Wiley CPAexcel sat down with Jeff Elliott, CPA ninja and founder of the CPA Exam Review Web site Another71.com, to find out a few things about him. We wanted to know the man behind this highly popular CPA Exam review site and to learn how he got started in the CPA field.
CPAexcel: Jeff, what is it about CPA that grabbed your attention and gave you enough interest to want to pursue this as a career?
Jeff Elliott: I switched to the business school in college because engineering wasn’t for me. (Well, it was actually the dean that suggested that engineering wasn’t for me, but I like to think it was a mutual breakup.) I picked accounting because my grandfather got his accounting degree during the depression and he steered me in that direction. After graduating, I worked in public accounting and went to night school to get my 150 hours.
If you have an accounting degree, taking the CPA Exam should be a no-brainer. Sure, it will open more career doors, but more importantly, I think all accountants need to go through the mental hazing that is the CPA Exam score release process.
It’s like a rite of passage in the profession.
CPAexcel: What is your best piece of advice for students preparing to take the CPA exam?
Jeff Elliott: Throw your highlighters away. (Actually, mail them to me because I have a 4 year old daughter that likes to color with pretty florescent markers). Seriously, highlighting is a waste of time. Are you really going to go back through your book and read what you highlighted? No. You’re not. Nobody does. Instead, take notes. Buy a stack of legal pads and start writing. Carry your notes with you everywhere you go…and I mean everywhere.
CPAexcel: What is the most important lesson that being a CPA has taught you?
Jeff Elliott: After I passed, I experienced this phenomenon that my brain was in learning mode and wanted more. I mean, you study for a year or three (ahem) and you pass. You’re used to studying 20-ish hours a week, so now what? Playstation? I purchased an audible.com membership and averaged about a business book per month. Steve Jobs biography? I finished that beast in 2 weeks. Jim Collins? Listened to them all. Seth Godin? Yep.
Here’s the thing: most of your peers at work are not readers. If you want an edge in your career? Read books about successful businesses and successful people. I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say “you will be the same person you are 10 years from now, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
CPAexcel: Any exciting events happening on your Web site now or in the near future?
Jeff Elliott: There’s always something exciting going down at Another71, be it forum drama, server drama, or score release drama.
CPAexcel: If you were granted one super power, what would it be and why?
Jeff Elliott: Sarcasm. It’s a highly underrated super power. You have to use it responsibly, though. It can get any hero into trouble.
CPAexcel: What do you do in your free time to relax and get away from it all?
Jeff Elliott: I have six kids (on second thought, maybe I should change my super power to “teleport”?), so getting away looks different for me. I have a 450cc dirtbike that’s really loud and really fast. 15 minutes on it, and I’m good.
Thanks to Jeff Elliott for his time in responding to our inquiries. For more information or to follow Jeff on social media, check out his Web site @ Another71, find him on Twitter and connect with him on Facebook.