The end of a journey – A new team of state-authorized public accountants has arrived

Anne Marie Berså
Esben Zøllner Olesen

It’s a fact. The path to becoming a state-authorized public accountant is not a “one size fits all” model. When you look beyond the shared relief and joy of the 9 Deloitte accountants who completed several years of wear and tear by passing their final exam at Børsen this November, their stories and experiences are very individual.

 

Everyone agrees. To become a state-authorized public accountant you must put in countless hours of hard work and face the dreaded exam at Børsen. It significantly raises the professional level and opens the door to new opportunities. It’s the proof of admission. But it’s also much more than that. For Jesper Elkjær, it has given him a whole new approach to working as an accountant.

 “So far, I’ve been primarily a compliance-focused auditor, looking at how we comply with the legislation and audit standards on various tasks. But I’ve become much better at seeing the tasks from the clients point of view and focusing more on what other services we can help with. For example, restructuring or process optimization. We’re trained to be “house doctors”. Our customers rely on us. What we say is heard and it has value to them. It matters.”

Jesper Elkjær emphasizes Deloitte’s internal course as an important positive factor in an otherwise professionally and personally challenging course. He also credits the support of the management team and the opportunity to prioritize studies during working hours.

“Deloitte has been good at saying that this must be a priority. And they’ve done a lot to support us. It’s still your own responsibility but it’s also good practice. You learn to live with the fact that something has to be prioritized less. And to take responsibility for it. Regardless of whether we felt ready for this, we’ve all been amazed at how much we’ve learned. So, people who are in doubt just have to dare anyway. The doubt is normal, but it won’t stop us.”

 

Even on the day of the exam, Jesper Elkjær found an extra source for preparing for a good performance in DeloitteHuset.

“It was a day where I could feel the nerves in my stomach as soon as I woke up. I put on some casual clothes and walked over to DeloitteHuset. It’s just a place I like to be, the atmosphere is friendly and informal. When you go over there and feel that you’ve been preparing for a long time and that you really know your stuff, you feel like you’re just going to another client meeting. Somehow, it became almost like an ordinary day at the office.”

Jesper Elkjær emphasizes that the nervousness is not the fault of the exam situation itself, but the risk of being asked a question that hits a blind spot. It’s the fear of failing and waiting half a year to try again. A situation that statistically is very likely.

Better people than you have failed

For Thomas Simoni Mortensen, the final exam is an extraordinary redemption. He’s relieved and grateful when he embraces the many joyful hugs from his girlfriend, family and colleagues. Finally! He has crossed the finish-line.

In the process to become a state-authorized public accountant, passing the exams is far from given. While accountants often specialize, the exams as a state-authorized public accountant require mastery of generalist knowledge. Therefore, many accountants are at risk of taking exams in a subject area where their practical experience is limited. It may be part of the explanation why the pass rates are significantly lower than in other educations. In the most recent A, B and C written exams, the pass rates on a national basis was respectively 65%, 57% and 67%.