Setting the standard

October 2014

Matthew Silver, BS ’13, MS ’14, has always been drawn to financial accounting, even before he knew what accounting was.

As a child, he would visit his CPA father at work and dream of growing up to be just like him. Later, as an undergraduate in the School of Management, it was Professor Muriel Anderson’s introductory accounting course that solidified his career choice.

“I love how everything in accounting balances and there is always a right answer and a wrong answer,” Silver says. “And I learned that the typical stereotype of an accountant was false. They are actively involved in tactical and strategic decisions and work in teams to grow an organization.”

Just before graduating with his master’s degree, Silver was chosen to peek behind the curtain to learn how financial accounting standards are established and have a role in setting new ones. In July, Silver started an elite postgraduate technical assistantship (PTA) with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which defines accounting and financial reporting standards for all businesses in the United States.

Only six students nationwide are chosen annually for this opportunity, often considered the business school equivalent of clerking for a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Silver is the third School of Management student in two years to be accepted for a PTA with either the FASB or its counterpart for state and local governments, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). UB is the only school in Western New York with graduates who have earned PTAs at the FASB or GASB.

“UB will be well-represented with Matt as a FASB intern,” says Kathy O’Donnell, assistant professor of accounting and law, who recommended Silver. “Matt is exceptionally mature and dependable. He is a poised and confident young man who has always demonstrated a high level of professionalism.”

During the one-year program, Silver will become highly involved in the standard-setting process to develop an in-depth understanding of the roles played by preparers, auditors and users of financial information. He will work on all aspects of his assigned project, including reviewing and analyzing published research, preparing memorandums on technical issues and evaluating accounting proposals from other organizations.

After completing his assistantship, Silver will start as an assurance associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). He previously interned in the core assurance practice at PwC’s New York office, where he participated in a quarterly review for a large entertainment business and a year-end audit for a multinational company. Through PwC’s Project Belize, Silver also taught financial literacy to school-aged children in Belize City.

“Matt has the recognized potential to eventually be a PwC partner,” says Mark Bruno, Lake Erie market sourcing leader at PwC. “He gets noticed because of his pleasant enthusiasm and his consistent high performance. His internship performance was exceptional, so our goal is to keep him challenged and coach his professional development.”

Outside the office, there will be little downtime for this recent grad: A captain for several intramurals while at UB, Silver enjoys playing sports and also plans to stay active in community service organizations.

Written by Matthew Biddle