Bryan Avery has accomplished what only a few hundred others have done in the last 90 years.
Avery graduated from Grand Valley in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, and, like most in the field, he took the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam shortly after.
The CPA exam focuses mainly on accounting but also touches on economics, finance, and information technology. Avery not only passed the exam, which he said is a hurdle in itself, but he received the Elijah Watt Sells Award that recognizes individuals who score highest.
The award program was established in 1923 by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA exam. The Sells program recognizes candidates who receive an average score of 95.75 or higher across all four sections of the exam and pass all four sections on their first attempt.
Avery was one of 19 individuals out of a pool of more than 100,000 candidates who met the criteria on the exam in 2010.
Avery said the habits he formed during his time at Grand Valley prepared him to excel on both the CPA exam and in the industry. “It seems like one of the most important things you can come out of college with, outside of what you’ve learned, is a stronger work ethic,” said Avery. “The courses and the professors I had at Grand Valley were challenging enough that you had to work at it if you wanted to do well.”
Avery obtained his master’s degree in accounting from Grand Valley in 2011 and currently works in the tax department at Bader Martin in Seattle.
Avery plans to eventually become a partner, with a focus on high net-worth clients and personal wealth planning, something that will allow him draw on his interests in both accounting and finance.