Accounting for service

Shirish Srinivasan and Alan MardiniThey sacrificed their weekends to help low-income seniors and families across southeast Michigan file tax returns.

They crunched thousands of numbers and their efforts eventually paid off, as they helped return nearly $160,000 to 140 local residents.

Shirish Srinivasan and Alan Mardini are among a growing number of University of Michigan-Dearborn students to volunteer with the Accounting Aid Society’s free Tax Assistance Program, headed up by accounting lecturer Marshall Hunt (’69, B.B.A).

“It definitely tugs at your heart when you see people standing in line at 8 a.m. on a Saturday waiting for their tax returns,” Srinivasan said. “It just opens your eyes to something that you usually don’t see on a daily basis.”

Mardini can attest.

“It’s a great feeling when someone shakes your hand and says, ‘Thank you for my refund,’” he said. “It was very rewarding at the end of the day. It also changed the way I look at accounting.”

Their eagerness to give back to their community helped Srinivasan and Mardini earn the 2013 Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants’ (MACPA) Outstanding Student Member of the Year award.

“It was crazy to be the only two students in Michigan to receive it,” Mardini said. “I’m usually never at a loss for words, but this time, I was.”

The UM-Dearborn College of Business (COB) students both plan to graduate within the next 18 months with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance, so their job hunt already is in full swing. The MACPA award provided Srinivasan and Mardini with an opportunity to network with a number of accounting professionals statewide.

“Putting something like this on your resume is priceless,” said Srinivasan, who landed an internship at Ernst & Young, in part, because of his community service.

The students not only gained hands-on accounting experience, but they also financially impacted dozens of southeast Michigan residents.

“Faculty and staff in the College of Business always strive to prepare students to be the leaders and best,” said COB Dean Raju Balakrishnan. “Alan and Shirish are great examples of students who took what they learned in the classroom and applied it in their community. Both young men are fine stewards of our metropolitan vision.”

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