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Accounting Student Organization Continues its Work in Spite of COVID-19

By Sarah Spreadbury

BAP Chapter Photo

TAMPA (April 27, 2020) -- Like classes, student organizations have had no choice but to move to all kinds of different technology in order to continue meeting and hosting virtual events. When Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy student organization Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) learned of the USF Tampa campus closing for social distancing, its members did not want to let it burden them. They wanted to find a way to make sure they could still connect with each other. After USF announced that all students would have access to Microsoft Teams, BAP President, Derrick Pereira, said that the officer team acted quickly to start modifying meetings and tailoring events to the new USF normal. From contacting professionals to cancelling their Spring Scholarship Banquet, BAP wanted to make sure they had their organization covered.

Since starting to hold meetings virtually, BAP has hosted several firms, such as EY and Cherry Bekaert, with an average of 60-65 members every week. On April 1, two professionals from the firm Cherry Bekaert remoted into the meeting to talk about their company and also discuss the many options available to students after graduation not only in Cherry Bekaert but in the accounting profession. BAP also hosted EY on April 8 and students attending online asked questions about EY and its business practices.

“The firms are still having a blast answering questions from members whether it be about the firm or what they are doing during quarantine,” Pereira said.

BAP has also had several CPA Review Providers pop in at their meetings that would not have been able to visit otherwise. Representatives from all over the US have been able to remote in and discuss CPA Review options with students as well as answer any questions that they have live instead of strictly email like in the past.

One of the events BAP looks forward to most every semester, the Grant Thornton (GT) Speech Contest, was supposed to be held this week in front of the entire chapter. BAP has four professionals from GT come in every semester and judge timed speeches given by the BAP candidates, the top speech wins a small scholarship that is usually presented to them at the Scholarship Banquet.

In the past it has consisted of handing out coffee and standing up to learn to salsa and this semester things had to change, but it did not stop the laughter. BAP and GT judges made sure the show went on as 34 students took turns giving their speeches via Microsoft Teams, everything from pets to “Why Everyone from Florida should experience Maryland” were talked about and students still could react and applaud … just from their own homes.

BAP Pereira said, “I believe it is going well because our members can hear and see our faces every week and interact with us during these times, so they seem to be enjoying it.”