Despite challenges, OSCPA member persevered to earn CPA

Written on Jul 09, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

It’s often said that the path to success isn’t a straight line, and Kozo Hongo found that out firsthand as he sat for the CPA exam.

“For some people the exam is easy, for others it’s not,” Hongo said.

Originally from Japan, Hongo first came to the United State in 1996 and majored in journalism at The Ohio State University. After graduating he worked for a Honda supplier in the sales department but started to consider other career paths.

“I thought accounting was probably a good career, especially for my job security,” he said. “And the CPA certification tells who I am.”

He returned to OSU in 2006 and graduated in 2008 with an accounting degree. After graduation he joined Deloitte in the auditing department and began studying for the exam.

Hongo said his two biggest hurdles in taking the exam were his age and the language barrier. He was in his mid-forties at the time and said the test’s wording could prove difficult.

He had almost passed all the sections except for Regulation when his 18-month window ran out, and he had to begin taking the sections over again. Despite the setback, Hongo knew he still wanted to earn his CPA.

“I just did not give up,” he said.

Eventually Hongo left Deloitte and returned to Japan when volunteers were needed in the tsunami-devastated region, but he continued to take sections of the exam. He eventually returned to the U.S. and passed in 2012, after about four years. After receiving his final score Hongo said he felt “so happy” and celebrated with his wife at a Japanese restaurant he said he had dreamed of trying for years.

Now he works as the assistant chief administrator of corporate accounting at TS Tech Americas, Inc., a global supplier of automobile seats and interiors and a Honda supplier.

“Accounting is not just running over numbers or reconciliation for me,” Hongo said. “It lets me explain business data.”

He said even if he isn’t in a traditional accounting role in the future, he plans to keep his license that he worked so hard to earn.

“I’m proud of that,” he said. “It’s a good memory that I did not give up on the CPA exam.”

Photo: Kozo Hongo joined Oregon Beach Cleaning Event in spring 2013 when debris from Japan arrived in the West Coast from the 2011 tsunami.

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