People recently shared some of their memorable CPA Exam experiences with The Journal of Accountancy. Their memories sparked those of our own President, Phil Yaeger, who unexpectedly sat for the CPA exam in close proximity to a elephant.
How did this happen? Well, when Phil was taking the CPA Exam, many of the testing locations around the country were at convention centers, fairgrounds, and civic centers. Being in Baltimore meant taking his exams at the Baltimore Civic Center. The time he signed up to take the exam just happened to coincide with the circus coming to town. For Phil, this meant walking into one of the biggest tests of your life and being greeting with the sounds and smells of elephants right next door! Imagine sitting and focusing with one of the most distracting events in the world going on while you do your best to shape your future.
There are multiple instances of these distracting events from the location of the CPA Exam, to current events, and even other life changing factors happening at the same time.
Crazy CPA Exam Tales
Kurt W. Meisinger told the AICPA about sitting for the exam in 1987 when a proctor dropped off a note on his desk. At first, he didn't open it in fear of being accused of cheating, but the proctor came back and tapped on the note. Kurt opened it up to read that his wife was in labor! He finished up the section of the test he was on before driving to the hospital where his wife told him to go back and finish the last section at 1 pm. He went, following her orders, finished the test and rushed back to meet his daughter who'd been born at 1:15 pm. He later learned he had passed two of the four sections, and would only have to retake the other two.
Then there is Judy Reed who took the exam just outside Little Rock, Arkansas in November of 1992. When she signed up it wasn't known that a certain Little Rock resident who have won the Presidential Election the day before and the Democratic Party celebration and Press Conference where Bill Clinton would accept the Presidency. She recounts sitting in the hallway next to her husband, both of them surrounded by other CPA hopefuls when her husband got her attention and told her to look up. Ted Koppel was walking past with two security guards. Reed says they were the only two who noticed as everyone else was too focused on the task at hand to be looking up.
What elephants and stories like these have taught Phil, and what has helped shape his passion for helping students pass the exam, is knowing each person's route to becoming a CPA is going to be different. He passed with Dumbo as a neighbor and now knows there are new challenges this generation of CPA students are going through.
Right now the CPA Exam has changed to meet the market of CPA's. This initially worried some people with the idea that the already slow flowing pipeline of CPAs would become even slower, but what the video at the end of the AICPA article shows is how the new exam structure is merely making sure the CPAs produced by the exam meet the demand of the market. The idea is that this will attract a new type of CPA - one who is more than a good test taker but can retain and apply knowledge, which is what the market is looking for from the new generation of CPAs.