Fun with numbers at Accounting Immersion Camp 2015

By Kenneth Teng, SMU School of Accountancy

As we spoke to pre-university students at the SMU Open House and the various tea sessions, it was like looking at our younger selves in the mirror. Choosing the most suitable university and degree is certainly a crucial and nerve-wracking crossroads in a student’s life. We understood how they felt – unsure, confused and perhaps even afraid, just as we all did not too long ago. Although we tried our best to share with them our personal experiences about SMU and the School of Accountancy, we knew that our anecdotes would largely remain as stories.

With this in mind, on 2 June 2015, we invited about 171 students from 21 institutions around Singapore to participate in the SMU-EY Accounting Immersion Programme 2015. The two-day camp, held at SMU, was organised by the School of Accountancy and the School of Accountancy Volunteers’ Corps (SOAVC). Our aim was to provide these keen pre-university students with a first-hand and immersive experience in discovering more about SMU life, the accountancy degree and the accounting profession. To this end, we prepared a series of fun, dynamic and interactive activities.

The Accounting Immersion Programme (AIP) was first launched in 2014 in SMU, and is also the first of its kind in Singapore. It has since garnered the support of many Junior Colleges and Polytechnics and sponsors. Following its successful debut, we were honoured this year to have EY – one of the accounting industry leaders – to partner us and enrich the experience for AIP participants.

On the first day, our facilitators led a round of high-energy team-bonding games. These helped to break the ice, and to build friendships and team-spirit among the participants, many of whom were meeting for the first time.

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A series of ice-breaker games got the camp participants warmed up in no time.

After a satisfying lunch, the participants gathered in different Seminar Rooms for an exclusive Explore EY session, to find out more about the various service lines in EY – assurance, tax, advisory and transaction advisory. Various Partners from EY generously volunteered their time to conduct these sessions and to share their captivating personal experiences with the participants. One of the participants, Zoe Teoh Yee, from Anglo-Chinese School Independent (ACSI), commented that the Explore EY segment “made me understand what accountancy as a job encompasses and gain an insight into the accountancy field (like the different sectors of accountancy which I didn’t know about).”

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A number of Partners from EY personally took the time to share their experiences in the accounting profession

After the overview of the accountancy field, we kick-started the Accounting Station Games to introduce our participants to the intricacies of accounting. Each game in the series illustrated a particular module in the School of Accountancy – Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Tax, Financial Reporting Analysis and Accounting Information Systems. These gave the participants a fun and interactive introduction to the foundations of accounting. Most of the games pitted teams against each other, which added the thrill of competition to this segment.

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Deep in discussion at an Accounting Station game.

The high energy continued into Day 2 with the Amazing Race. Participants had to complete a mission at each station, which would reward them with a clue to the next station. The station locations were spread out around SMU, to give the participants an opportunity to explore the university campus.

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And the race is on.

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Experiencing the SMU swimming pool without getting wet… not too wet anyway.

Next, participants were immersed in the fictional world of John Heng and his family business, Ah Heng Black Coffee, to solve a murder mystery – the main highlight of the camp. Based on the background story that there were reports of fraud before the murder took place, the participants had to solve the mystery and identify the murderer. The School of Economics simulated the office building of Ah Heng Black Coffee, and each group had to visit different Group Study Rooms to interact with different key personnel (played by some of the Executive Committee members and SoA seniors). Besides interrogating them, the participants also had to take note of the items around the room, as they could be clues to solving the mystery.

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Deep in a ‘murder’ investigation

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Evaluating all clues

After the mind-boggling crime investigation, participants gathered at the Ngee-Ann Kongsi Auditorium to meet the SoA alumni from EY, for a lighthearted sharing and Q&A session. The chats continued into dinnertime, after which the camp culminated in the presentation of certificates and prizes, and a screening of the camp video reliving the past two days’ experiences.

Among the attendees was Lee Wei Hao from Nanyang Polytechnic, who said: “The camp is a fun and enriching one. It allows us to learn more about SMU and its Bachelor of Accountancy through engaging activities. Thus I guess this method will allow us to retain information better than having those lectures and talks.”

His feedback was echoed by others, including Zhou Xinming from National Junior College: “AIP has been a fun and truly enriching experience for me, and has provided me with a deeper understanding and appreciation for accountancy. I really hope this meaningful camp will continue in the following years.”

Although the planning and running of this camp was an arduous process, these heartfelt words have made it worth the while. Together with the others in the camp exco, I’m glad to have helped these students gained a deeper understanding of accountancy and SMU. I also hope that the camaraderie built will last beyond the camp, when the participants (hopefully) join us as incoming freshies.

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AIP: an unforgettable experience for camp participants.