Jordan Thomas, 2018 and 2019 graduate of our Accounting and Information Systems (ACIS) and Master of Accounting and Information Systems (MACIS) Programs, respectively, earned the 2019 Elijah Watts Sells Award.
This award is a prestigious award conferred by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to CPA Exam candidates meeting certain requirements. Per the AICPA, those requirements entail earning “a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the CPA Exam and pass[ing] all four sections of the CPA Exam on the first attempt.”
Jordan is currently a Tax Staff professional at Ernst & Young (EY). With several months between graduating from the MACIS Program and starting at EY, Jordan approached preparing for the CPA Exam as a continuation of being in college full-time. While she did not originally set out to achieve the Elijah Watt Sells award, Jordan’s goal was to pass all sections of the CPA Exam before beginning her job. After receiving a high score on the Financial Accounting & Reporting section, the first section of the CPA Exam she took, it occurred to her, “What if?” When asked for her study tips, Jordan had to admit that it was an arduous few months requiring true grit, but at the heart of it she relied on her tried and true study techniques. In general, it involved a lot of practice problems and reading. One thing she found particularly helpful was typing up the main points and supporting examples into a study guide. This put the information into her own words to best suit her learning style and required her to go through the information at a slower pace, ensuring she understood each topic. Jordan also never hesitated to utilize the resources available to her, including tapping into the review course helpline to ask technical questions, and even referencing notes from her classes at Virginia Tech to fill in the gaps.
As Jordan reflects on her time at Virginia Tech, she is sincerely grateful for the dedicated and passionate professors that made such a positive impact. She also attributes her success to the knowledge and technical foundation gained from her time in the Pamplin College of Business, and the opportunities and network available through Virginia Tech. Through the MACIS Program, she was able to gain increased exposure to unique accounting disciplines, such as multi-jurisdictional tax and governmental accounting that are part of the CPA Exam curriculum. While earning her Master’s degree, Jordan was a Teaching Assistant for the Principles of Accounting (financial) course. This opportunity to teach challenged her to look at information through different points of view and be creative in her problem-solving so that the material would strike a chord across a variety of learning styles. Although her professional career has just begun, she is excited for the journey that lies ahead. With the collective support system of her family, friends, and alma mater, Jordan feels well prepared and looks forward to the opportunities to come.
We are proud of Jordan and congratulate her on this outstanding accomplishment.