This spring, the UB School of Management named its 2020 Accountant of the Year: John Galiski, BS/MBA ’92, a director at AlixPartners LLP and member of the school’s Accounting Advisory Council.
Established in 1984, the Accountant of the Year award honors an alumnus who has been successful in the accounting profession and made significant contributions to the school and its students.
Since graduating from the School of Management, Galiski has built a varied career as a CPA and certified fraud examiner, with expertise in forensic accounting, interim management roles and assisting companies with improving their operational and financial results. After commencement, he joined Arthur Andersen, helping to launch the company’s consulting practice and gaining experience in international business, mergers and acquisitions, transition work and fraud investigations.
Toward the end of his decade-long tenure with the firm, Galiski chose to specialize in forensic accounting and quickly found he could apply those skills on an array of projects in many industries. In fact, that versatility is what he still loves most about his role today at AlixPartners LLP, the New York City-based management consulting firm he joined in 2005.
“I don’t have recurring clients like I might in another practice, so it’s exciting to learn a new industry and continually build my skill set with each project,” Galiski says. “Right now, I’m working on a massive bankruptcy. Even people who know what forensic accounting is might not expect those skills to come in handy in a bankruptcy situation, but that’s what keeps things exciting—I get to use my skills to help on all sorts of different, interesting engagements.”
Among his varied experiences, Galiski has led an investigation, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, into a Fortune 500 firm and presented his findings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. His clients have included billionaire investors and high-profile companies. In addition, he has performed forensic reviews in a variety of cases, including an investigation of anonymous allegations of fraud and money laundering for a leading e-commerce solutions supplier, and an examination of historical contractual and financial data for an aircraft management company.
On top of his sometimes late nights at work, Galiski also donates his time, both to the School of Management and as a board member for Literacy Inc., a nonprofit that works in underserved New York City neighborhoods to encourage young children to read and connect families to resources and programming.
“If you’re successful in life, it’s important to realize that you have a certain responsibility to support your community,” Galiski says. “It’s so rewarding to use your skills and resources to help others in need.”
Galiski, who served a term as Beta Alpha Psi president when he was a student, credits the School of Management with helping to launch his successful career, specifically singling out the impact that accounting faculty and student organizations had on his development.
For new grads, his advice is simple: Communicate effectively.
“I’ve met people who are absolutely brilliant and come up with wonderful ideas, but if they can’t communicate their thoughts effectively, it’s all for naught,” he says. “If you’re going to work your way up in an organization, pay attention to detail, think about what’s important and boil it down to those key elements.”