A numbers game

How one alumnus is gamifying the accounting industry

April 2018

Vince LoRusso.

Vince LoRusso, BS ’07, is constantly coming up with new ideas.

After winning the PwC Challenge twice as a School of Management student, LoRusso led the UB Accounting Association in launching the Becker Professional Education Case Competition, which ran for several years after he graduated. Later, as his accounting and consulting career grew, he spent nights working on new ideas and eventually launched a social media video app called MycroNews.

Today, he’s all-in on his latest venture: TrueUp, a startup that gamifies the hiring and training process for accounting and finance professionals.

“Entrepreneurship has always been in my heart,” says LoRusso, a CPA. “It just excites me. I love taking an idea and trying to execute on it.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting, LoRusso joined PwC’s Buffalo office as an experienced associate, performing financial audits for the banking, health care and hospitality industries. After three years with PwC, LoRusso decided to leave the East Coast — and Big Four accounting — to explore the Los Angeles market.

“At PwC, the extra pressure and variety of clients helped me gain technical experience and develop my soft skills,” he says. “The name was huge too. When I got my first job out here, every person I worked alongside in the accounting department had come from a Big Four firm. Without that name on my résumé, I may not have gotten that job because the company was preparing to go public and a Big Four background was required.”

Upon relocating to the West Coast, LoRusso shifted into consulting, providing accounting, audit, finance and IPO support for such organizations as The Honest Company, the Rubicon Project, TeleSign and Ring.com. He also kept a close relationship with his alma mater as president of the UB Alumni Association’s LA chapter, helping to plan networking opportunities like the “Taste of Buffalo in LA” event for alumni.

LoRusso demonstrates TrueUp.

LoRusso demonstrates TrueUp.

“Many high-growth tech companies don’t have their books in order early on and need support as they expand — that’s where I come in,” he says. “Personally, I love the flexibility of project-based work and the ability to meet new people, see new systems and complete different tasks all the time.”

As part of his work, he heard from companies and job-seekers about challenges in the recruiting process. Meanwhile, as LinkedIn’s user base approached half a billion, he also saw niche networks popping up online for developers, nurses and lawyers. With no similar network for accounting, LoRusso and his co-founder, Erik Rasmussen, decided to create one: TrueUp.

With TrueUp, recruiters can quickly validate candidates’ skills in areas like internal controls, audit planning and client communication by sending them challenges and comparing their results. For professionals, the platform allows them to privately see how their performance on challenges compares with their peers, gain additional skills and learn new accounting guidance — all while playing games against others in similar roles.

This winter, Talent Tech Labs invited TrueUp to join its startup incubator, which solidified its focus on gamification and provides access to key data and top firms. In addition, the company won the Association of International CPAs Startup Challenge, earning one of four spots in the AICPA’s first-ever accelerator program.

“We’ve gotten strong feedback from companies because they see real value in our tool, which is the ability to validate candidates’ credentials and get better information than what’s on a résumé,” LoRusso says. “Someday, we hope every accounting and finance manager is using our platform.”

Written by Matthew Biddle