PulseAllison Wolff talks auditing, forensics and the FBI

Trinity's first accounting and BAT double major has had a broad range of internship experience
Cate CoeNovember 7, 2019963 min
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Photo by Mona Mirpour

Most students don’t have internships with the FBI or Dell under their belt by their senior year, but Allison Wolff has both. Wolff is a senior, and in 2020 she will be the first person at Trinity to graduate with a double major in accounting and business analytics and technology (BAT).

“I think that a lot of people are really interested in the combination and they haven’t had people who know both, they’ve had people who know either analytics or accounting,” Wolff said. “So it’s really interesting to see all the places that I’ve been able to go and things that people have been trying to flush out for someone who has both of those skill sets.”

Wolff didn’t come to Trinity knowing that she wanted to double major in accounting and BAT. She began taking business and computer science classes, but it wasn’t until the end of her first year that she realized her double major was a possibility. Wolff discussed her options with the previous dean of the business school, Michael Wilkins, who encouraged her to pursue the double major.

“[Wilkins] is the person who told me if I’m interested in these two things, maybe I should try to double major in business analytics and technology as well as accounting,” Wolff said. “He said that this is kind of where the future’s headed and by the time that I graduated in four years, it’s going to be a huge trend in the industry. So I was like, okay, that sounds good.”

Wolff’s double major allows her to pursue two of her interests, and she also loves the opportunities that it has opened up to her. Last summer, for instance, Wolff worked for Dell doing BAT-oriented work within their supply chain.

“Dell was very into letting me use both my accounting and BAT background throughout the course of the internship, so that was really cool,” Wolff said.

This allowed her to combine both her accounting and analytic skills in a real-life work environment. Another internship opportunity that she had was interning with the San Antonio field department of the FBI during the summer of her sophomore year.

“They had me dabble a little bit in analytics for them, but mostly just follow-the-money type of stuff,” Wolff said.

Forensic accounting is a specialty type of accounting that looks into accounting-based crime. Ashley Douglass, assistant professor in the accounting department, teaches auditing classes and is familiar with forensic accounting.

“Typically it is looking into fraud that has been committed at companies, whether employees or others who have stolen cash or other stuff from the company, or looking at company executives manipulating their financial statements to try and make themselves look better to investors,” Douglass said.

Wolff spent time at her internship looking at crimes and finding evidence to back up allegations. This was especially important when the allegations involved money, as she looked at different transactions that were made to hone in on what was applicable to the cases.

“You go and you see what’s going on at the actual FBI and cases obviously don’t happen in 24 hours or how they make it look like on TV,” Wolff said. “It’s years of work that they put in.”

Understanding both sides in a business that is divided by people who either have just analytic or just accounting skills creates an opportunity for Wolff, who has both. Douglass expects to see a growth in students choosing to double major in accounting and BAT in the coming years.

“I think it’s becoming more and more popular,” Douglass said. “It’s a really great combination, that is really in demand.”

Trinity’s accounting department is trying to add more analytic classes to its curriculum to increase opportunities for its students. Sophomore accounting major Rebekah Schwab is looking forward to the addition of more analytic classes in the accounting major.

“I think that this is a great opportunity for the department in order to better equip us for a career that is becoming more and more entwined with technology and analytics,” Schwab said.

Wolff thinks that her double major has made her stand out to employers and puts her resume on the top in comparison to others applying. She also believes that her double major helped secure her upcoming internship this summer with Ernst and Young (EY). Wolff is doing an audit internship with them, but EY is very interested in her bringing a business analytics perspective to her work.

“That’s what I keep telling people about double majoring, is every time someone sees my resume and they see the two majors together, it’s clear that it automatically brings me to the top of the pile,” Wolff said. “People have told me that they’re like, ‘Oh, your resume stood out to us because you were a double major in these two things that we’re really interested in.’ So I’m encouraging people if they’re even considering it, just do it because you’ll get a lot of great skills.”

Wolff intends to go to Trinity’s master’s in accounting program next year. Wolff is unsure what she will end up pursuing as a career but is looking forward to the future and the many paths that her degrees will open up for her.

Cate Coe

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