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Employee Spotlight

Inclined Toward Education

After spending the majority of his career in corporate accounting, Jonathan Liljegren realized helping students in the classroom elevated his job satisfaction and serves the upcoming generation. As a newly appointed associate teaching professor of accounting, Liljegren shares his passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ and accounting by teaching at the BYU Marriott School of Business.

Photo of a man in a light blue suit wearing a smile with a grassy field behind him
Jonathan Liljegren is an associate teaching professor of accounting at BYU Marriott.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Liljegren.

Liljegren discovered his excitement for accounting early in life. “I was hooked on accounting from high school. I participated in the high school business program, and that’s where I learned I wanted to go into accounting,” Liljegren says.

After graduating high school, Liljegren wasted no time in pursuing his accounting degree at Brigham Young University. “Before I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil, I had already gotten involved in doing research for some of my accounting professors. I eventually enrolled in the PhD prep track, but I realized that I wanted to experience the thrill of working in practice,” Liljegren says. His professors—recognizing his talent for teaching—encouraged him to consider teaching later in his career.

Liljegren completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting at BYU Marriott before relocating to the Washington, DC, area, where he started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. As Liljegren advised various accounting teams at work, he realized a growing interest for teaching. “I took a couple of years to settle in and then decided I would be interested in adjunct teaching on the side of my current job,” Liljegren says.

A man speaks to a group of students looking at a screen projected on a wall
Liljegren instructs students outside of regular class time.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Liljegren.

Each day Liljegren juggled multiple responsibilities—working at the accounting firm, teaching auditing at George Mason University, and even teaching high school seminary for the church. “I dabbled in a little bit of everything and kept myself well rounded,” Liljegren explains. During this time, Liljegren realized that maintaining a balanced career ushered in great opportunity and high job satisfaction.

However, Liljegren’s job satisfaction in teaching came with one caveat—not having a requirement for research. “I wanted to stay connected to the business side and feel the thrill of collecting and tracking finances,” he explains. Passing on his love for accounting to eager students was equally thrilling for Liljegren. “I wanted to be able to focus on the student experience without the pressure to perform research." He went on to teach classes at George Mason University for thirteen semesters.

Liljegren loved his time in Washington, DC, but he craved new opportunities. He moved his family west for a professional opportunity with Amazon in Seattle.

A man holds a small girl in his arms while standing next to a woman and young boy. They are in front of a railing with a city and sea scape behind them.
Liljegren with his family in Seattle.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Liljegren.

Liljegren enjoyed working on accounting projects at Amazon for a couple of years, but he yearned to inspire young minds again. “While at Amazon, I wasn’t teaching seminary or college classes, and I missed the rush of seeing the lights go on in a student’s eyes after they mastered a concept,” Liljegren says. “When BYU Marriott was looking for teachers in accounting, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Since embarking on this new journey in the School of Accountancy, Liljegren has realized that the students here inspire him as much as he inspires them. “I enjoy the brilliance of our students and the talents that they bring to the classroom. Their talents allow us to excel,” Liljegren says.

In the classroom at BYU Marriott, Liljegren combines his experience teaching seminary and accounting. “Where else could I do the two things that I loved doing when I lived in Washington, DC, which was teaching the gospel and teaching accounting? Now at BYU I can do them both at the same time.”


Written by Jake Holt