banner image
P&A Grant Thornton Topnotchers

P&A Grant Thornton scholars top CPA exams

Top-ranked: Emmanuel Jerusalem (from left), Christian Dominic Amoncio and Ron Niño Loon.

THE pandemic may have stalled many of their plans, but it did not deter three of P&A Grant Thornton’s scholars from pursuing their dreams of being Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).

The firm’s scholars Emmanuel Jerusalem of Bicol, Christian Dominic Amoncio of Davao, and Ron Niño Loon of Cebu placed sixth, seventh, and ninth, respectively, in the CPA Licensure Examination (CPALE) held last May.

Part of its continuing support for accounting and audit professionals in the country, P&A Grant Thornton provided scholarship grants to the three CPA topnotchers. Under its “Go Beyond” campaign, P&A not only aids clients transcend industry standards through its audit and assurance, tax and compliance, advisory, as well as outsourcing and managed services; it also helps open new avenues for the growth of its people, which have grown to a thousand-strong, with 24 partners across its nationwide network.

The newly minted CPAs joined P&A Grant Thornton, one of the leading audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing firms in the country, as tax and audit associates across its different provincial offices. Amid an abundance of offers from other firms and private companies, they have chosen P&A mainly for the corporate culture they saw and feedback from peers.

“I’ve seen this culture at work as early as my student days. University partnerships show P&A Grant Thornton cares about students and their future in the industry,” relates Loon, who aspires to build an emergency fund, travel to various places, and expand his mother’s house from his own earnings. “Experience-wise, I know I’ll learn a lot from the firm.”

Behind their successful trek to the Top 10 of the CPA board exams, the three scholars each had to contend with their own personal struggles that almost scuttled the pursuit of their dreams.

Loon, for instance, postponed full-time studying for the CPA exams to work online as a financial-planning assistant.

“When you think of financial difficulties and just the overall pressure to perform well, the pandemic really had a strong effect on mental health,” said Loon, magna cum laude graduate of accountancy from University of San Carlos, who was solely supported by his mother.

This was also true in the case of Jerusalem who had to earn his keep as an online tutor after his father stopped working as a vendor due to quarantine restrictions.

For Amoncio, mental exhaustion creeped in after the exam got canceled twice in October 2020 and May 2021, as cancellation rumors started swirling again in late 2021 due to rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

“Being self-motivated personally helped me get through the challenges of [the pandemic by becoming] more productive and effective in my review and work,” said Amoncio, a summa cum laude from Ateneo de Davao University.

As auditors, “it’s crucial that we are able to adapt to new situations, like what recent lockdowns taught us,” Loon added.

It’s not just disruptions in health and mobility that the board topnotchers are anticipating in the field: In the age of automation, they also recognize technological disruptions and potential threats that artificial intelligence (AI), as well as other forms of digitization, pose to the profession.

For Jerusalem, a cum laude graduate of Bicol University in Daraga, Albay, the automation of mundane tasks and repetitive actions in accountancy is already well underway. Still, “accountants offer the ability to make informed decisions, which AI cannot,” he said.

Auditors remain relevant, as a person cannot fully automate problem solving and critical thinking, more so in ways they lend credibility and integrity to the financial reports of companies and organizations, said Amoncio, who highlighted the current need for ethical human pros in the industry amid robotic and digital tools, as well as processes.

In the coming years P&A Grant Thornton expects demand for digitalization from its clients to exponentially grow. This is where the three newly minted CPAs and board topnotchers can play a big role.

“By going beyond number crunching, we add more value to our clients’ businesses and become a force for social good,” said Jess Obana, senior managing consultant of the firm’s Advisory Services Division.

The national passing rate in the May 2022 exam was at 22.29 percent: a 7.01-percentage-point increase from October 2021’s 15.28 percent.


As published BusinessMirror, dated 02 July 2022

Copy text of article