UWF graduate wins national accounting award

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

Every year, the American Institute of CPAs awards candidates who obtain a cumulative average score of at least 95.5 across all four sections of the CPA exam. Out of more than 90,000 participants, only 37 met the criteria for the Elijah Watt Sells Award, and University of West Florida (UWF) graduate Megan Wise, daughter of Tim and Renee’ Goodwin, was one of them.

Wise, who graduated from the accounting department in 2009, was understandably proud of her accomplishment and the recognition as a recipient of the prestigious national award.

“I knew I did well on the CPA exam, but I had no idea just how well until I was informed of the award,” said Wise. “It’s such a great feeling and I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without the dedication of my professors. All of my teachers were super helpful, knowledgeable and always there to assist me.”

Although she originally wanted to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals, Wise said she is quite content with her ultimate choice of a career in public accounting.

“My sister was looking at getting into accounting,” Wise explained. “I thought that sounded like a good career because it can be done in a public or private company. Any situation I might find myself in, it would work.”

Wise took many of her classes at the Emerald Coast campus in Ft. Walton Beach and online. She admitted that she would not have been able to attain her degree as efficiently as she did without this option.

“The fact that they offer classes on their other campuses and online was a major advantage,” said Wise. “That’s the only way I got through school—I received a majority of my education in Ft. Walton Beach and online.”

After taking all four elements of the CPA exam—financial, audit, tax and business—within six months, Wise said that although the tests were very challenging and broad, she felt her education and preparation at UWF helped her succeed.

Soon after, Wise accepted a position at the accounting firm Warren, Averett, O’Sullivan, Creel in Ft. Walton Beach.

“I want to move up over time and continue to strengthen my skills in public accounting in order to better serve our clients,” said Wise. “It’s very exciting work, as opposed to what many people may think about accounting. I work with the compilation of financial statements and payroll returns.”

Another UWF graduate, Colleen Asmus, previously won the award in 1981 and now works at the University.

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