The names of those who passed the difficult CPA examination (essay format) for 2014 were announced in November last year, bringing attention to the youngest student who passed in Chuo University history. Ryo Ito (Accounting Department, Faculty of Commerce) from Gifu Commercial and Business High School, at 18 years and 11 months rewrote the previous record set by a second year student. His achievement of passing the traditional CPA examination marks the start of a new page in school history.
It’s there. Number 206972
This year, 87 students from Chuo passed the exam, marking 7 more from the previous year. There were 75 students who attended the on-campus Institute of Accounting Research, which boasts a prominent history and results (data from Institute of Accounting Research independent survey and CPA Hakumon Society survey).
One of the students from the Chuo Accounting School was Ito. He went to the Kasumigaseki government district in downtown Tokyo on the day the results were announced. His registration number 206972 was displayed at the Financial Services Agency. A friend found it first and Ito confirmed it. He took a photo of the result board and sent it to his mother. He also sent it to his teacher at Gifu Commercial and Business High School who is a Chuo graduate, and also to his friends.
“I remember I couldn’t stop talking on the train ride home. I was very excited.” Hard work really paid off and Ito was able to pass the exam. His excitement showed through. He celebrated that night at a barbecue restaurant near Chuo University with seniors who had also passed the exam.
This year there were 1102 people who passed the CPA exam nationwide (passing rate of 10.1%), with only a small number of 12 (1.1% of the total), including first year university students, who were under 20 years of age. On top of the fact that passing the exam was extremely difficult, it was even harder for minors to pass. Ito didn’t have a strong desire to pass the exam as the youngest Chuo student. The result came as a surprise.
High School Days
Ito chose to enter Gifu Commercial and Business High School in order to expand his chances of acquiring various qualifications. He also felt an attachment for the school as his sister had also attended there. He entered the bookkeeping club, one of the best in the country, and as a first year student passed 1st grade of the Official Business Skill Test in Book-keeping. At an early stage, he had passed a difficult test.
What should he do in the future? After talking with the bookkeeping club supervisor, he became interested in the idea of becoming a certified public accountant.
“I didn’t know much about it, but after discussing with my teacher I became interested in the job. Who knew it would be my future dream? It was the first time I became aware of certified public accountants.”
While a second year student, he took two of the five subjects required to pass the Licensed Tax Accountant Exam (bookkeeping theory and financial statement theory). In his third year, he went for the CPA exam.
On weekdays from 3:30pm to 6:30pm and Saturdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Ito was busy engaged in the school’s club activities too. The high school set goals of being “Japan’s top school for commerce education, Japan’s top school for club activities, and producing the top rate in Japan for university advancement”. Ito worked very hard to accomplish the goals.
Research Building “Honoo-no-Tou”
Student Research Building “Honoo-no-Tou”
At the beginning of the year after deciding on entering Chuo University, Ito visited the Tama Campus with about 10 classmates who had the same intention through a high school and university cooperation program. Astonished with the high-level education and research, complete facilities, the size of the campus, and the beautiful greenery, he pushed open the thick, heavy doors of the Student Research Building, “Honoo-no-Tou”, near the Faculty of Economics building.
He sensed it was truly a place to concentrate and study. He was guided to a room with about 200 seats. He had heard about it from his seniors, but this was the first time to see it with his own eyes. All of a sudden he felt a rush of enthusiasm. After entering university he began studying in this Research Building.
Ito would arrive at 8am, and study until around 11pm before the exam period. He entered the campus when the gates opened, and would study hard until close to closing. Drinking coffee to stay awake, his friends from high school encouraged each other. He went back to his single apartment room only to get sleep.
No Discipline, No Freedom!
Ito took the 2014 Certified Public Accountant Examination (essay type) at the end of August last year. As a part of the preparation scheme, he stayed at a hotel near Waseda University, one of the 11 exam centers nationwide, from three days before the exam. Even so, he told himself that taking the test this time would be enough of a challenge.
When asked what was the key to passing the exam, Ito replied, “I drew up my own curriculum and managed it myself. My motivation increased.” In contrast to his energetic high school teacher, he was successful in an atmosphere where, for better or worse, how the 24 hours of a day were used up to the student. If you had no discipline, there was no freedom.
The average age of successful test takers (for 2014) was 26.8 years. “I still have three years of student life ahead of me.” About his future, Ito said “Since I had only been studying, I was in a narrow world. I want to broaden my experiences and study overseas.”
His eyes opened wide.
【What is a Certified Public Accountant?】
This qualification enables one to provide inspection verifications, which are legally required by various corporations and consulting regarding financial affairs about inspection and verification of financial statements. A national qualification on the same difficulty level as the National Bar Examination (from Chuo University Concept 2015).
【Message from high school and university senior Chiaki Takagi (Faculty of Commerce 4th year student)】
(Passed the CPA exam as a second year student, also a professional boxer) “Congratulations on becoming the youngest to pass the exam. I am so happy for you. I think that the benefit of passing at an early stage is, compared to those around you, that you can challenge many things and expand your options. I want you to take on many challenges and become even more active!”