Gift gives UH West Oʻahu Accounting students competitive advantage

Group of 7 people pose for a photo

From left: Assistant Professor Eric Wen; student Louella Agpaos; Arick Yanagihara, President, Sukamto Foundation; Howard Kam, Managing Director, TRUSTA; Chancellor Maenette Benham; student Jumari Teodosio; Professor Franklin Kudo; Assistant Professor Katie Landgraf.o Mr. Howard Kam, Managing Director, TRUSTA

A generous contribution from the Sukamto Foundation and TRUSTA is helping University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu accounting students gain valuable real-world experience, filling a need identified by the industry.

TRUSTA and its charitable arm, Sukamto Foundation, pledged $25,000 each over the next five years. TRUSTA, established in 1983, is a full service certified public accounting and consulting firm with a domestic and international focus. TRUSTA is ranked among the top certified public accounting firms in Hawaiʻi providing audit, tax, and advisory services. With an initial gift, UH West Oʻahu faculty has already purchased Wolters Kluwer Intelliconnect, a tax research database. The database enhances classroom performance and exposes students to software utilized in the real-world. This specific software was chosen after the industry highlighted the need for workers to perform research.

The gift gave UH West Oʻahu students “the opportunity to utilize one of the most sought-after tax programs currently used in the field today,” UH West Oʻahu student and Accounting Club Executive Officer Jumari Teodosio said.

Teodosio, an accounting major and Pearl City High School graduate, added: “The program allows for students to apply their tax knowledge obtained in class to help prepare them for situations they may encounter when working in CPA firms.”

“Students have enjoyed the program and have already noticed a difference when starting internships and full-time positions,” Assistant Professor of Accounting Katie Landgraf shared.

Accounting is one of the most popular programs at the UH West Oʻahu campus. With this gift, accounting faculty will be able to further develop online coursework and enrich students with competitive skills in the local market. “We wanted to empower the faculty to enhance their instructional deliverables,” TRUSTA Managing Partner Howard Kam said.

“We’ve been trying to find ways to make a difference,” Arick Yanagihara, the President of the Sukamto Foundation, Inc., said. “Howard came up with a new way of providing funds that was more organic from the inside, where we can reach more students. I’m glad that we’re involved and hopefully we can make a difference.”

Kam said that TRUSTA and Sukamto Foundation saw the need of the UH West Oʻahu student population. As a product of the Waiʻanae Coast, Kam wanted to give students every opportunity to compete. He was also impressed with UH West Oʻahu accounting faculty and the passion they have for their students.

“Because we hired a few West Oʻahu alumni, I know that the faculty are still involved with their students. Faculty are actively checking to see if students are studying and passing their CPA exams,” he said. “I’m not accustomed to seeing that kind of passion.”

See alum Moana Toomalatai talking about her experience with TRUSTA.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff