Essay by Woo-Chang Wi

Woo-Chang Wi won the 2020 $2000 Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship.

Having a father running a business, I have always been exposed to the world of business and documents such as financial statements. Through this experience, I learned that the vital business decisions of investors like my father depend on the accuracy and reliability of the information and the evaluation of their accountants. Such real life experience has made me recognize the importance of accounting, and I have developed a keen interest in the way accounting advice and information determines the decisions of sellers, investors, shareholders and other stakeholders.

As I became more intrigued by the way information and how its role plays out in the world of business and finance, I came across an article on the ‘Enron’ scandal. I was particularly fascinated by how reliability and transparency are important in accounting and business in general. The collapse of Enron and the accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, due to fraudulent activity, led to a huge reform in the accounting standards and the auditing approach. I felt that accounting, especially audit, is key to uncovering fraud and mitigate such risks for every company. This was an interesting insight because unlike my previous assumption that accounting is a simple systematic book-keeping, I saw its relevance in keeping the company’s finances in check. This story especially appealed to me as I have personally seen my father go through hardship and difficult times as deceitful and fraudulent information led to bad business decisions and investment. Discerning the reliability and usefulness of information cannot be done without the appropriate knowledge of accounting, so I chose this academic path to help and allow people and investors, like my father, to make decisions under the reasonable assurance that the information provided is in accordance with its standards.

I feel that by continuing to study I can use this knowledge to help those who are less aware and vulnerable financially. I believe that people should be able to realize their dream without the fear of money and financial burden. I, too, struggle with the problems of money and budgets everyday, and ever since I was little, I have also seen my family struggle financially. I hope that I can continue to pursue my academic career so that I can lessen the financial burden and bring stability to those who, like myself, chase their goal.

I consider myself lucky to have studied in New Zealand and US, experiencing various cultures and environment and I hope to seize this opportunity presented to me by pursuing my study here. I sincerely hope to gain extensive applied skills and a deeper and wider pool of knowledge in order to help others have the opportunity for higher quality of life unstrained by money. I have only taken a few steps of the long journey of life I am about to embark on, but I am not afraid of the challenges waiting ahead.

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