Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Kyle Quinn

Accounting for Change

From the classroom to the workplace, UC business scholar puts his best foot forward.

Kyle Quinn, BBA ’13, wants to use his accounting degree to impact society in a positive way.

Quinn hopes to use his accounting skills to challenge the existing financial practices of non-profit organizations. Specifically, he wants to understand how non-profit organizations can utilize the financial policies of for-profit businesses to fund social sustainability projects.

“It’s interesting that the non-profit sector has received considerably more money from donations than the for-profit sector,” Quinn says. “Over the last 10 years, the socioeconomic gap has continued to widen, with more people that are impoverished, hungry, and without access to a good education; with substantially more funds to use than the for-profit sector. That’s how you know that the financial system is wrong.”

Quinn first became interested in social change last winter when he and 65 other fellows from around the globe took part in the Starting Bloc conference at Tufts University in Boston. The theme of the conference was social innovation. Starting Bloc selects the brightest young leaders and arms them with resources to meet global challenges.

His passion for bringing for-profit accounting methods to non-profits translated easily into his essay topic when he was nominated for the Harry S. Truman scholarship, a competitive national award granted to U.S. college juniors for demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service.

Meanwhile, he’s gaining real-work experience as a co-op at Ernst & Young, a public accounting firm in Cincinnati. As a Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS (LHP) scholar, Quinn is required to complete seven terms of full-time co-op experience. His experience thus far is in tax, audit, advisory and consulting.

“I like E&Y because of their emphasis on social responsibility and giving back to the community,” Quinn points out, which is fitting considering his passions for the improvement of our communities, from a financial perspective.

Looking towards his own community, Quinn has seized opportunities to impact UC in a positive way.

In his freshman year, Quinn was appointed by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to serve as a student representative on the UC Board of Trustees, UC’s highest level of policy making.  While serving on the board, he participated in Inter-University Council Day at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. This day gave him the opportunity to speak with state lawmakers about the importance of higher education from a student’s perspective, as well as lobby on behalf of UC and its role in higher education.

Such an important leadership position so early in his college career helped prepare Quinn for his next important role as Vice Chair of the Presidential Bicentennial Commission. He was appointed by UC President Gregory H. Williams in 2011. His responsibility as Vice Chair is to increase engagement between UC students and recent alumni leading up to the 2019 bicentennial celebration and beyond.

Quinn is also involved in more than a dozen campus activities. He is president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, as well as a member of Sigma Sigma, Cincinnatus and Men of Metro, the latter three being honorary groups on UC’s campus.

Quinn didn’t always know he would be a Bearcat. During his college search, UC wasn’t high on his list. Originally from Grand Rapids, MI, Quinn wanted to go to the University of Illinois to study in its business program. His father, former UC football Offensive Coordinator Jeff Quinn, convinced him to give UC a chance.

“Once I stepped foot on campus,” he recalls, “I knew it was meant to be.”

In fall 2012, Quinn will gain further accounting exposure at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in São Paulo, Brazil, courtesy of the Boren Award for International Study, an organization that funds undergraduate students to study in areas of the world critical to U.S. interests.

After that, next steps include graduation and time spent gaining the public accounting experience he needs to become a CPA. He also has plans to attend law school in the future, all the while keeping his passion for accounting and social sustainability in mind. 

"At a time of economic unrest, pursuing a [path] committed to social and fiscal betterment, to me, seems critical,” Quinn says. “My future plans include advocating for social and economic stability and improvement.”

Considering the opportunities he has had to develop as a leader, Quinn will no doubt make a positive impact wherever he goes.