Hannah Leon '21

Hannah Leon quote


Hannah Leon ’21, accounting, is an auditor for the Utah State Tax Commission. She works to ensure that taxpayers pay the correct amount and receive any tax credits they’re owed. Hannah tells us why UVU was the right choice for her and what a day in her life looks like.

What was one of your favorite memories at UVU?

My first introduction to UVU was going to Bachata Fest in 2018. It was such an amazing experience. I was visiting my family who had just moved to the state and decided to go with my friends who were also visiting. It was full of amazing dancers, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole night. It was great seeing my Latin culture represented.

What was your path to your current career and why did you make these choices?

I started my education at Long Beach City College in California and initially wanted to be a nurse. I got my CNA certification so I could work as a CNA while going to school. I realized it wasn’t the career that I really wanted. I knew I wanted to go to business school since my mother was an accountant and almost all my family on my father’s side are business owners. I talked to my counselor about changing my career path to accounting and instantly felt relief and excitement about what was to come.

I got my Associates in Business Administration from LBCC and made the move to Utah to work on my Bachelor’s in Accounting at Utah Valley University. I took an internship while in school and once I graduated, I accepted a job working for the Utah State Tax Commission and have been here since June 2021.

What does a “day in the life” look like for you?

As an auditor for the Utah State Tax Commission, my primary roles are reviewing a taxpayer’s accounting records to make sure they are collecting and remitting the correct amount of sales and use tax. On a typical day you will find me reconciling the sales and use tax returns to the taxpayer’s records, reviewing any exempt sales to verify that they are valid, reviewing a taxpayer’s expense and asset purchases to make sure they are paying sales tax on consumable items, and even giving taxpayers a credit for sales and use tax paid in error.

I am always communicating with my manager when I am unsure of a particular sales tax law or type of business. Sales tax law is aways changing, so keeping up to date on the new sales tax laws and knowing where to look for specific information in the tax code book is very important.

What is your favorite part of your job or what are you most proud of and why?

My favorite part of my job is the option to travel to different parts of the state as well as the option to even travel outside of the state. It makes the job fun and allows me to meet new people.

What is one of the key issues your industry is facing and your thoughts on addressing this challenge?

I think auditors are always viewed as the villains that go into businesses and cause stress and anxiety. As an auditor, our primary goal is to educate the taxpayer and keep them up to date on tax law changes and information that impacts their business. Part of that is reviewing their sales tax accounting processes and make sure everything is running smoothly.

What advice do you have for someone interested in accounting?

There are so many options as an accountant; you could work for a public company and gain a lot of experience working with many different companies, or you could work solely for a private company. There are benefits to both! I’d recommend working public and gaining as much knowledge as possible so that when you do work for a private company, you will be able to benefit the company so much more as well as be worth more and get the salary that you deserve.

What are three skills that you think contribute to professional success?

Three skills that I attribute to professional success are encouraging criticisms, asking questions, and taking advantage of all the training that your employer offers.

What’s something about you that might surprise people?

I am a professional accountant by day and an aspiring bodybuilder by early-morning. I hit the gym every day at 5:30 am before I head to work because I’m training for my very first NPC competition in the bikini division come April 2023.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to the UVU community? Why does UVU matter to you?

School spirit has always been important to me. If you’re proud of where you come from, it shows a lot about your character. The places you’ve been and the path that you walk create who you become. As a UVU alum, I have learned a lot about myself and my capabilities educationally. I am a life-long learner. I value my education at UVU because it is taking me places and will continue to take me places for the rest of my professional career, and I am so grateful for that. For students, take the time to reflect on not just your educational goals but on how this time will contribute to the person you will become. Join clubs to see how you would be as a leader and a team player! That was so crucial to getting the most out of my college experience.


Utah Valley University is proud of the impact our more than 100,000 alumni make in diverse industries. Visit uvualumni.org for more Wolverine Stories and alumni and student networking programs. For opportunities to give back to UVU, go to uvu.edu/evergreen.