You don't need an official proclamation to know that Maryland is a hotbed of accounting excellence, but we've got one anyway.

It comes courtesy of Mike Berryman. The 23-year-old CPA in Ernst & Young's Baltimore office is a winner of one of the AICPA's 2010 Elijah Watt Sells awards. The prestigious honor is given annually to the candidates with the 10 highest cumulative CPA exam scores in the nation.


“I'm really surprised and honored,” the Sykesville native said, and why not? No more than half of all candidates even passed any of the four sections of the exam during 2010. Simply passing the exam is a major accomplishment. A top 10 score? That's just downright awesome.

In Berryman's case, though, I don't think we should be surprised. The University of Maryland graduate has a pretty good head on his shoulders, especially when it comes to the state of the profession.

“Our profession is changing significantly, and I don't think that's ever going to stop,” he said. “What's going to make us successful going forward is our ability to be flexible and see opportunities in those changes.”

Sounds like he took some lessons from author Tim Sanders. “(A)lmost all of what you call 'bad news' in your life is really 'You're going to have to get busy and change' news,” Sanders told me recently. “That's really where the opportunities lie.”

Berryman is already strolling down that road. Wherever he ends up, he has a bright future ahead of him.

Congratulations, Mike. Maryland is proud of you.

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