My CPA Exam Story – Jeff Elliott, CPA

(Scroll down for Free CPA Notes)

jeff elliott cpa

“Few people are more familiar with the stresses of exam prep than Jeff Elliott, licensed CPA and the face behind” – Wiley CPA Review

Hate the CPA Exam? I Did Too.

Do you ever feel like no one “gets” how hard it is to study for the CPA Exam and balance all of life's other demands?

Have you ever dreaded telling a boss/spouse/father/nosy co-worker that you failed yet again?

Are you sick and tired of the CPA Exam and ready to either pass this thing or quit?

If you answered “YES” to any of these, My Story might resonate with you.

Family & Background

Busy? I can relate 😀

I am Jeff Elliott, CPA, creator of Another71 (this site) and NINJA CPA Review.

I am surrounded by an awesome team of NINJA Dan, NINJA Bobby, NINJA Mike, and numerous NINJAs behind the scenes who make everything happen.

More importantly, I am married with ten children.

Yes – they're all with my wife (after 22 years, we still got it!) 😀

Yes – we get weird/judgmental looks in restaurants (especially when the 3-year-old is melting down).

Yes – our life is blessedly chaotic at times (we would be a reality show disaster).

I passed the CPA Exam when I was 30 and had “only” three kids at home at the time:

Two kids under the age of 5 and a newborn baby.

I know what it's like to study for the CPA Exam while trying to balance…

…a full-time job…
…a marriage…
…a family…
…church commitments…
…a mortgage…
…little league…

Whatever your circumstances, I can probably identify with them.

Newborn? Yep.

Three-year-old that's into everything? Check.

Six-year-old that spray-painted the garage floor? Yes.

Teenagers going through the “teenage years” (and driving/wrecking things)? Absolutely.

Kids in college? Affirmative.

I'm doing all of these parenting stages all at once 🙂

I was once in your shoes, however.

I began my long (too long) journey toward the CPA designation in late 2005.

I wanted to be a CPA, but I didn't really want to be a CPA enough to study like I needed to.

I wasn't fully committed to studying (who wants to go home and study after a full day of public accounting?), and I would try to “cram” for two weeks before my exam and was coming up short.

Maybe you can relate?

Everything changed, however, in February 2008.

I said “enough is enough” and created a new approach, which I would later dub “N.I.N.J.A.” Then I passed all four sections of the CPA Exam by the end of the year – each exam on my next attempt.

In 2008, I was a desperate CPA Candidate on the verge of throwing in the towel.

ninja cpa review
Struggling? Ask Jeff.

My CPA Exam Scores:
FAR 4x (70,71,76*,76)
BEC 4x (71,71,71,80)
REG 4x (69,74,74, 92)
AUD 2x (69,79)
AICPA Ethics (89,92)
* = I lost my credit due to the “18-month rule”

By the way, did you catch that I scored back-to-back 74s on REG?

It was brutal.

It also cost me my FAR credit.

Today, I am a Licensed CPA (KS) and an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

If you're struggling with the CPA Exam, this site is for you.

Lost Credit? Been there.

74? Been there twice.

Think the AICPA personally hates you? Been there as well.

Right now, you might find yourself in similar shoes – a desperate CPA Candidate on the verge of throwing in the towel.

There was hope for me, and there's certainly hope for you.

If you stick with it and follow my NINJA Study Framework, you'll be adding those three letters after your name faster than you can say “HIYA.”

If you're already finding success with the CPA Exam, this site is still for you.

Maybe you find yourself in the enviable territory of kicking butt and taking names on the CPA Exam. This site is for you as well. You're firmly on the path to passing, and I can help you get there a little faster, and you can taste freedom a little earlier. Imagine extra months of doing whatever you want instead of having to study.

Have a CPA Study Question? Ask Me.

Work Experience and Education

Education: Undergraduate degree in Accounting from Kansas State University and some graduate classes (for my 150 hours).

Work Experience: I've been in the accounting profession since 2001 and have worked in public accounting (two tax seasons were enough for me), private accounting, and industry for two public SEC Registrants.

I've been self-employed (i.e., it's always “busy” season) 🙂 and running and helping people Pass the CPA Exam full-time since 2010.

I don't do taxes (except for my sweet mother-in-law).

I don't have accounting or audit clients.

The “CPA Exam” is all I do, and it's been that way for 12+ years (that's a lot of score releases, btw) 😀

Licenses: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Kansas since 2009

Memberships: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) & NINJA CPA Review (2008 – Present)

“Why We Chose It (Best Price): NINJA CPA Review works nicely as an inexpensive supplement to an online course. This is an efficient studying tool that can be used as your main course but serves best as an auxiliary study aid with an excellent online support community.”

– Investopedia, Best CPA Prep Courses of 2023

In 2008, when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I started a blog.

This was pre-social media, and some blog posts had 3,000+ comments.

In 2009, I added the CPA Exam Forum with 600,000+ posts, so there's something for everyone.

In 2010, I left my job in industry (and health benefits!) to do Another71/NINJA full-time and have been 100% self-employed, doing only CPA Review since.

In 2011, I launched the Another71 Podcast, the first CPA Exam podcast on any platform. I also launched NINJA CPA Review with the NINJA Notes (Free Download below) and NINJA Audio, which quickly became the #1 CPA Exam Supplement in all of CPA Exam Land.

In 2014, NINJA offered NINJA Book and NINJA MCQ, making NINJA a supplement and a full CPA Review course.

In 2016, NINJA had its first of many Elijah Watt Sells Award winners who used NINJA. Whenever the winners are announced each year, there are always several NINJAs.

In 2018, NINJA disrupted the CPA Review industry again with our $67 Monthly plan. It's like financing but without the commitment. (Other companies have tried to copy it but can't let go of the commitment part) 😀

In 2020, NINJA added live CPA Exam tutoring four nights a week (NINJA Sparring) with full replay access if you missed the live session.

(See – something good came out of 2020).

We also released our new NINJA Flashcard interface.

In 2021, we added the NINJA CRAM, which, like the NINJA Notes, has become popular as a final review before Exam Day.

Our NINJA CPA Alumni were specifically asking for two things:

  1. NINJA CMA Review Course
  2. NINJA CPE (Continuing Professional Education – the fun stuff you have to do once you get your CPA license)

In 2022, we launched NINJA CMA & NINJA CPE.

In 2024 and beyond? We're open to suggestions (other than the CFA®) 😀

In closing, thank you for visiting and reading My Story!

As you can see, God/Jesus has blessed me immensely.


To Your Success,

Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)

NINJA CPA | Another71

Free CPA Notes


Download a full chapter of NINJA Notes from each Exam.

NINJA Notes are the #1 CPA Exam Notes for a reason.

It's as simple as:

  1. Study the Notes
  2. Re-Write the Notes
  3. Pass & Enjoy Your Life

The NINJA Notes are built on the N.I.N.J.A. Framework:

  1. Nail the Concepts
  2. Intense Notes
  3. Non-Stop MCQ
  4. Just Re-Write Your Notes
  5. All Comes Together

Integrate the NINJA Notes into your CPA Study Plan, and read them as often as possible before your exam.