BBA 1985 (Accounting)
While Chris Hoffman (BBA 1985) continues to build his 25-year accounting career as partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, he is also renewing his relationship with the Department of Accounting and the University of Iowa by serving as a member of the Professional Accounting Council.
In 2005 he was invited to serve on the PAC where he meets directly with members of the Department of Accounting and the leadership of the Tippie College of Business.
“As business professionals, PAC members give feedback on the performance of graduates of the program. We offer recommendations to the department regarding curriculum innovations and the other traits and skills students could obtain while at the University.”
“Our goal is to make graduates more attractive to employers now and over time.”
But PAC members like Chris contribute much more than their observations. Chris has been directly involved in teaching students about ethics. The departmental goal was to add more ethics training into Tippie’s classrooms. Chris valued the training materials used by PwC and had hoped to share ethics training videos with accounting students, but when that proved not to be a viable option, he wasn’t deterred. Instead Chris, along with a PwC team comprised of several Iowa alumni, created their own ethics-focused training videos. The team scripted, filmed and starred in the productions and then shared their creation with Tippie students.
“We spent an afternoon filming with the majority of Iowa alumni appearing in the vignettes.” The end product is now embedded in accounting classroom instruction including other case studies at the College of Business.
“Our message was to help students discover personal ethics and business ethics are one in the same.”
The training was so successful, they share it with other universities. Chris has also worked to raise awareness regarding a subject close to his heart – diversity.
He says, “It is a topic that has become more important to our business and our clients want us to bring more diverse points of view to their issues.” He’s worked closely with clients who desire a diverse team to handle their audit and he’s concerned the supply may not meet the demand.
“It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because less diverse candidates are coming out of business schools than the general population, and overtime we have struggled with attraction and retention,” he explains. “I was concerned about this issue and as I became more involved with the PAC and the University, I voiced my perspective and I’ve been pleased with the department’s response.”
A departmental diversity initiative was presented to the PAC and plans are underway to implement diversity focused strategies.
He has also worked with fellow PAC members to influence how the Department integrates international financial reporting standards (IFRS) into the current curriculum and the delicate balance of course offerings and the timing of internship opportunities.
“I really enjoy my role with the University. It is a great opportunity to remain connected to the faculty and the students.”