John Wurm

AU grad John Wurm credits his professors for passing the CPA exam, internship success

Published on March 27, 2023
College of Business and Economics

John Wurm said he probably wouldn’t have passed all four parts of the CPA exam on his first try without the help of one of his Ashland University accounting instructors, Timothy Hinkel.

“He went out of his way on many occasions to help me succeed long after I had graduated AU,” said Wurm, a December 2021 AU grad. “One out of every five test-takers will pass four parts of the CPA exam on their first attempt. In order to obtain your CPA license, you must pass all four parts in 18 months. I passed all four parts, first try, in seven months and scored an 88% or better.

“This would have not been possible without the help from Dr. Hinkel,” added Wurm, who is now interning at Barnes Wendling CPAs Inc. of Cleveland.

Because it has only a 40% pass rate nationally, Hinkel said he offers his students help with the CPA exam after they have graduated.

Even before he helped him with the CPA exam, Hinkel said he had confidence that Wurm would do well on it with the way he conducted himself in his classes.

“John was the ideal student,” Hinkel said. “He was careful and diligent with every assignment and exam. I always knew I would be getting his best effort. John also had the rare quality of being a very serious student as well, treating his education like a job.”

Wurm has been treating his time with Barnes Wendling more as a job than an internship, too.

Not only did he complete one internship with the Cleveland firm in 2022 from January to April, but he returned for a second one that started this January and will run through mid-April.

“The two main goals of doing another internship is to fulfill my 2,000-hour CPA license work experience requirement and to gain accounting and tax knowledge to apply to my family’s manufacturing company when I begin full-time work there this summer,” he said.

The plan is for Wurm to be the full-time CPA for both of his family’s businesses in Ohio – Wurm’s Woodworking Co. in New Washington and Creative Plastics International in Jackson Center.

Emily Buffa, human resources senior manager with Barnes Wendling, said the company is happy to have Wurm back for a second internship. The company’s Cleveland Intern Spotlight highlighted him in January.

Through AU’s Meet the Accountant Night, Wurm found out about the internship, which usually has about eight interns during the busy tax season and two to four during the summer months, as well as one or two AU students each year.

Wurm, a Buckeye Central High School graduate, said he first chose AU because it allowed him to transfer his CollegeNOW-North Central State College degree to its business school and obtain his bachelor’s degree fairly quickly and also take some MBA classes from AU professional instructor Sue Mullen.

Mullen’s background in public accounting allows her to gear her classes toward real-world experience, which Wurm said have been really helpful with his internship and working toward his career goals.

“The experience that John is getting will certainly be an enormous help to his future endeavors, whatever path he chooses,” Mullen said. “Barnes Wendling is an outstanding firm with a focus on supporting the development of their employees. I am certain that John is making the most of his internship similar to what he did while a student at AU.”