Giving back to the Fisher School

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Who says accounting isn’t romantic? For Aaron (BSAc ’04, MAcc ’04) and Carly (BSPR 04) Topol, the Fisher School of Accounting played an integral role in their lives both professionally and personally. 

Now married for more than 15 years, the couple briefly dated in high school before leaving for the University of Florida. They soon reunited on campus after Carly enrolled in the Intro to Financial Accounting course and knew she needed a bit of extra help. At her mother’s suggestion, she reached out to Aaron who was majoring in accounting. In the end, Carly effectively solved two problems.

“I passed the class, and I never have to worry about financial accounting again as I married one of the best,” Carly said.

The two were married shortly after graduation and began their careers in Atlanta, Ga. Aaron started his career at EY, and Carly was an account executive for a boutique travel and tourism public relations, marketing and advertising firm. After two years, the couple moved to New York City when Aaron accepted a role in EY’s transaction tax practice and Carly continued working in the travel and tourism industry for a luxury travel marketing firm. After several years in New York City, the couple returned to Atlanta to start their family, but they always had a strong desire to move overseas.

“Working and living internationally is something that I sought out from both a career and personal perspective,” Aaron said.  “I looked forward to gaining hands-on experience with inbound investments into the U.S. from foreign countries and expanding my network overseas. For my family, we wanted to provide a full-on immersion in experiencing the vast differences among people, lifestyle and culture that make our world so wonderfully complex and diverse.” 

In 2017, EY approached Aaron about an overseas assignment and presented options in both Europe and Asia. After a good deal of deliberation, the family decided that Asia, specifically Hong Kong, would most align with their goals. They spent two years living in Hong Kong, and the experience exceeded their expectations in every way.

Aaron led a U.S. tax practice for EY’s Asia-Pacific region, which required him to travel to Japan, Korea, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  He was also featured on CNBC’s Squawkbox (Asia) and had the opportunity to meet with the Finance Ministers of a number of countries who all wanted to be briefed on the new U.S. tax laws passed in December 2017.

For Carly, she relished the opportunity to show their two children another part of the world.

“I feel that travel makes us humble yet proud, savvy but accepting, and capable of breaking down cultural barriers while building personal character,” Carly said. “I hope that these international experiences will be a part of the fabric that makes my children who they are and will become.”

Today, the Topol family is back in Atlanta, as Aaron was asked to serve as EY’s International Tax and Transaction Services Leader for the Central region. The family is grateful for the many professional and personal opportunities they have experienced and credits the Fisher School of Accounting’s role in paving the way for these successes.

Aaron believes that Fisher School’s commitment to providing its students with several key factors lays the groundwork for a successful career. Throughout his schooling, he was consistently encouraged to be intellectually curious, imparted the value of teamwork and team projects and appreciated the exposure to major accounting firms through their extensive recruiting relationships with the school. As Aaron is now serving on the recruiting side, he is always confident in knowing that the Fisher School prepares its student body with transferable skills allowing them to be competitive and successful candidates within EY. 

In appreciation of the Fisher School’s support both as students and graduates of the university, the Topol family is honored to be able to financially support the accounting school. With their personal contribution, combined with EY’s matching program, the Topols have requested that a large percentage of their donation be allocated to the school’s scholarship fund, ensuring that students in need are able to reap the many benefits that the Fisher School offers. 

“We believe that there is no better gift than the gift of education,” Carly said. “Supporting that is a focus for our family. We are so honored to be able to provide the same opportunities to students that we were able to experience in hopes of allowing these individuals to begin their career path to success.”