This is what I have worked so hard for my entire life: my Bachelors Degree of Science in Accounting, my AIPCA certificate, and my PICPA certificate. I plan on adding more to this wall, but its one hell of a great start.
Currently my bloggie video camera doesn’t want to charge, so I am typing an over due blog.
First on my agenda was letting everyone know 3rd quarter of 2012 has begun! Study hard, sit for the exam, and see results! Good luck and my the 75 be with you all!
Second on the agenda….I have some news…first it’s not so good, but then it gets real good. Last Monday, I received an email from my state board of accountancy that my validation of hours paperwork needed to be re-done. First, I freaked because I know I filled it out correctly. Second, I typed the fastest and most sincere email to my old firm asking them to please help. I also forwarded them the email from the state. I typed a letter, attached a print out of the email to the letter, and printed out the verification of hours form again. I wasn’t happy, but I got it done like a professional and crossed my fingers it was correct.
The next day, Tuesday, I checked my email during lunch and saw two emails from my old firm. The first email said this happens a lot and the state can be picky. The second email stated that after a conversation with the state they approved my hours. My old firm attached a letter from the partner validating my hours and that was good enough.
After I read and absorbed the email, I checked my state site. PA has a log-in site for checking on the status of your license. I have been checking it everyday for the past month and nothing has been changing. I sign in and look for the link to the virtual check list to see if the next step was completed in reviewing my application. I saw no link! I panicked….but then I saw it….the status changed from PENDING to ACTIVE and I saw a official number. I screeched in my cube at work and immediately took a picture on my phone and sent to to my whole family. Official as of 6/26/12 I am a CPA.
Today I officially received my certificate in the mail :-) It currently resides on my fridge at the moment, but soon it will sit up on my wall.
Now onto the topic that I was hoping to record…Top 5 Reasons to be a CPA
5. It’s a good paying job
4. Job security
3. A respectable job
2. Allows for personal growth and unlimited knowledge
1. Being your own boss
I will briefly give a reasoning and hope to record tomorrow night to give a better in-depth explanation.
5. Money isn’t the most important thing in the world, but being a CPA sometimes comes with a nice boost in salary. It’s good knowing you can pay off all the review material you had to buy while studying.
4. I am a prime example of job security. I have a BS in Accounting. I was in public for 3 years and decided to move into industry accounting. I was laid off 8 months later when the economy crashed in 2009. The housing market bubble popped and you know the rest. I was only unemployed for 2 months, which was a very quick turn around. I am grateful for my education and background in accounting. I was flexible enough and had the knowledge to find a job quickly in a bad job market.
3. An accountant isn’t your average bean counter. When I tell people I’m an accountant (now I can legally say CPA), there is a different beam in their eye. All of a sudden a conversation may turn into a conversation about taxes. Although I am not a tax expert, I do have enough knowledge to bring them up to speed on a topic. I always recommend finding a CPA that is a tax expert for more in-depth expertise. If the question isn’t tax related, I do get general business or accounting software questions. It’s also amazing how I am now held up to a different standard. I am expected to know topics and be current on them.
2. I love learning. Being a CPA means you have to continue your education and attend Continuing Professional Education (CPE) classes. I love the knowledge I am gaining and will be gaining as I grow in my career.
1. Isn’t the whole point of studying, passing your tests and getting the CPA to one day be your own boss! Well yes it is a dream of mine to one day run a successful company and make my own rules. If I can’t have my own business, I definitely want to help run and grow a successful company. Being a CPA will help me make that dream a reality.
Thank you for reading. I hope my camera is working later week.
Everyone enjoy the 4th of July and watch some fireworks. If you are reading outside the USA, enjoy your weekend.
A quick video on my passing score for BEC. I get a tad bit teary eyed, but its tears of happiness.
I will continue with my blog/vlog as I progress through the licensing process. I find that this step is a bit confusing and there needs to be an instruction manual. I will also continue because a CPA exam candidate and CPA always need guidance.
AHHHH, about 2 days until exam day. I have been practicing my weak areas and reading up on some cram notes. Tomorrow I will be completing at least 1 practice test, multiple practice TBS’s and reviewing more notes.
I seem to be consistently strong in taxes…I wonder why. I really do like taxes. Call me crazy, but I understand the IRC better than business law and UCC. Am I wierd for liking taxes. Everyone seems to hate taxes. What is your weakness in REG?
I also have to mail out my boyfriend’s tax payments and get our local taxes filed. That is my #1 priority tomorrow, in addition to studying.
I will keep up with exam tradition and watch a movie the night before the test. I find it helps me relax and lets the material sink in. Last time, I was reviewing notes with my breakfast. I don’t know if I will do that again. Do you recommend reviewing notes before entering an exam? What was your ritual/routine the night before or even hours before?
On exam day, I need to make sure I drink my coffee, eat a nice meal, and go to the bathroom before entering the room. You have the option to take a break between testlets, but I prefer not to leave at all. I highly recommend going straight through the exam. Every single precious minute counts. Once you get a focus and your scratch paper organized, the time flies fast.
Time for bed…I hope I can sleep. It is storming bad up here in PA. Night.
I am almost finished chapter 1 of Auditing. I find myself constantly writing down the types of auditor opinions. My past experience with this test is my one advantage. I remembering writing down key mnemonics as soon as I got settled at the Prometric testing center. It made some questions very easy to answer and kept my time management in check!
While doing the MCQs last night, I realized how one word in a sentence can make a world of a difference when it comes to context and selecting the right answer. There were a couple questions in which I found myself very confident in my answer, but found myself selecting the wrong one. I have to keep remembering this is why it’s called studying and practice, so that I don’t do that on the real test. I also began practicing the method of first looking at the root of the question. By concentrating on the root, I can immediately narrow down my selections. I always narrow my choices down to 2. You might think, there is no way I can always narrow my choice down to 2, but from all of my experience and taking 3 different courses, it is very common. Then, I finish reading the detail of the question and make my answer selection. Here is a “pro” tip, when I do get a wrong answer, I look at every answer’s explanation. I have found that some material is not printed in the book, but is in the software questions. For me, it is like an extra bonus and additional clues on what to look for when studying and reviewing.
I am still waiting to hear about my REG results, so in the mean time I have been following everyone and anyone NASBA or CPA related on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. That is when I came across this site, www.another71.com. One word, genius. This site is in my opinion, very comprehensive and thorough. The gentleman who runs it is has anything and everything a young aspiring CPA, like myself, needs in one spot! There are even review course discounts. I just hope I get my REG result in enough time to take advantage of some of the discounts.
I have also decided that every time I pass a part, I am getting a little present for myself as a reward. I really want a nice hand bag. So my goal is to sacrifice my time and life, pass this next part of the exam and reward myself with a pretty purse. I can be such a girl sometimes.
Note to self, I must complete my taxes! Back I go to my dungeon and immerse myself in the world of auditing….My master plan is to complete chapters 1 and 2 by this weekend, and complete a review test.
I have completed about an hour of the first class on AUD. I plan on making my Monday night all about finishing the first class on my handy dandy DVD and answering the MCQ’s. Then for the rest of the week, I will complete lecture #2. My goal is to begin a review test on Saturday. This is what I do to make sure I am staying on course and it helps beat the material into my head. I am still waiting on my results from my REG test, but I am staying positive.
This is a wonderful positive by taking the course on DVD’s. I can go at my own pace, and be in the comfort of my home. While this is a great positive, it can be a negative. Temptations such as the internet and television are always a click away. To keep me in focus, I have created a habit.
I usually begin my night by eating a quick dinner and heading straight to my office to study. I see no TV, I hear no TV. I have a date with my computer and my CPA software, nothing else, well except my boyfriend. I am determined and focused on completing this test. Tom also keeps me in focus if I hear the TV calling my name. I keep telling myself I can have a life after this test. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I do want TV, I will get 2 hrs done on my DVD’s and then eat dinner while watching a TV show. After the show, the TV goes off and I am back at my desk.
How do you prefer to study? In class instruction with live classes or at home with DVD’s?
My last post was a bit longer than I expected. I will aim to keep my blogs short for everyones attention span.
I am proud to say the first part I passed was FAR! It was the motivation I needed and I feel more professional to say the least. I am happy that I changed my course material and got multiple views on the material. That is what ultimately worked for me. In addition, I did not attend a live class. I self studied on a schedule from the comfort of my house. The course I took also had pre-made notes, graphs, and lectures unlike my previous course. I was so concerned about writing all of my notes, I wasn’t focused on the material. Then, when I would later review my notes, I would lose the flow of the lecture.
With this newfound motivation, I studied and took REG in January 2011. Currently, I am still waiting to hear my results. Due to the new CBT-e format, the scores are going to take longer to release until October 2011, the 4th testing window.
I have taken the exam in the CBT format and CBT-e format. To date, I am happy to have taken FAR before the IFRS implementation. I still don’t know which format is better, CBT or CBT-e. That maybe another blog posting.
I last left off with my gray period…
I completed my 4th and final class, paid for the NTS, scheduled the exam, and never sat. I left my NTS expire.
I blame no one but myself, but that is why I wanted to blog about my experience. At this time in my CPA process, I had started a new job. This job had a big commute and took away from my studying time. Unfortunately, I was later laid off from this position and spent the next 2 months searching for a new job. This is also why I ended my last post about NTS’s and scheduling. I had an unfortunate circumstance. For me this was very upsetting and not conducive to my studying. The one thing I was absolutely happy about from that experience was I didn’t pay for all 4 parts at once. I would have had too many activities on my plate. I would not have given this exam the focus it rightly deserves. I know some people thrive in that pressure and pass with no problem, but that is not my experience nor how I function.
I do like to report I am employed for almost 2 years now after being laid off. It was a time I might blog about later, but right now, its CPA exam time and I digress.
After I found job security, a place to live, and had steady finances, I decided to tackle the CPA exam again. I enrolled in the same program as before and hit the books hard again. I began where I last left off, FAR. This would be my second time taking the course, so I was very familiar with the instructor and material.
I received my NTS, set a date, and took the exam. The envelope came and this time it was a 62. At this moment, I was confused. Why did something I had such a passion for seem to be slipping away from me? After a serious talk with an old colleague and my boyfriend, I decided it wasn’t me but my review course.
I was taking this test for now 3 years, and it still baffled me as to why I couldn’t pass. I graduated college Summa Cum Laude with a 3.91, started a business club on campus, came back from a job loss, and gave up significant amounts of time with family and friends to achieve this ultimate goal in life, a CPA designation. What gives! I realized I only relied on one source for material this whole time. I wasn’t getting a fully rounded review course. I do not blame my instructor or the course material. My mind needed more information to fully understand the material I needed to know for this exam. (As previously noted, I will privately let you know the courses I have taken if inquiring minds need to know.)
After research and inquiry from fellow friends and colleagues, I settled on a new course, literally. I again toiled away for hours studying and practicing as instructed. I was soon ready to take the exam and then I had a personal emergency. I ended up in the ER and on the couch for 3 weeks in pain and unable to concentrate on studying. I was able to reschedule my FAR test. Again I will reiterate from an earlier post, I never paid for more than 2 tests on my NTS. I did pay for FAR and REG, but only scheduled FAR. To say the least, I was happy to reschedule my exam with out any fear hanging over my head.
I sat for FAR in November 2010. It was two weeks before Thanksgiving. I was ready for the holiday break and welcomed a short study break. To my surprise, I received the NASBA envelope 2 weeks later. I remember the exact placement of my furniture and who was in the room. I opened the envelope with shaky hands and screamed, literally screamed so loud my throat was sore for a good day, to see a 80! I PASSED.
My previous post, I have answered why a CPA. Now, I want to get to the point! That point being, I started this blog to begin logging my studies, vent my frustrations, ask questions, and offer any help to other fellow examiners.
If it helps anyone reading this rant, I began this process in 2007. Not very proud at this moment because it is now 2011. I haven’t been exactly dedicated the last 4 years to my studies, hence why I am still taking this exam!
I first studied for BEC. I thought fresh out of school BEC would be the easiest. I was wrong. My self studying didn’t get me very far. I got a 50. I was absolutely devastated. Regardless, I got back up on that horse, and enrolled in a review course. (NOTE: I won’t mention any review courses specifically, but if inquiring minds need to know you can ask me privately). I chose to do live classes for all 4 parts in an 8 month process. To say the least, it was a major shock and adjustment to my life that I wasn’t prepared for.
This time, I began with AUD. I made a schedule, stayed on task with all the homework assigned in class and practiced MCQs until my hand hurt. I sat for the exam and waited and waited and waited…did I mention I waited…yes it did feel like a century passed before I got that envelope in the mail. I held my breathe and opened a 74. While the AUD wait was going on, I moved on to class #2 BEC. I already was knee deep studying for BEC when that score came in the mail. I decided the just add AUD to the end of the list of sections still to take.
I sat for BEC and 2 weeks later began class #3 REG. I was half way through REG when I received a 68. This is what I call the gray period. At this point, I was mentally not even prepared to finish the rest of the course, but I did. I went to every class, even #4 FAR. I decided to add BEC to the end of the list, focus on the last class and pass “the most difficult” part first. That would give me the motivation I needed to pass a part, any part.
Before I end here and continue the drama in the next post, I want to outline how I scheduled my NTS’s. My first NTS for BEC, I only signed up for BEC. The second round, I signed up for AUD and BEC. I have only ever signed up for 2 tests at a time. For me personally, this is my preference. A NTS expires after 6 months. I didn’t want to spend the money then have an emergency that would prevent me from sitting. I consider that a waste of money.
To be continued in the next post.
Ok, so I think I am going to be learning as I move along with this blogging process. I am a quick learner, but it has been a long day and I feel I need to get a meaningful first post up on this thing.
You are probably wondering, why did you want to become a CPA…really WHY?! You aspire to be a bean counter! I got that reaction a lot during my 4 years of undergrad. So here is how it all began and why I decided to become a CPA.
My senior year of High School I took an Accounting course. I don’t exactly remember how or why, but I do remember I was absolutely hooked by my first marking period. I wasn’t even making journal entries or creating a chart of accounts. The first month of accounting was a brief overview of the accounting cycle. Then we began to learn the basics of accounting. Since I was 16, I always had a job as a waitress. Now I was beginning to understand why I had to do my job in a certain manner: punch a time clock, record my tips, balance my drawer, run a Z report, take inventory. It all made perfect sense.
As I was applying for college, on the application there is a spot where I had to choose a “school” to attend. Without hesitation, I always selected School of Business. Then as you get further into the acceptance process, along the line someone asked me, what’s your major? Again, without hesitation, I always answered Accounting. From my recollection, I was always an Accounting major in college. Only in my junior year did I have a brief moment and pondered Finance. I am happy, it was only a brief moment. My experience in high school and the support of my teacher, lead me on the path I am on today.
Freshman year was when I decided a CPA was my ultimate goal. My Financial and Managerial accounting professors were CPA’s and women! For me, there was no other compromise. I was in absolute awe of these professionals. They were respected and smart!
From a young age, I had a great thirst for knowledge, and the discipline to study. I was very fortunate to have the resources available to help me recognize my dreams. Now it is up to me to achieve the dream. I was given all the right tools, now its my turn to utilize them and make something.