Price Waterhouse to fund center

By George Vlahakas

The establishment of the Price Waterhouse Center for Information Technology at the Indiana University School of Business will help further development of the technical proficiency of future accounting and business consulting professionals. Announcement of the new center was made last week on the Bloomington campus.

The new center will bring together the teaching of key courses such as auditing and cost accounting -- which are increasingly becoming interrelated with the use of technology -- through an integrated computer network.

The Price Waterhouse Foundation will provide a grant totaling $300,000 over the next five years to cover costs of establishing and maintaining 80 work stations that will be interconnected by a local area network (LAN). The center's LAN will include access to Price Waterhouse's specialized software and other research tools used by the firm.

"Dramatic changes are taking place in business and in the way people should be educated for participating in the business community worldwide. These changes are pervasive and nowhere more significant than in the accounting and consulting professions," said Larry Scott, executive director of the Price Waterhouse Foundation.

"We are proud to partner with the School of Business to aid in the technological advancement of the profession as it continues its evolution from record keeping to crucial business advising," added Michael Herman, national college relations partner.

Dan Dalton, interim dean of the IU School of Business, said the new center is consistent with recent major initiatives in the Accounting and Information Systems Department, particularly the establishment of two new master's degree programs that are designed to meet more stringent accounting industry standards.

"We believe sincerely that the students who we prepare today are going into a workplace that will be marked in an important way by extraordinarily high technology, particularly in terms of information systems and information services," Dalton said. "Clearly, to prepare our students to do these things responsibly, we need to have the facilities in place. This gift will help us today to provide an education that enables our students to contribute to the success of their clients for many years to come."

The new center will be the prototype for future classrooms in the IU School of Business.

"In the new curricula, there is a strong emphasis on computer and communications technology," said Mikel Tiller, IU chairman of accounting and information systems.

"The need for education arises in recognition of the extreme complexity of business transactions and of the technology that enables accountants to get their arms around it. Price Waterhouse has been a leader in moving the accounting profession toward its new, more central role in business worldwide."

IU and Price Waterhouse have enjoyed close ties for many years. More than 170 IU Business School alumni are now working in 32 Price Waterhouse offices, including 20 who are partners or principals.

Although IU is one of the most frequent sources of new hires for the Midwest region, it is also considered an important source for the firm nationally, Scott said.

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