“Excellence does not stop once you become a topnotcher. You have to keep the flame burning once you start with your career.” (Realizations on being a topnotcher)
10 YEARS AGO
2007 was the year when SLU had the lowest recorded passing rate at 36% (196 passers out of 541 takers) for the period of 2007 to 2016. In spite of that, three Louisians topped the board exam ranking 1, 4 and 6. Moreover, 2007 had the least number of the overall/national passers and takers with 3,705 and 10,867, respectively.
JOURNEY TOWARDS SUCCESS
Randyl De Vera Tabajonda was one of the 257 Louisian takers during the May 2007 CPA Board Examination. He topped the board with a rating of 89.29%, landing in 6th place. He is from Pozorrubio, Pangasinan and is currently working as Manager – Technology Risk Consulting at KPMG based in London, United Kingdom.
He graduated 2nd Honorable Mention and Valedictorian during his elementary and high school, respectively. Afterwards, he finished Bachelor of Science in Commerce Major in Financial Management as Summa Cum Laude, and Bachelor of Science in Accountancy as Cum Laude, including Academic and Leadership Excellence award. He believes that SLU offers quality education and has an outstanding history in producing competent CPAs.
When asked about his biggest struggle in college, he answered, “Balancing academic and extracurricular activities like leadership programs and volunteering.” Despite this, he asserts that joining organizations bear benefits. Though his lowest grade in college was auditing theory, he considered this as a challenge and made it as his strength by holding two auditor positions in student organizations.
During his review, he also ranked 2nd in one of the mock boards at The Review School of Accountancy (ReSA). When board results were released, his mother was the first person to know that he topped the board exam. Furthermore, his motivation in life is his family and traveling around the world. One of the outright benefits of being a topnotcher that he could think of is on job opportunities. He said that when you’re a topnotcher, firms will come looking for you, instead of you looking for them. Among the seven CPA board exam subjects, he obtained his highest rating in Business Laws and Taxation while he obtained his lowest rating in Practical Accounting 2 (Advanced Accounting).
His professional titles and certifications include: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Auditor (CRISC), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), Master Project Manager (MPM), and Project Management Professional (PMP).
When tips on reviewing and studying were asked, he said, “Invest more time on a subject which you think you are not yet confident. If possible, read the subject at least three times. When I was reviewing for my CPA board, I used to: (1) Note the questions answered incorrectly at first try so it’s easy to come back to these tough questions before the actual exam; (2) Rewrite topics with greater emphasis in small index cards so it’s handy when I had spare time to familiarize myself with these topics; and (3) Take one day off per week for myself. Go somewhere else – travel, have coffee with friends, spend time with family.”
PIECES OF ADVICE
“Just a reality check: Competition in the real world is pretty tough nowadays. As early as now, focus not only on academic excellence but on leadership skills as well. Do your best to strike a balance between the two as you have to be well-equipped on both as you progress not only with your professional career but also with your personal development,” when asked about his advice to students.
On his message to the next CPA board exam takers, he expressed, “Do your best, but at the same time, don’t hesitate to ask help from God, from instructors, from reviewers, and from friends when you struggle whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. This journey will not be successful without the help of others. In return, thank these people after the CPA board.”
“Do what you think is right and just. At the end of the day, you are fully responsible and accountable for your actions.” (Saying in life)
Written by: Josiah De Guzman Bito
Digital Art by: Stephanie Dulay Sierra
Special thanks to Dana Ayesha Maiquez Santiago, Arianne Dalay-on, Jazel Kate Rillera Ramirez, and Rinette Ambrose Dizon Cura