Accounting Successes

Student Successes
Karen Hamm, MAcc '17

I definitely would not consider myself to be a conventional accountant. Instead, my background stems from astronomy and physics. As an undergraduate and post-graduate student, I conducted research through the University of Virginia's Department of Astronomy, working towards further mapping the evolution of our galaxy by collecting, reducing, and analyzing astronomical data. Even though I was not intent on pursuing a higher degree in astronomy, the experiences I gained from my undergraduate classes and research helped me realize my particular skills and interests. Karen Hamm , MAcc '18I was drawn towards working with data, writing and reading code, and utilizing statistical analysis software.

After taking an interest in accounting and enrolling in the MAcc program, I realized my interests could be applied beyond the natural sciences. As a MAcc student, I found there are numerous opportunities for accounting students that are also interested in technology and data analytics. Rather than pursue a traditional audit or taxation path, I found a way to utilize my skills and experiences through a Technology Risk Consultant position with Deloitte. As part of Deloitte's Advisory practice, I have the opportunity to work directly alongside clients to assess and manage technology risk, externally inspect accounting systems and controls for improvement opportunities, and assist clients with enterprise and compliance activities.

Joshua Buie, MAcc '17

My full name is Joshua Bradley Buie. I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I have an older brother named Jonathan Buie. During my life, I have experienced living in two countries, the United States of America and United Kingdom. As an undergraduate, I was also a collegiate basketball player, winning a national championship in my 2012-2013 sophomore campaign. Joshua Buie, MAcc '17Throughout my senior year of college I interned for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Honor Intern. In the position I received top secret security clearance in order to perform duties, maintained a 40 hour workload throughout the summer; 15 hour workload while in school, checked financial statements by examining excel spreadsheets during white collar crime cases, assisted a team to solve cases using google mapping software, and participated in meetings with the federal prosecutors and other governmental agencies in order to solve cases or prosecute them. After graduating Cum Laude from Lincoln University of Missouri in May of 2015 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting, I pursued a professional overseas basketball career. Summer of 2016 I earned an auditing internship with KPMG, and accepted a full-time auditor position for the fall of 2017.

Alumni Superstars

Alison T. Spivey BBA '93, Ernst & Young LLPAlison Spivey is a partner in Ernst & Young LLP's Professional Practice Group. She is responsible for leading a team responsible for consulting with engagement teams on technical accounting and reporting matters, monitoring activities of standard-setting bodies, drafting firm materials related to new and existing accounting pronouncements and leading professional education courses, primarily in revenue recognition and earnings per share. Currently, she is a member of the IASB/ FASB Joint Transition Resource Group for Revenue Recognition.

Prior to joining EY, Alison spent over four years in the Office of the Chief Accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As an Associate Chief Accounting, her responsibilities included working with public registrants on accounting and reporting matters, acting as a liaison with professional accounting standard-setting bodies, and participating in the development of the Commission staff's guidance and rule proposals under Federal Securities laws. Alison consulted with registrants on technical accounting matters and was a co-author of Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 107, Share-Based Payment.

 Frank Wood '74
Frank Wood '74Retired CFO, Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.
Frank Wood

Frank Wood '74

Retired CFO, Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.

About

After more than three years in Big 4 public accounting, I pursued an opportunity in the mining industry where I forged my 35 year career path in financial planning and analysis working from controller to CFO. I was involved in five business combinations.

Favorite W&M Memory

The first warm days of each spring and the lure to get outdoors and explore the campus and surrounding areas of Williamsburg.

What Makes W&M Special

Manageable size of the university community. Small class sizes and the sense that you mattered to professors. General beauty and tranquility of the campus and surrounding area.

What advice would you give to current students

To me, accounting is an ideal discipline to study because much of business, and life in general, revolves around measurements and keeping score. William & Mary has well established, well recognized accounting programs.

 Pamela J Penny '77
Pamela J Penny '77Retired Executive Vice President & Chief Accounting Officer, Tokio Marine HCC
Pam Penny

Pamela J Penny '77

Retired Executive Vice President & Chief Accounting Officer, Tokio Marine HCC

About

Prior to retiring in 2016, I served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer at Tokio Marine HCC. My career spanned nearly four decades and afforded me the opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities at different companies including Senior Vice President & Controller at Aegis Mortgage Corp, Senior Vice President & Controller at AIG/American General, Audit Partner at KPMG, and Audit Senior at PricewaterhouseCoppers.

Favorite W&M Memory

One of the fond memories is that I survived Professor John Quinn's intermediate accounting class. He was legendary for weeding out students who didn't have a strong interest or perceived ability in accounting. After failing his first test, he said, "Miss Jordan - maybe you should think about another major or career." I wasn't willing to give up! When he retired, I enjoyed sharing with him that I had become an audit partner at KPMG.

What Makes W&M Special

My accounting classes, particularly with Professor Quinn, were challenging but they formed a strong basis for critical thinking and problem solving, which definitely helped me be successful in my business career.

What advice would you give to current students

William & Mary's accounting curriculum provides outstanding opportunities to expose, prepare and groom students for both their near-term and future business careers. These opportunities include: strengthening communication skills; developing critical thinking and problem solving skills; exposure to international business issues; and exposure to current and relevant accounting topics and business experts. These skills and experiences help students get their first job. As they expand and strengthen these skills over the next 40 years of their careers, students will appreciate the high quality of their William & Mary education.

 Tracy Lewis '02
Tracy Lewis '02Assurance Partner, BDO USA, LLP
Tracy Lewis

Tracy Lewis '02

Assurance Partner, BDO USA, LLP

About

I have over 15 years of public accounting experience, serving a broad range of publicly and privately held clients. I have worked with clients in a variety of industries including contractors, manufacturing and distribution, technology, REITs, and healthcare. I provide audit and accounting consultation and attestation services to assist clients in complying with the US GAAP and IFRS financial reporting responsibilities related to periodic filings, stock offerings, and private placements, as well as evaluation of internal controls, financial reporting, and employee benefit plans.

Favorite W&M Memory

My favorite William & Mary memory was actually returning to campus years later with the CEO of BDO and our National SEC Director for an event that I helped organize with the Master's Program Career Services. Walking through campus that day I was able to reflect on just how far I had come since being on campus to obtain my Master's degree.

What Makes W&M Special

I completed my undergraduate degree at Emory and Henry College and came straight to graduate school at William & Mary, having grown up close to the area. The transition was seamless since both colleges were close knit and allowed students to thrive. The alumni networks at both colleges have been amazing and I never expected to get much beyond graduation. As I look back, I couldn't have been more wrong.

What advice would you give to current students

I would encourage students to pursue accounting based on the mobility that is inherent in the profession. There are so many avenues an accounting graduate can pivot as they embark upon their career.

 Jeff Hughes '85
Jeff Hughes '85National Managing Partner Assurance Risk Management, Grant Thornton LLP
Jeff Hughes

Jeff Hughes '85

National Managing Partner Assurance Risk Management, Grant Thornton LLP

About

I graduated from William & Mary in 1985 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. Currently I am a National Managing Partner for Assurance Risk Management at Grant Thornton LLP. Previously I served as the Regional Associate Director at PCAOB from 2003 to 2010, and as an audit partner with Ernst & Young from 1985 to 2003. My wife Sherry Leigh (BBA '85) and I have one daughter, Kelsy (BA '11) and a son, Tyler, who's a sophomore at the University of Georgia.

Favorite W&M Memory

Crossing the Crim Dell bridge, spring of senior year, with my then girlfriend, now wife.

What Makes W&M Special

The University is a community. It melds significant history, exemplary students, tremendous faculty, and an outstanding liberal arts education, creating an environment that one thoroughly enjoys while being a student, that prepares its students for the next stages in life, and that alums crave to return to.

What advice would you give to current students

I would encourage a student first to come to W&M... if they want to learn how to learn, from a great faculty, and be amongst some of the brightest students in the country in a community environment! I would then encourage them to pursue accounting, if interested in business, because the faculty is outstanding and balances excellent teaching with robust research and because the combination of an accounting degree with the overall liberal arts experience prepares students for the business world (not just accounting) better than just about any program in the country. I have recruited for many years at all types of institutions, including the top ranked programs, and while my view may be a bit biased, the students coming out of the W&M accounting program are fantastic, well prepared, obtain excellent positions and have great long-term success in multiple fields.

 Kassie Hall '09
Kassie Hall '09Senior Accountant, Dominion Energy Services
Kassie Hall

Kassie Hall '09

Senior Accountant, Dominion Energy Services

About

After graduating from the Masters of Accounting program in 2009, I worked in public accounting for over 5 years with responsibilities spanning audit, tax, and managing outsourced accounting functions. Currently, I serve in the natural gas sector of a public utility company. I am a Certified Public Accountant registered in Virginia and I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Randolph-Macon Woman's College.

Favorite W&M Memory

Visiting with the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission while on the CPA Trek.

What Makes W&M Special

The overwhelming support from faculty, staff, and alumni for students to succeed.

What advice would you give to current students

While pursuing accounting at William & Mary, you will be taught by individuals with many years of experience in academia as well as in practice and you will be provided with the foundation you need in order to seek out your desired career path.

 Michelle J. Avery
Michelle J. AveryPresident & Senior Managing Director, Veris Consulting, Inc.
Michelle Avery

Michelle J. Avery

President & Senior Managing Director, Veris Consulting, Inc.

About

Over the past 20 years with Veris, I gained extensive experience leading major dispute resolution engagements, and providing forensic accounting and expert witness services to prominent law firms in high-profile domestic and international civil litigation involving complex accounting, financial reporting and economic damages issues. I am a member of the Financial Reporting Executive Committee and the senior technical committee of the AICPA for financial reporting. I currently serve as the Vice-Chair of the William & Mary Raymond A. Mason School of Business Accounting Programs Board.

Favorite W&M Memory

Without a doubt, William & Mary gymnastics team away meets provided some of the best memories for me. As many as 15 people piled into a passenger van with feet propped up on luggage, barely able to move sounds awful, but those trips were a highlight. We would have the best times on those road trips getting to know each other outside of the classroom and gym and becoming great friends. I know what amazing people my teammates are and am in awe of the path that each has taken in life.

What Makes W&M Special

No one single thing made my time at William & Mary special but rather the collective intersection of it all. First and foremost having a wonderful educational experience in the classroom driven by faculty that genuinely invested in its students. The opportunity to, as an athlete, continue to compete with a firm focus on the student part of Student-Athlete. And, to do both with classmates and friends that were just as motivated in all aspects of their own William & Mary experience.

What advice would you give to current students

I remember standing with classmates on the deck of the Alumni House the last week of school 20 years ago, thinking about how I would spend my summer studying for the CPA exam before I started my job and how my world was about to change. If you had told me then, that today those same classmates would still be my friends and colleagues and that all three of us would have successful careers at those same jobs we took right out of school, I never would have believed you. The paths beyond the Sunken Gardens are endless with a degree in accounting. You may not know what your next step is or you may have it all planned out; but either way, the accounting program is an amazing foundation. For me William & Mary built a great educational foundation, built lasting friendships, and encouraged dedication and commitment to excellence.