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How a Homeless High School Dropout Became an Accountant

Remember the story of the 48-year-old woman who took 19 years to get her bachelor’s in accounting? This is sort of like that except today’s protagonist was the family black sheep, a high school dropout, and lived out of her car.

29-year-old Jennifer Brown dropped out of Clackamas High (OR) her freshman year, spent some months in a group home and alternative school and spent the next several years working crappy jobs, alternating between her then-boyfriend’s house and sleeping in her car. By the time she was 25, she was working at a grocery store and realized she loved keeping the store’s books.

At 25, she got married and quit her job at the grocery store to pursue her educational dreams, enrolling full-time at a community college in San Diego. It took her three semesters before she could take math classes for credit, being placed in remedial math classes until she could be caught up.

Through the support of tutors and professors, she managed to maintain a 4.0 for two semesters before the family moved to Portland to be with her husband’s father, who was dying of bone cancer. From there, she attended Clackamas and Mt. Hood community colleges and Clark College in Vancouver to put together the classes required to transfer to the University of Portland’s accounting program. She kept up a 3.9 GPA, nailing “As” in classes like business calculus, statistics and decision modeling.

Brown will graduate from the University of Portland on May 8th with a bachelor’s in business administration. From there, she’s off to the University of Southern California, presumably for her Masters in accounting. She’s interned at Deloitte and mentored high school students like herself, at risk of dropping out or otherwise veering off the path.

Eventually, she wants to earn a doctorate degree and be a forensic and fraud auditor for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Commence to calling her an underachiever in the comments, as is your wont, dear Going Concern readers.

As Oregon begins the college graduation season, nontraditional students take a bow [OregonLive]

Woman Realizes Her Dream of an Accounting Degree After 19 Years

Whenever you feel unmotivated to get your accounting degree or are concerned you’ve made an awful career decision, just think about this Iowa woman who worked 19 long, tedious-ass years to get her bachelor’s in accounting.

We’re totally OK with this woman being too busy to take the CPA exam, this is the ultimate excuse to be unable to get through the exam in 18 months. Bow to her greatness and insantly feel guilty for being greedy when it comes to compensation and slacking so hard on the job.

In 1992, a gallon of gas cost $1.13, Bill Clinton won the presidential election and Kathy Vitzthum took her first class at Iowa State University.

Vitzthum has taken about one class each and every semester since. For 40 semesters. Since Miley Cyrus was born. Since Charles and Diana split up. Since Ross Perot pulled out his charts and pointer on TV. Since the World Wide Web was in its infancy (and text only).

On May 7, the 48-year-old Vitzthum, who lives in Slater, graduates summa cum laude from Iowa State. She has achieved her goal — a bachelor’s degree in accounting — after juggling family and career with finals and papers for 19 years.

Now, we don’t judge as we all have our different career paths but while congratulating this woman for her epic accomplishment, it’s wise to point out that we don’t necessarily recommend this bundle of choices for just anyone. It’s easiest to go college, then pass the CPA exam or start work (it’s usually easiest to do the exam in-between school and starting work), then get married and/or have kids. You are welcome to do these in any order you like, we just wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t point this out.

I’m not sure what you all were doing in 1992 but I was in 6th grade. Think about that for a minute next time you hate your life and/or career decisions.

Strip Club Owner, Sans High School Diploma, Blames His Accountant for Tax Troubles

When you own a strip club there are certain things that you understand. Things like, knowing that there is large portion of the male species that will pay women to take off their clothes regardless of the fact that sex is not happening. And while this is going on, they’ll imbibe lots of booze. And eventually, they may get hungry and with the last sliver of will power they have left, pull themselves away to pay $5.99 for a prime rib buffet. AND since there’s no windows in the place these men will stay in your strip club and spend money until you throw them out or they’ve spent every last dime. Oh, and poles are imperative.

On the other hand, there are things that strip club owners are less savvy about. One of these things may be tax compliance. Accordingly, many proprietors find a local accountant, they swap services, everyone wins.


However, every once in awhile this traditional arrangement may run awry. Kevin Moury, owner of Kittens (NSFW), is suing his accountant, Michael Walsh, for negligence in preparing his returns that resulted in “criminal charges, penalties, costs, fines, loss of income, medical expenses, loss of life’s enjoyments, emotional distress and mental anguish.”

Okay, before we continue, we have to ask – “loss of life’s enjoyments” and “medical expenses” because of a CPA? Where do we draw the line people? Next thing you know, accountants will be blamed for the collapse of the entire financial system…

Anyhoo, Moury pleaded guilty in October to “federal charges of falsifying tax returns and failing to report substantial cash income.” He spent one night in jail, got nine months of house arrest and had to pay back taxes of $88k, etc. etc.

This all came up because Moury apparently thought it was a-okay to deposit money from various revenue streams like fining dancers for tardiness or bolting early, massages for customers, and Jell-O shots (you know, the usual stuff) and then not report it as income. Obviously the IRS was not cool with this, prosecutors threatened to go after his wife and daughters (all employees at Kittens, btw) and that got him to plead guilty.

As a result of his guilty plea, Moury lost a sweet $90k/year gig as a “superintendent of environmental management” (which sounds a lot like “boss of the garbage collectors” but whatevs) and this resulted in lost future earnings of $1.3 million, allegeth the lawsuit.

Regardless, this shit ain’t fair and the accountant needs to be held responsible (his attorney the allegations or “groundless”) and Moury’s attorney isn’t shying away from the stupidity defense:

The lawsuit claims Moury’s lack of formal education — he didn’t finish high school and has a high school equivalency certificate — led him to rely on Walsh to accurately report his income and prepare his tax returns.

“Mr. Moury gave his accountant anything and everything for his business, his real estate and the salary from his job with Methuen,” Cote said. “He signed the returns, but did he looked at them? No. Is he responsible? Yes.

Strip club owner blames accountant for his tax woes [Eagle-Tribune]