in Cincinnati

The following post is synopsis of a brief interview with EndorsEase cofounders David Fishel (WSMC 2013) and Lauren Berkema (MAcc) following their trip to Cincinnati for the Spirit of Enterprise Competition. Teammate (and cofounder) Tony Cresta (WSMC 2013) was not available at the time.
Last week, two OMBA’s and a MAcc student had the opportunity to travel to the University of Cincinnati to compete in the UC Center for Entrepreneurship Spirit of Enterprise Graduate Business Plan Competition. David Fishel, Tony Cresta, and Lauren Berkema had a tough journey to and from Ohio thanks to some winter weather, but ultimately the team arrived on Thursday night eager to present their business, EndorsEase, to the judges at hand.
According to the Facebook page, “EndorsEase is the Match.com for underrepresented athletes and businesses to create endorsement opportunities.” In a nutshell, the team wants to help professional athletes and businesses create meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships that may otherwise go unnoticed. What the team learned during their time in Cincinnati was that quantifiable data can be difficult to come by, but are essential to proving yourself to investors. While judges loved the team’s presentation and concept, they wanted more clear evidence to measure business applicability and revenue generation. This unfortunate hangup led EndorsEase to finish 2nd in their group (to the eventual champion of the competition) and miss out on the finals.
Despite the disappointment of missing finals, and the 22 hour trip back to Eugene, the team left the weekend on a positive note. It was a great bonding experience outside of the typical routine of classes and team meetings, and the team is optimistic about their chances at the Stuart Clark Venture Challenge in Winnipeg next month. Lauren Berkema noted that “…we all learned a lot about what it takes to be in the competition space, and what other teams are bringing to the table… We were able to get feedback that let us know what we need to work on with our business model, and how we can better present information in the future. Besides it taking 22 hours to get back to Eugene from Cincinnati it was fun learning more about our business and each other!”

Written by Andrew White

Andrew is an MBA Candidate in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. A native of Massachusetts, he came to UO to refine his business skills and build his expertise in the sustainability arena. His primary interest is in helping organizations implement environmentally and socially sustainable strategies for long-term success, and he is a regular participant on many of the MBA intramural sports teams.

Nyenrode Business University

MAccsters in Europe – Journey to Nyenrode

Sleeping three hours ought to make one tired, but not when you’re heading to Europe. Waking up at 4 am was just enough time to hop in the shower and head to the airport. It was PDX to Houston, and then a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam. Why sleep when you’ve got 9 hours of sitting to do?

Starting the 9 hour flight I decided to try and get some rest, only to unsurprisingly find out that sleeping upright on a plane isn’t the most comfortable. As I headed to the bathroom I noticed I was the biggest world traveling newbie on the plane, everyone else had taken advantage of their 2 or so extra seats per row and made a make shift bed. I proceeded to upgrade my bed and somehow turned an “Economy” seat into first class, now that’s innovation!

Finally arriving in Amsterdam, I awaited the arrival of my fellow pencil pushing, number crunching, accounting genius hopefuls. People were flying in from all directions. Eventually a large group who flew direct from PDX came in and we congregated together. All of us were hungry, tired, and in desperate need for coffee, I mean desperate. Personally, I had 3 tiny airplane cups before landing and was just getting started.

Consensus was made to search for coffee, being American of course the first thing we gravitated to was Starbucks. Sweet warm coffee nectar filled the air, and my I-need-coffee-now-side took over. Almost like Mr. Hyde I ordered my grande pike place roast and surprisingly the barista behind the counter conversed in plain English. We all got our coffee and found out that many Dutch were bilingual.

A few hours later all our MAcc bean counters had arrived at the airport and we headed off to Nyenrode University. The landscape was lightly covered in snow and looked beautiful with the backdrop of the sun. Eventually we made it to Nyenrode, got to our rooms, unloaded our stuff, and began to wait 4 grueling hours until dinner. No one wanted to sleep in order to adjust to the time difference, so once again we hunted for coffee and food. After much searching we found our precious coffee and proceeded to enjoy the campus brewing machine. There had to be a button for everything, cappuccino, latte, world peace, you pressed it and the machine made it happen.

After many cups of coffee we headed out around the campus to see the famous Nyenrode castle. It was truly as beautiful as they said it was, complete with a moat and draw bridge. Yes, students have class in that building. Truly Nyenrode was a world class university.

6 O’clock couldn’t come sooner as we all headed over for dinner. We ate to our hearts content in the school’s cafeteria and then walked back to the campus hotel to roll into bed and fall fast asleep. We all have a long, jam packed week ahead of us and none of us want to miss out. Although one thing stuck strongly in our heads, why can’t University of Oregon have a cappuccino maker complete with a solve world peace button, or why can’t we turn Lillis into a medieval castle? Just a thought…

 

Trevor Haynes
Master of Accounting Student, 2013

 

Written by trevorh@uoregon.edu

A young entrepreneur from the age of 12 I was born in a small but lively neighborhood in a city called Gresham. At a very early age I was fascinated in almost every facet of life, including but not limited to particle physics, business, and the art of surfing stock market waves among others. Now I reside in a liberal town called Eugene where I seek to help those who are less fortunate in the realms of knowledge, wisdom, and domination. In short, I help everyone. If you need help, contact me at: 503-I NEED TREVOR