‘Just so you know, we’re going to win this.’
Blake Torbeck ended up at UND by chance. He had been looking at schools, and liked that UND’s Department of Accountancy was so highly regarded.
“I scouted out the accounting department and it has a really good reputation, and also I’m a huge hockey fan, so it worked out,” said Torbeck, who enjoys attending UND hockey games.
Torbeck, is a senior Accounting student at UND who over the years has gotten involved in many organizations such as: Beta Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma, and Beta Gamma Sigma.
This year, Blake volunteered to be in a competition through TrueUp, a company that turns accounting and finance skills into games. The competition is called “Broken Bots N’ Blocks” and focuses on blockchain, which is a digital ledger that keeps track of transactions made in cryptocurrency.
“It’s a secure, safe, and quick way to track transactions. It cuts out the middle man, it happens instantly, and it’s going to be a really fast, secure way to have these transactions interact in the future,” explained Torbeck.
When Torbeck signed up for the competition, he was paired up with Michael, a student from California State, Northridge. He was also given two Accounting Partners as mentors. All of the communication between the four of them was online, and during the first conference call the mentors made one thing very clear.
"Just so you know, we’re going to win this,” explained Torbeck with a smile.
The competition had 183 students from more than 30 universities, and approximately 20 students from UND. After Torbeck received the names of his partner and his mentors, the steep learning curve began.
"I learned a ton in a couple of weeks,” said Torbeck.
Following the initial information process, the competition began.
The first three parts of the competition were smaller challenges that included things like building blockchain components and fixing problems within the blockchain. The final part of the competition was a presentation. Torbeck’s team chose to analyze the change that would occur for payroll with the use of blockchain.
“We chose the changes to payroll in Accounting with blockchain, so basically what happens is the employee can get paid by the minute rather than bi-weekly, because that transaction happens instantly,” said Torbeck.
He explained that companies that use blockchain will be able to regulate who can see the blockchain. Individual employees will be able to see their paychecks, accountants will be able to see how assets move through the blockchain, and the government will have access to all blockchain transactions as well.
Part of the presentation was explaining how regulation will change the jobs of CFOs, Senior Accountants and Audit Managers. The team was given 12 minutes to present their findings. After that came the awards. The top six teams were announced starting at No. 6. Torbeck admitted he was nervous for the No. 1 team to be called. He was thinking about how his team either didn’t place in the top 6, or they won.
Blake and Michael’s team took 1st place. One thing that they were awarded with was access to a blockchain certification webinar.
“One of the prizes that we won for getting 1st place was that the AICPA sent us access to a webcast that’s happening in December where we can get this Blockchain Certification. So we attend this webinar and we get this sweet thing to put on our resume,” said Torbeck.
Blake has continued to stay in contact with Michael as well as his advisors who have their own blockchain advisory and send out updates about the advisory to the two. Torbeck was very grateful for this opportunity and is excited to get his blockchain certification to add his resume.
“To have that certification from the AICPA is huge. On a resume people are going to look at that and say this kid went out, he’s a go getter, he went and learned all this new technology, he wants to be at the top,” said Torbeck.