MAcc Students explore the world of government regulation and accounting trends

What makes the William & Mary Master of Accounting (MAcc) experience different from other programs?

Every year, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business offers a special opportunity for aspiring accounting professionals to meet with accounting practice leaders and government regulators in the nation’s capital. For those interested in beginning a career in public accounting, MAcc students have the opportunity to engage in Q&A regarding career paths and trending topics such as blockchain technology and new standards of revenue recognition. In addition to meeting thought leaders in the national offices of PwC, KPMG and EY, the faculty and students also visited regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Treasury, and PCAOB, where key officials discussed critical accounting matters relating to issuances of new standards and offered insights on both internal job functions and governance of fiscal policies.

This year's D.C. Financial Markets Trek, held September 9 - 10, was led by Marc Moyers, Professor of Accounting and former audit partner with KPMG.

The DC Trek provided a unique opportunity for students to have direct access to senior officials involved with setting standards and regulating financial markets, all of which is directly applicable to a career as a professional accountant. We also met with subject matter experts from major accounting firms who provided insights into emerging accounting and tax topics. Our students engaged the speakers throughout the two days with thoughtful questions and observations resulting in comments from a number of speakers about the quality of the W&M MAcc students. While certainly a very busy few days, it was a great experience for all and there was even some free time to explore DC.

Closing the Gap between theory and practice.

The journey commenced with a visit to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal MAcc students in front of SECgovernment agency responsible for protecting investors and overseeing the facilitation of capital information. While at the SEC, MAcc students had the opportunity to listen to high-level officials on a wealth of topics that included challenges of securities regulations, enforcement issues, and Non-GAAP measures. Student Matthew Varga thought his experience at the SEC was a great learning experience. “It was fascinating to hear from the Chief Accountant. I also enjoyed how the officials were very invested in our questions and took the time to tell us what they do. I learned more about opportunities outside of public accounting such as their fellowship programs."

The day also featured panel discussions hosted by PwC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in their respective Washington, DC offices. While at the PCAOB, an organization that “audits the auditors” students were able to discuss financial reporting matters relating to accounting estimates, inspections, and communications of CAMs. For those interested in pursuing an auditing career, student Carter Kounovsky found this session informative on what to expect in a future workplace, such as the regulatory environment of publicly traded companies. “Being at the PCAOB was a great experience. As we move into our professional careers, it’s great to understand more about the regulators of the industry. Learning more about the current events of the industry was beneficial as well. We got to understand how these issues are being dealt with from a firsthand source."MAcc students at pwc

At PwC, the panel discussions were led by senior leaders of the National Tax Services office. Student Ryan Lau thought his experience at PwC’s national office was phenomenal. “It was amazing to learn more about PwC and being able to tour their very own newsroom studio, Policy on Demand. I also got to ask technical questions relating to income treatment of tax-exempt organizations such as universities and SALT implications arising from the Wayfair vs. South Dakota ruling, which the presenters did an excellent job answering."

On Tuesday, September 10th, students gathered at the United States Department of the Treasury for presentations, led by a senior accountant of the Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, Scott Bell. The panel featured U.S. Treasury officials that covered topics such as financial transparency, fiscal projections, governmental accounting standards, and the DATA Act.

For the final session of the DC Trek, MAcc students and faculty arrived at the W&M Washington Center in theMAcc students in front of treasury afternoon. Distinguished professionals and alumni from KPMG and EY gave presentations on complex accounting matters such as revenue recognition, current expected credit loss (CECL), and dissolution of LIBOR. Student Carolyn Deutsch thought the discussion panels and the overall structure of the course were exceptional. “The DC Trek was both enjoyable and educational. It was a great way to get to know our classmates outside of the classroom. The KPMG and EY presentations gave me more in-depth knowledge about current topics in public accounting such as LIBOR and CECL. I also really enjoyed learning about blockchain and cryptocurrencies and the challenges that arise around these new technologies in accounting."