University of Pittsburgh

Katz MAcc Alum Begins Accounting Career with Schneider Downs

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Although Michael Leopold’s (MAcc ‘16) career with Schneider Downs is just beginning, he makes it a priority to share his knowledge of the industry with peers and continue learning industry trends. katz-macc-alum-michael-leopold

“I have always liked learning new things and then sharing them with others, usually the more complex and obscure, the better,” Leopold says. “Working for an accounting firm gives me the ability to help our clients understand the complex and ever-evolving financial world.”

His recent articles, “When is a Debt Instrument Transformed into Equity? When the U.S. Treasury Proposes So,” “An Apple a Day Doesn’t Keep the E.U. Commission Away,” and “Welcome Due Date Changes for Businesses and Individuals this Tax Season,” were published to the Schneider Downs website as resources for clients. 

“The more you know, the more valuable you are to your firm and your clients. No one expects you to memorize the tax code before starting, but they are all looking for people who are willing to continually learn and grow. Outside of my coursework, I read articles online, listened to podcasts, and discussed them with my professors,” he says.

In his role as a Staff Accountant, he is part of a team that works to prepare corporate, partnership, and individual tax returns. He is involved in the research of tax compliance issues, transaction analysis, and planning. Leopold will experience his first full tax season this spring, although he had a small taste during the fall extension’s “mini season.”

“My goals for the upcoming busy season are to learn as much about the technical aspects of tax that I can and to also try to see the big picture of how each transaction fits into the whole,” he says. 

Leopold considers the Katz MAcc program a great investment that made him feel prepared for his career from day one. 

“The professors as a whole bring a lot of real-world experience to the classroom, and the school hosts a number of accounting case competitions throughout the year. It’s great experience to work on focused team projects with short deadlines and make real presentations to outside professionals,” he says.

He also appreciated the many opportunities to interact and develop relationships with recruiters throughout the academic year. 

“I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the excellent Katz Career Management Center and Executives in Residence Program. Their doors were always open for advice and guidance,” Leopold says.

Additionally, Leopold is a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs, and the Economic Club of Pittsburgh. As a student, he was a member of the University of Pittsburgh Accounting Association and the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a member of each organization,” Leopold says. “On-campus organizations gave me a chance to bond with classmates outside the classroom and to learn more about the profession. The professional organizations gave me a chance to network with top industry professionals and learn more about what life is really like at the firms.” 

At Schneider Downs, Leopold’s career is already off to a strong start.