‘We are the Champions’ by Queen blares from his headset as he steps into the examination room. It is the last track on Jonas Gjørup Larsen’s old mixtape from his handball days, which he listened to before a game to psych himself up. It seems fitting for the occasion.
Following two years of intense preparation, he’s made it to the final challenge. As the doors to Børsen’s old room swing open, he briefly puts Freddie Mercury’s victory anthem on pause as he greets the ‘wise men on the other side of the table,’ as he calls them.
Armed with critical questions, they test his knowledge to the utmost to knock him off-balance and ultimately assess whether Jonas Gjørup Larsen has what it takes to become a state-authorised public accountant.
One and a half hours later, he strides out of the room, arms held over his head. He passed. He has finally earned the right to call himself a ‘state-authorised public accountant’.
The best year ever
Jonas Gjørup Larsen is able to celebrate his new title together with 13 other colleagues who have also made it through the needle’s eye, and with a pass rate of 92.8 per cent, 2018 has been the best-ever examination year for Deloitte.
“There’s nothing else in my more than 20 years of education that I can compare it to. It’s so awesome,” says Jonas Gjørup Larsen.
Jakob Medard Frederiksen
Jonas G. Larsen
Mads Juul Hansen
Nikolaj Frausing Borch
Rasmus Grynderup Steffensen
Rune K. Nielsen
Tommy Schormand Johansen
Christina Nilsson is also among those who walked out of the examination room with her arms in the air. For her, it was a natural step in her career to see if she could pass the exam at the old Danish stock exchange. Even though she spent the past two summer holidays indoors buried in study books, she feels that all that work was worth it in the end.
“That feeling I got as I stepped out of the door was amazing. My family, friends and colleagues had all gathered at the same place to clap and support me. It’s an experience I can definitely recommend to future students,” she says.
“But the fact that I’ve passed and grown immensely as an accountant through this process is only one part of what makes it such a special experience. The other part is that you get to be part of a team that is in this together. In the last two weeks, we’ve been able to celebrate successfully completed examinations every day, and it just makes you even happier when you’ve taken the journey with others.”
Training, feedback and support from every corner
Peter Ørsøe agrees with Christina Nilsson. He recently left his old job to work at Deloitte, and this year he had to take two partial exams for the second and third time.
“Since I joined Deloitte, I’ve really felt a great deal of support for those of us about to take the exam. The entire mentality around how you support the process is on an entirely different level than I’d experienced before,” he says.
“I got time allocated to study for the exams alongside my work and also got a mentor assigned to me. But what impressed me the most was when I told my boss that I was now no longer available because I had to study for the exam. From that point on, no one called me or sent me an e-mail, and my colleagues all stepped up to take over for me. The support I got was amazing.””
Together with his colleagues, he has gone through a training programme with regular tests and counselling, both from internal accountants at Deloitte as well as external experts. In the summer holiday, they underwent internal mock exams with feedback from state-authorised public accountants who had recently passed the exam.
“The internal training was hugely motivating. I think it played an important role in ensuring that I and so many of my colleagues passed the exam,” says Peter Ørsøe.
Prepared for the future
Now that they have certificates proving that they are among the elite in their field, the new state-authorised public accountants are ready to take on new assignments in an audit industry that’s been undergoing dramatic change in recent years.
“There are a lot of changes happening in the audit industry, and I really want to be part of that,” says Jacob Medard Frederiksen, who usually works in Canada but travelled to Denmark to take the exam.
Based on his experiences in Canada, Jacob Medard Frederiksen concludes that the Danish audit industry is far ahead in the digital arena.
“I have no doubt that the industry’s going to look very different five years from now – if not already within three years – with all the automation taking place,” he says.
“I think auditing will increasingly become an on-going process that takes place in real-time. Robots and machines will take over the repetitive audit work while we accountants will work on more analytical matters and with greater volumes of data that require a broader understanding of the business,” he adds.
Performing such a role will require a high level of knowledge and expertise, he believes.
“I now feel that I can document that with my title as a state-authorised public accountant. In other words, I feel more prepared for the future.”