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Daniel Ochoa

Daniel Ochoa

M.S. in Accounting Program 2013 (Financial Reporting & Assurance Track)

Now: EY LLP, Financial Statement Assurance Senior (San Jose, CA)


Most memorable class

Professor Roger Martin's “Special Topics in Auditing, Assurance, and Ethics” course was the capstone course to an incredible year of learning. Throughout the semester, we delved deep into the auditing profession, covering everything from its history to its current role in the financial markets. Each lecture promoted an open classroom discussion in which Professor Martin was the moderator and the previous night’s reading served as the topic of discourse.

Leveraging the M.S. in Accounting degree in the workplace

Throughout the program, we learned a great deal about the technical aspects of accounting and about the nuances between US-GAAP and IFRS, all of which has served me well. What I value most about my education at UVA, however, is the understanding I developed of the accounting industry as a whole and of the interactions between the issuers of the financial statements, the multitude of users, the auditors, and the regulators of the markets. Developing an understanding of the dynamics between the issuers and users and of the information asymmetry that often separates the two has given me greater appreciation for the value of independent auditors and their regulators. As I approach each new task, I draw upon this understanding, which gives my work a sense of purpose.

A typical day on the job

As an Auditor in the Silicon Valley, I primarily serve tech clients (e.g., green tech, biotech) whose needs include attestation services, annual financial statements and effectiveness of internal control environments, and comfort letters over debt and equity offerings. No weekly assignment is the same as we strive to meet the needs of our clients. As a result, I am always being challenged to learn a new account and master a new testing strategy.

What makes the job great

Like most professional service firms, EY employs an apprenticeship model that presents new opportunities for growth and development daily. Every new assignment comes with its own unique set of challenges that require us to continuously leverage the new skills we’re acquiring to drive the task to completion. Once I have mastered a particular task, it’s on to the next year-end, and it is then my responsibility to instruct the new incoming staff on how to do the same. This teacher/student model allows teams to conduct our audits as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Advice for future M.S. in Accounting students

The M.S. in Accounting Program at UVA provides an incredible opportunity to solidify one’s accounting foundation before launching into our careers. That being said, the knowledge we gain is a direct result of the effort we put in before every lecture. Thus, I advise all students to put in the work so that they too can reap the rewards of higher education.

Preparation for professional success and leadership in the workplace

Much of our assigned work throughout the Program required that we work in small groups, which enabled us to learn valuable teamwork skills necessary for a successful transition to the workplace.

Favorite Charlottesville activity

Aside from visiting the many fine wineries and restaurants in and around Charlottesville, visiting the neighboring Shenandoah National Park in the fall is one of my fondest memories in Charlottesville.