Each year, the AICPA awards the Elijah Watt Sells Award to CPA Exam test-takers who average a score of 95 or above across all exam sections.

This year, Austin Krug was one of the winners. Do you want to know his secret to passing with such a high score? We sat down with Austin to talk through his experience, and how Surgent CPA Review helped him like no other course could.

You can watch his video interview here or read his answers below.

YouTube video

1. Tell us about your CPA journey.

I graduated from college in December 2018 and started studying that January. At the same time, I also started working in audit at a public accounting firm. Studying for the CPA while going through busy season was definitely a challenge, but I worked with a great firm and a great team that recognized the importance of finishing the CPA. As a result, I tried to squeeze about 15 hours of studying in per week. If you’re graduating from college and going into public immediately afterward, I would definitely recommend talking with your future co-workers on how bad busy season is. At a medium-sized, regional firm, I was only working about 50 hours per week during busy season, which gave me time to study. If you’re going to a firm where the average is more in the 60s or 70s, then I wouldn’t plan on getting too much studying in during busy season.

2. Tell us about your experience with Surgent’s course.

I did a good bit of research on different CPA review courses before picking Surgent. I would say three things really attracted me to Surgent. The first was the bite-sized videos. Unlike some other review courses, the Surgent presenters are excellent at teaching the material in a reasonable amount of time, which results in video lengths varying between 2 to 25 minutes as opposed to other review courses that have 40 minutes or longer videos. The second was the ReadySCORE™ and adaptive learning, which complemented the videos and let me really focus in on my weak areas. Finally, Surgent was extremely reasonably priced while also providing a top-notch review course.

3. Would you recommend Surgent to a friend?

I would definitely recommend Surgent to a friend. Surgent brings together some of the best accounting minds in the profession to create an excellent review course.

4. What advice would you like you give current and future candidates?

Everyone starts the CPA journey at a different point. Everything from the quality of your accounting professors to whether or not you just “get” accounting influences how much you study and what scores you get. For everyone though, I think the most important thing is mindset. Some people joke about how CPA stands for “Can’t Pass Again”, and I don’t really like that mentality. Every person taking the CPA Exam has studied accounting for four plus years, and the CPA Exam is a capstone of that education.

On the other side, passing the CPA Exam and having a strong knowledge of accounting, auditing and tax is the cornerstone for any successful career in public accounting. If you think of the CPA as something divorced from both your college education and your future career, then you will probably dread studying, making it much more difficult to pass. On the other hand, if you view the CPA as an important professional benchmark that will give you the skills and knowledge to succeed as an accountant, I hope that you will dread studying a little less, and maybe even look forward to learning more and more about a profession you are about to enter.