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By G. Stevenson Smith, West Virginia University

[Editor's note: The AICPA marked the 100th anniversary of the first CPA licensing law, the issuance of the first CPA certificates, and the first CPA exam by selecting a series of short articles telling and interpreting some of the historic events of the early profession. The CPA Journal is publishing a number of these articles throughout 1996. This is the fifth article in the series.]

Maurice H. Stans was executive partner with Alexander Grant & Company from 1940 to 1955. He was president of the AICPA in 1954-1955; director of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget, 1958-1961; and Secretary of Commerce under President Nixon, 1969-1972. He was named to the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1968. He is on the board of directors of the Nixon Presidential Library and chairman of the Stans Foundation. The following is an edited description of his taped recollections that led to his certification as a CPA. The interview was collected as part of an oral history project.

In 1928, after Maurice (Maury) Stans had been with Alexander Grant & Company in Chicago for several months, he was sent to Philadelphia to help conduct an audit for the New York office of the firm. The audit involved a claim on a type of insurance which then was called "use and occupancy." A client's refinery had been destroyed, and the company was filing for the profits it would have made during the loss period. The two-member team projected financial figures and presented them to Lloyd's of London. Lloyd's approved the projections and settled the claim. With that success, Maury was asked to stay in New York.

Shortly thereafter, Grant, who was senior partner of the firm, came to New York to see how things were going. Pleased with what was being accomplished, he said to Maury, "Now the next thing for you, is to become a CPA. You're finished with your college subjects, you've got all the information you need, all you need is experience and to write the CPA examination." He said, "As a matter of fact, what we're interested in more than the CPA examination is membership in the AIA--American Institute of Accountants--because that's what we type up on our letterhead. If you pass the American Institute of Accountants' Examination, you'll become a junior partner in the next month."

The institute had a five-year experience requirement before they would bring anyone into membership, and Maury had about two years at that point, including time in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. So, he would have to wait two or three years to get the CPA certificate in New York. But he checked the New York CPA examination requirements and found that although you needed five years of experience, if you had a CPA certificate from another state, that would suffice. After checking, he found that Ohio had no residence or experience requirement. So, Maury registered for the exam in Ohio, New York, and with the American Institute--all to be taken within a period of 60 days. He sat for all of them and passed them all.

He called up Grant and said "I'm a member of the Institute, now." Grant said "How'd you do that?" Maury said, "I got it through New York." He asked "Well, don't they have an experience requirement?" Maury said "Sure, but I got that covered by Ohio." Grant thought Maury was crazy for sitting for and passing three different certification exams within 60 days. But, he became a partner.

To pass the exam, Maury had taken a four-month review course. Shortly after the course started, he was invited to a client's house for dinner. There he met a lovely young lady who was the daughter of the client's treasurer. Maury liked her. When the evening was over, they drove him to the Staten Island Ferry so he could get home. Maury squeezed her hand and asked if he could call her--he'd like to see her again. She gave him her phone number. Well, Maury didn't call her for almost four months--the length of the CPA review course. At the end of that time, he called. She was astonished to hear from him but intrigued that he had taken so long to call back, and she was interested that anyone would keep her phone number for four months. They began dating and later were married. He and his wife, Kathleen, were together for 51 years, and Maury attributes a portion of that success to studying for the CPA examination. *

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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