Skip to main content
Intellect

BYU accounting grads help set national standards

Most accountants spend their days ensuring that company financial records are up to standards. But for a handful of Brigham Young University Master of Accountancy graduates, going to work means helping set those standards.

During the last decade, BYU MAcc graduates have consistently been placed as post-graduate technical assistants with the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the body recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as the authority on financial standards in the United States.

“For BYU to have someone coming out of the MAcc program placed as a PTA every year for the last five years — occasionally two in the same year — is pretty remarkable,” said associate professor of accountancy Jeff Wilks who oversees students accepted into the FASB and who also worked for the board for two years. “It’s a small group of schools that consistently places people in the FASB.”

While at the year-long position, recent graduates help prepare documents for board members, answer specific questions from accountants and work on projects as needed. With the board taking only six recent graduates from across the country every six months, it is a rare opportunity for recent accounting graduates to participate.

Candace Jones, a 2009 MAcc graduate who currently works as a PTA, fell into the experience by chance. When the original candidate decided to take a job with the International Accounting Standards Board, Wilks nominated Jones to fill the vacancy, much to her surprise.

“This experience has helped broaden my perspective on the standard-setting process,” Jones said. “People complain about the complexity of accounting standards, but when you have to balance the perspectives of financial statement preparers and users operating in multiple industries, the task to present information that is relevant and faithfully represents the company’s operations becomes very complicated.”

Jones is working on improving financial statement presentations. As the staff proposes different ways companies can accurately present their financial statements, she helps create illustrations or examples, demonstrating how the new standard would affect the fictitious company’s statements. Using these recommendations, the board ultimately decides what presentation methods will be used.

“It’s a neat experience to be part of something that is so much bigger than one person, or even one country, and to see positive changes taking shape,” Jones said.

For Tracy Farr, a second-year MAcc student from Greensburg, Pa., who will start as a PTA in July, the chance to work with the FASB presents both a challenge and an opportunity to learn accounting standards from those who actually make them.

“I love the way that technical accounting issues force me to think and analyze a situation,” he said.“There is rarely a clear answer, and everyone has a different view on how things should be accounted for.”

Based on his preparation in the BYU accounting program, it’s no surprise to Farr that BYU accounting grads consistently go on to fill this opportunity.

“That so many of our students have been selected seems to be a testament to the Marriott School, the accounting program, and the faculty at BYU,” he said. “I only hope that I can represent the school well and continue to maintain the reputation of professionalism that BYU graduates have established.”

The FASB, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., is operated by the Financial Accounting Foundation. It is a private sector organization and is independent of all businesses and professional organizations. It was created to “establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors and users of financial information.”

The Marriott School has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, entrepreneurship, and recreation management and youth leadership.

Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

For this and other Marriott School news releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschoool.byu.edu/news.

Writer: Dustin Cammack

Candace.jpg

Related Articles
data-content-type="article"
May 22, 2020
BYU students took home HALF of the awards in the Television Student category.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
May 18, 2020
Statewide effort features researchers from BYU, University of Utah, Utah State University, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
May 14, 2020
Each year for the past five years, students at BYU’s Center for Animation have been tasked with creating an entire video game from concept to finished product. This spring, the latest team made history by creating the first game to win first place in two different categories at the Intel University Games Showcase.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=