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Stories: Priyankara Silva, CPA

Priyankara Silva, CPA, is a senior audit manager in EY’s financial services audit practice. He started his career as an assurance intern in the EY office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and from the beginning of his career was focused on serving financial service sector clients. Global integration of EY’s financial service audit practice helped him work in Singapore and The Cayman Islands, and he finally moved to Utah in 2018. Between moves, Priyankara got married in The Cayman Islands and had a baby boy in 2018. “As a family, we enjoy traveling to national parks,” he says. “Our favorite activities are hiking trails (easy ones only), observing viewpoints, driving through winding roads at elevations of thousands of feet, watching wildlife.” Priyankara lives in Murray, Utah, and has served as the UACPA’s DEI Committee chair since September 2021.  

What are your goals for the DEI Committee? As CPAs, we should strive to develop a business culture that welcomes difference, holds people accountable for equity, and challenges preconceived notions and misconceptions. Our committee strives to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive business environment, which can be accomplished through a combination of policy, educational & awareness campaigns, and monitoring tools.

What led you to become a CPA? I wanted to become a lecturer in the accounting or finance field. However, while studying for my undergraduate degree, my grandmother pushed me to take a professional course in accounting. Hence, I took the Chartered Accountancy Exam in Sri Lanka, which is based on international accounting and auditing standards and equivalent to U.S. CPA. When I decided to move to the U.S., I also completed the U.S. CPA as I wanted to be in public accounting longer.      

What do you like to do outside of work? Answering my son’s “why” questions, calling friends and family in Sri Lanka, and traveling.

What would surprise people to know about you? One of the fundamental questions of human existence is whether there is life after death. I love reading and watching anything relating to theories of life after death.

What is your favorite book? ‘Masterman Ready’ by Captain Frederick Marryat. This book is a classic adventure story. I borrowed a copy of this book from a friend when I was in grade seven. The story inspired me to explore the world to learn about the different ways people live around the globe.

What are some of your goals both personally and professionally? I want to be an excellent husband and father. Professionally I want to help my clients and the team members to make a better working world.

What advice do you live by? Luck happens when hard work, timing and talent intersect.