When you think about a ninja, what comes to mind? If you’ve grown up with ninjas in pop culture for the past few decades, you probably imagine a sinister character, clad in black and carrying a sword. Latter day cultural references notwithstanding, the historical ninja was not an evil assassin who killed for fun. They were ordinary people who developed certain skills in order to survive difficult times in feudal Japan. The Japanese character “nin” has many meanings, such as perseverance, endurance, and sufferance. While the historical ninja skills such as espionage, sabotage, and assassination are not applicable to the battle we’re fighting, we can adapt the discipline of the ninja to pass the CPA exam.
Ninjas do not always work alone. In the old days, in order to scale a wall, ninjas might carry each other on their backs or provide a human platform to assist an individual in reaching new heights. Today, a NINJA CPA gathers friends, coworkers, and classmates for study groups. If you are having trouble with a particular concept, perhaps a member of your study group has a better grasp on that concept, but needs help in an area that you excel in. The NINJA CPAs will combine forces to overcome obstacles. There's even a NINJA CPA forum on Another71!
The image of a ninja clad in all-black is prevalent in modern pop culture, but no historical evidence for that costume exists. Instead, the ninja was much more likely to be disguised as a civilian.
Call it superstition, but after failing my first attempt at BEC, I visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and bought a t-shirt with Rosie the Riveter on it and the slogan “We Can Do It!” I wore it to my next exam and passed FED with flying colors. That same t-shirt was with me when I passed REG, then BEC in my second sitting, and then FAR. The power of positive thinking is real. Whether it’s wearing lucky socks or carrying a lucky penny in your pocket, choose the armor you’ll wear in battle and you’ll be one step closer to NINJA CPA status.
The traditional ninja may have worn rope and grappling hooks tied to his belt. The NINJA CPA’s tool is the computer used to take the exam. The AICPA provides a free tutorial of the CPA Exam, designed to demonstrate the functionality of question types, tools, resources, and navigation found in the Uniform CPA navigation. The tutorial does not contain actual exam content, but it will familiarize you with the software you’ll be using. Get comfortable with it before you enter the testing center and that’s one less thing to worry about during the exam.
The traditional ninja used a variety of swords and daggers, but the katana was probably the ninja’s weapon of choice and was often carried on the back. Many hours were spent practicing with the katana in preparation for battle. The NINJA CPA’s weaponry is the exam study and review materials. The NINJA doesn’t go into battle unarmed, or with a weapon he or she is unfamiliar with, just as the NINJA CPA doesn’t go into the exam room without proper preparation with practice questions, simulations, and many hours of study time.
Feudal Japan may seem like a dusty lesson in a history book, but the NINJA CPA uses the ancient discipline for modern day success: tactics, equipment, tools, and weaponry.
Are you ready to become a NINJA?