Release Date: April 29, 2019
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Olivia Miller has studied accounting standards at the University at Buffalo School of Management—and now she’s heading to the organization that sets them with a prestigious assistantship at the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
Miller is one of just four students nationwide who earned a postgraduate technical assistantship this year at the GASB, which establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for U.S. state and local governments. During her yearlong internship, she will become highly involved with the standards-setting process by working on major agenda projects or short-term practice and implementation issues.
“Being selected for this position is probably one of my greatest accomplishments,” says Miller, who received a bachelor’s in accounting and will complete her master’s in accounting this May, both from the UB School of Management. “It will be a great opportunity to push my accounting knowledge and apply everything I’ve learned in a real-world setting.”
Miller is the seventh School of Management student since 2012 to be selected for the position at the GASB or its private-sector counterpart, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Past FASB and GASB assistants from UB have gone on to start their career at Big Four firms Deloitte, EY and PwC.
“An assistantship at the FASB or GASB is the most valuable professional experience any accounting graduate can have,” says Feng Gu, associate professor and chair of the school’s Accounting and Law Department. “The experience will put Olivia on a strong trajectory to advance her career, and her success will help to further strengthen UB’s reputation as a premier accounting program.”
Miller developed her passion for accounting at North Tonawanda High School in North Tonawanda, N.Y., where she took an accounting class and interned with the city’s accounting department during budget season. As a UB School of Management student, she completed two more internships, doing tax work with regional firm Brock, Schechter and Polakoff, and gaining audit experience at PwC in New York.
At the same time, Miller sought opportunities to broaden her skill set beyond accounting. Through leadership and personality assessments in the school’s Undergraduate Honors program, she learned to adapt her leadership style to bring out the best in her teammates. It was her role as president of the school’s Undergraduate Consulting Club that inspired her to pursue an accounting advisory career, in which she hopes to help organizations implement accounting standards and achieve their goals.
“What impresses me most about Olivia is her understanding that leadership skills—like teamwork, collaboration and strategic-thinking—are just as important as technical accounting skills in a professional environment,” says Muriel Anderson, clinical associate professor in the School of Management.
After commencement, Miller plans to complete the CPA exam, and says she is well-prepared to join the GASB in July, thanks to all of her experiences at UB.
“The School of Management helped me become a holistic business professional,” she says. “All of the work pays off because you gain the confidence to go out into the business world and say, ‘I’m equipped with all of these tools—so let’s see what I can do.’”