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Meet Grzegorz Wiktor ‘14, Accounting
Meet Grzegorz Wiktor ‘14, Accounting

On April 13, PSU Accounting Alumni ‘14 Grzegorz Wiktor was recognized by the American Institute for CPAs (AICPA) as a winner of the 2015 Elijah Watt Sells Award.

The award is given to CPA candidates who have obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, passed all four sections of the examination on their first attempt and completed testing in 2015. A total of 93,742 individuals sat for the Examination in 2015, with 75 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

Grzegorz was born in Poland and immigrated to Portland with his parents at the age of five. After finishing high school, he moved back to Poland to pursue his undergraduate degree. Upon graduation, Grzegorz relocated back to Portland with the goal of becoming a CPA.

Grzegorz has always been interested in how businesses operate, especially from a financial perspective. He took his first accounting classes in high school and loved it. The career possibilities with an accounting degree got him even more interested in this field. Dedication and hard work allowed Grzegorz to win one of the most recognized awards within the profession. It also led to a position as an Assurance Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) in Seattle, WA.

What are your responsibilities in your current position?

I am responsible for performing audits of private and public clients, including SOX controls and substantive testing. What I enjoy the most is working on relatively complex accounting issues and holding discussions amongst my co-workers and clients to come up with the most appropriate solution. Although it seems like I just joined PwC yesterday, the experience I have been provided has been tremendous including working on clients in the technology, financial services, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications industries. One of the most valuable benefits I received from my position is the development of my knowledge, experience, and relationships as a result of working alongside my co-workers and clients. I’m still amazed at how fast PwC is developing me as a professional.

Was it a big surprise for you to win the award or was it a goal since you began taking the CPA test?

I started studying and taking my CPA tests at the same time I started working at PwC, so winning this award was definitely not even a thought of mine when starting the CPA tests; especially when hearing about how hard the exams are. However, after getting back my first two test scores, I then set a goal for myself to win the award.

How do you think this award will impact your career?

Winning this award will increase my motivation to develop as a professional. I hope the award will also help me to pursue career opportunities in the future; although, nothing will replace hard work in making these opportunities come to life.

How has your accounting degree from Portland State School of Business helped you in your career?

I can’t speak more highly of PSU’s accounting program. Its curriculum and professors are the reason I won this award. PSU had a convenient night schedule of classes that allowed me to work during the day in order to provide for my family. The passion, knowledge, and experience of my professors at PSU developed me into an educated professional on a higher level. In addition, the structure of the accounting program motivated me to continue working full-time and take full-time night classes to obtain my degree.

Did you have any memorable professors or classes at PSU’s School of Business?

  • Intermediate Financial Accounting and Auditing with Professor Almer, who always took time to answer my questions, no matter how irrelevant they were for the program’s curriculum. 
  • Capstone Accounting course with Professor Layzell was the most challenging class, but one of my favorites. I loved Professor Layzell’s direct approach with his students. The career experiences and advice that he shared were invaluable. 
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting and Capstone Accounting course with Professor Eckroth, who often took time to have one-on-one conversations with me on a variety of topics e.g. accounting, career advice, economics. 
  • Tax courses with Professor Carr, whose ability to explain in simple terms and use real-life examples when teaching the IRS tax code was extremely helpful. 
  • Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Haley Holmes, my PSU academic advisor, for helping me tremendously at PSU.

What advice would you give to PSU accounting students, who will pursue a CPA?

Take the time to understand and learn in depth the accounting transactions in your financial accounting classes and your tax classes. Learn not only how to record these transactions, but take the time to think about why they are recorded as they are. There are so many rules, details, and numbers to memorize, so it is better to understand the underlying principles behind these transactions.

The knowledge gained in your financial accounting and tax classes is used directly in real-life and on your CPA exams, so my advice is to take the time in school, while you have it, to learn these things in depth, so when you start your career and take the CPA tests, most of the content will be just a refresher. This will also minimize your stress when studying for the tests and help you differentiate yourself when starting out your career.

What’s next for you – any additional certifications or education?

My goal is to continue to develop as a well-rounded professional, especially in today’s world, where to be successful you need to have a wide variety of skills and knowledge. 


 

>> Learn more about the Portland State undergraduate accounting program here.