Make The Connection

June 13, 2023 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan students Ellison Capers ’23 (from left), Payne Johnson ’24, and Kory Kaiser ’25 discover an aptly named street during their OWU Connection grant-supported trip to Australia to explore international accounting principles. (Photos courtesy of Emily West)

Accounting in Australia

Ohio Wesleyan Students Spend Week Researching Accounting Down Under

Ohio Wesleyan travelers Emily West (from left), Payne Johnson ’24, Kory Kaiser ’25, Ellison Capers ’23, and Destiny Coleman visit the University of Sydney as part of their accounting research.

Name: Ellison Capers ’23
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
High School: Lafayette High School
Major: Accounting
Minor: Music

Name: Payne Johnson ’24
Hometown: Barnesville, Ohio
High School: Barnesville High School
Major: Accounting
Minor: Politics and Government

OWU Connection Experience: Traveling to Australia to study “Comparative Study of United States and Australian Accounting Principles”

Students Ellison Capers ’23, Payne Johnson ’24, and Kory Kaiser ’25 of Cincinnati, Ohio, used an OWU Connection Theory-to-Practice Grant to travel to Australia in the spring to study U.S. and Australian accounting philosophies and gain firsthand experience in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

They traveled with Emily West, MBA, assistant professor of Accounting, and Destiny Coleman, M.S., administrative director of The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. While in Australia, the group met with experts including OWU graduate Thomas Mooney ’91, managing director of Avis Budget Group in New South Wales.

Of the experience, West says: “This trip was an incredible opportunity to help expose students to the bigger business and accounting world and see the different career paths they might choose upon graduation. Hearing the students share excitement about the impacts this trip had on their futures was a highlight of the trip.”

Ohio Wesleyan graduate Thomas Mooney ’91 (center) and colleague Mina Khandelwal meet with Ohio Wesleyan students Ellison Capers ’23, Kory Kaiser ’25, and Payne Johnson ’24 to discuss business accounting. Mooney is managing director of Avis Budget Group in New South Wales; Khandelwal is the head of financial planning and analysis, Pacific.

Lessons Learned

Capers: “This was my first time being outside of the United States, and I truly feel like I learned lessons from this experience, in the academic sense and in a life lesson sense. After hearing about the experiences of business executives and leaders, something became clear. Learning is something that I will always be doing; it is not something that ends once I leave OWU, but it continues into my professional life. …

“This experience will definitely help me stick out among potential employers, and I have already talked about my time in Australia and what I learned while I was there during job interviews.”

Johnson: “Just how different the U.S. system of accounting is compared to international systems. A lot of what we learned over there was familiar and consistent with what we learn in the classroom here, but it was interesting to see how it is implemented differently. If presented with the opportunity to do accounting overseas in the future, it would be something that I would heavily take into consideration. …

“Being able to experience what accounting is like in other parts of the world is an opportunity we do not get often in the U.S. … Being able to include this on any resume in the future will really set me apart from others.”

Favorite Moments

Capers: “My favorite moment was riding the ferry; I got to see the beauty Sydney has to offer while chatting with my peers about how excited we were to be there and what we hoped to gain from the experience.”

Johnson: “Watching the sunset behind the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. That’s when it really set in that our hard work paid off.”

Why Ohio Wesleyan?

Capers: “I wanted a university with professors who are dedicated to watching their students learn and grow. I was considering a lot of colleges in Ohio and was especially impressed with the genuine care OWU faculty seems to foster as well as the success of its alumni.”

Johnson: “I chose to attend OWU for opportunities exactly like this. OWU presented me with opportunities to prepare me for my future like no other institution could.”

Plans After Graduation

Capers: “Before graduation, I planned on entering the workforce doing something in either public accounting or data. Now, I am working at Columbus Literacy Council, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help youths from low-income families have a brighter future by offering them free/low-cost services and workforce/training opportunities. My position is a data entry specialist, and I am working full-time. My time at OWU gave me the technical experience I need to succeed as well as people skills and international experience to truly feel capable in my job performance.”

Johnson: “I plan to become a CPA after graduation and begin work with an accounting firm. OWU has helped prepare me with this by providing me with this TPG, internship experiences, and numerous connections in the industry.”