March 28, 2018 at 9:59 am #1751141
I am aware that many people have written in this forum about their experiences in order to motivate others. I don’t think the forum needs one more motivational story from me. However, I would like to speak with you about the mindset during my preparation, perhaps some people might find it beneficial.
WARNING! This writing may reference religious phrases; thus, for those that this is not their cup of tea, please exit.
I am over 50 years of age and English Language is not my first language. I went to the wrong schools (i.e., not the BIG 4 Schools, rather to a Community College and a Third Tier State University). But I was a good student, nonetheless. My experience with Intermediate Account Classes was during summers, while I was doing my MBA in 2001 & 2002. Two summers, each consisting of 8 weeks –Intermediate I, and II plus other required classes.
I did not learn anything significantly important during these summers; I was going through the motion just to get the credit. I never thought I would ever sit for a CPA exam; therefore, I was not interested in learning the ropes of accounting. In fact, I was never taught JE in the States Universities, nor did I ever learn JE in my University years. I knew the simple equation of A = L + E, but I could not tell you the reason this equation exited. In short, I could not tell you how some items in the Income Statements affected the Balance Sheet. Put it simply, I was an educated idiot.
By 2013, I was already married and had two kids, and no stable job since I graduated from college.
Then I was appointed to be a treasurer of a nonprofit organization because of my degree. This was not a paid position. I found out quickly that I would be doing everything that was accounting and/or reporting. It became abundantly clear in a short period of time that the rest of the Board Members did not understand the requirements governing the nonprofit activities; they depended on me to guide them. At this point, it hit me hard that I had to learn something very quickly, otherwise the nonprofit would collapse. I started by reading the basic principles of Bookkeeping, while at the same time guiding the Board on management matters. Once I understood the concept of double entry bookkeeping, I bought a QuickBooks desktop version for the NonProfit organizations. I read everything that I could get my hands on about how to use Qbk. I became semi-literate using the software. Finally, we had software to track donations and manage the donors’ relation. Next, I had to learn to file the Forms that would allow IRS to issue a “Determination Letter”. This Form is called 1023. This was by far my greatest achievement at the time. While doing all of these, I was also preparing payroll for 15 fulltime and part time staff, on a monthly basis, and filing the quarterly Form 941 as well. Initially, I did not have any clue about what to do, or how to do them, but with the help of internet, I was able to learn fast.
With all the trouble that I went through and came out alive without making a fool of myself; I started thinking that perhaps I should crank this adventure up a little more. Then the crazy idea came to me…that perhaps I could sit for the CPA exam.
I researched all the available CPA review courses in the market and I decided to choose Yeager’s FAR course. The reason for purchasing this course was not to study and sit for the CPA Exam, but rather to actually learn the Immediate Accounting that I did not learn earlier during my school years. It took me 1.5 years to study the materials cover to cover.
After learning this material, I was still between jobs in my own personal life, but working very hard at the nonprofit; so at some point, I took time off from studying. When I was ready to get back into the game, this time as a CPA candidate, I bought the Gleim course premium package, “access until you pass”. Someone with my background would need this type of insurance policy.
I studied FAR with Gleim for about one year, then sat for the exam and I passed with a 76. The countdown to finish the exam without losing a credit was now in effect. Next, because I did not have that much of a background in Audit (I only had an Audit course in the same Community College during a summer when I was taking the Intermediate Accounting and doing my MBA), so I knew I had to devote a significant amount of time studying Audit material for the CPA exam. I studied for it for 6 months, and I came out with a 75 score.
Next, I prepped for REG, and I tried to beat the time table before AICPA switched to the 50/50 format. I studied for it for about 5 months. I failed it with a score of 72. In fact, it was a blessing that I failed it because the second time around, I really understood the material and I could speak on the subject with some intelligent.
Next, I set aside REG and studied for BEC for 5 months, and I got 78 score. I came back to REG which I had failed. At this point, FAR was due to expire on January 31st of 2018. I studied for this behemoth called REG from August 6th 2017 until January 22nd of 2018. The result came out on March 8th and I had a score of 85.
WHAT I LEARNED ON THIS JOURNEY
1) We are each blessed one way or another in our lives. Some people are blessed that they went to the right schools. Some were blessed that they had a mentor in their life. Some people were blessed with brain power. Some people were blessed with a great family. And, some people were blessed to get the right type of questions in their CPA exams (very few people I might say). Therefore, becoming a CPA or any other professional license is a blessing in a way. We have to accept the fact that we cannot all be Doctors, and neither can we all be CPAs. We have to look into our lives and appreciate those things with which we were blessed.
2) For the MAJORITY of the CPA candidates, this exam process will be gruesome , sickening, and revolting. The journey is grueling. Therefore, when someone posts a comment on this forum that seems to indicate he/she finished the 4 parts exams in 6 months, good for them. But do not compare yourself to them. They probably went to the right schools, or they probably were blessed with brain power that allowed them to understand these materials better and faster than the average Joe. Do not fall for the concept of studying 150 hrs and then believed you were prepared. You have to be honest with yourself about your ability. Compare yourself to yourself, and not to someone else. Ask yourself, am I making any progress? Evaluate yourself to determine if you are constantly learning new material that you did not understand before. If you answer YES to these questions, then you have been blessed, and you could be a CPA. You just need to give the CPA Process the RESPECTS that it deserved….i.e., working the Process harder than anything that you have ever done in your life.
3) I also believe that if you work very hard, God will not let you down. For the majority of the candidates this is an accurate statement. If you studied very hard, and you were able to comprehend and internalized the material, God will not let you down. But be warned!! Do not try to take a shortcut. Do not talk to yourself and convince yourself that you are studying harder, by comparing yourself to someone else who studied only for 3 weeks and passed. And, do not believe that the 3 weeks of studying by someone else should be a standard that is applicable to you too. Now, if you did everything correctly, and you still did not pass a single section, I believe that your blessings lie somewhere else and not in a CPA. It is possible that other blessings in your life are much more rewarding than being a CPA, which you have not yet reflected upon. I myself wanted to be a Computer Science Major. But I could never understand Visual Basics. I failed this class many times. I gave it everything that I got, but I could not understand it, so I moved on to Business Courses.
4) You must appeal to a higher power greater than you, if you are a believer. To me, I appealed to Allah. I supplicated to Him a lot. I sought for His guidance and strength. I understood that if I were blessed and be amongst those to be titled as a CPA, that this favor given to me was a covenant or trust between He and I. I prayed to Him to guide me, so I could handle the covenant in a manner that was pleasing to Him. I understood that I could never appear arrogance and look down upon others for they were never given this precious gift. And, I must be humble when wearing my new title. But most importantly, I must use this blessing, trust, or gift for a good cause also…such as giving back to the community.
Peace!!March 28, 2018 at 10:40 am #1751160sacpaParticipant
@TooOld or rather TooYoung: Hats off to you for passing all 4 sections! Most of all, your drive to learn the basics of Accounting & accomplish what you did at the non-profit organization is commendable.
I am 54 years young & still very much in this CPA journey in spite of having life coming in the way & other reasons. I also took all my Accounting classes online at a community college. Actually, I was the class tutor for a Financial Accounting class that I was taking at the same time. This was my very first exposure to Accounting ever in my life at the age of 45. Till this day, I am not sure how I pulled that off successfully. I understand that I need to change my approach & tackle the CPA exam with the same confidence & positive attitude I had when I started as an Accounting student.
Your story is very much motivating & inspiring & gives me lot of hope. Thank you so much for sharing!March 28, 2018 at 11:01 am #1751186BeccaParticipant
You have a wonderful attitude – the world needs more people like you. I applaud you for all of your hard work, resourcefulness, and determination! Congratulations on making it through this journey!!!!March 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm #1751270AnonymousInactive
Great post! You motivate me. Congrats on your accomplishments.March 29, 2018 at 12:35 pm #1751817
This is totally doable. Wow! Being able to tutor Financial Accounting must have been a great achievement, considering that you did not have background in the subject. Show these young men/women in this forum that we might be old, but we refused to be put out in a pasture 😀.
Good luck to all of you.
Peace!March 29, 2018 at 2:14 pm #1751880CPA4lifeParticipant
I am 51, and still very much in the game of finishing what I started over three (3) decades ago. This time, I added more schooling, which is not really required in my case but doing it anyway.
I recently signed up for 2-3years of full-time schooling, programs that will help me and my family, even during my retirement years. Also, I would like to make all my Accounting/Finance/Tax/CPA Exam Review Providers/Professors proud! LOL!
Seriously, am I excited? Yes, I am actually looking forward to it. Well, good luck to all of us, the 50s! Cheers!:)March 30, 2018 at 8:11 am #1752327AnonymousInactive
Thank you …. this helps me so much!March 30, 2018 at 8:41 am #1752344AnonymousInactive
Thank you this help so much !! I am almost 65. I was a VP Admin snd and accounting for16 years.I got comfortable with my position and salary. However the business sold and they closed the office in my area. I did not have a degree at the time but I was blessed with a Controller position. I was 58 at the time. I did however, get my accounting degree online with Liberty University while working fulltime. Well in Nov.I was let go, along with 7 others because business had gone down 60% in one year. I just took another job, actually feeling like I'm going backwards. I even turned down a job as a Controller because they expected me to be available at anytime. It was a hotel. The job that I took is with a large company with a very large accounting department. I'm the GL Supervisor. I had been thinking about getting my CPA, but wonder if it is really worth . I had actually started my own accounting business in 2011 but haven't done a whole lot with it because of working and school. It will be long time before I will be able to retire. Has anyone heard of anyone this age taking the exam?March 30, 2018 at 9:33 am #1752374AnonymousInactive
This is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.March 30, 2018 at 10:24 am #1752417PopcornParticipant
Great post!March 30, 2018 at 7:54 pm #1752834AnonymousInactive
@Jeanette, I am 58 years old. I went back to school in the evenings at age 55. Finished the program in May of 2017. I have passed BEC and AUD. You can do this!! Your real-life experience will help you understand concepts that the 20-somethings struggle with. We are rooting for you.!March 31, 2018 at 12:53 am #1752924sacpaParticipant
@TooYoung: Feels so wrong to address you as TooOld. Thank you for your kind words & encouragement. This is your post & I didn't mean to take credit by blowing my trumpet. My point was that I started out strong not even thinking about whether I can do it. Now I feel so overwhelmed with life coming in the way & self doubts setting in. But I refuse to give up.
@Cynthia: Wow, I say! And I thought I was the oldest one hanging on to this forum. Kudos to you for your drive & motivation! Congrats for passing BEC & AUD! You have just proved that age is just a number.
@Jeanette: There you go! Cynthia has provided an answer to your question. Let's rock & pass these exams!
@MrsEarlaRiopel: What enthusiasm! I am getting so motivated all over again reading all your posts. Let's make everyone proud of our success in getting degrees &/or passing all 4 sections! We can do it!March 31, 2018 at 9:18 am #1753020
I am very proud of you that you have already passed Audit. Apply the same determination that allowed to pass Audit to the rest of the remaining parts, and you will see nothing but great success in your journey. Go get them!!!!March 31, 2018 at 9:45 am #1753032
Yes, you can do this. As @Cynthia alluded in her post above, I strongly believe in the points she made. From my experience, I did not believe I could have passed the exams if I had taken them in my early years. My life experiences contributed to my better understanding of the exam topics. In addition, I actually found myself to be sharper, and more alert (intelligence wise) in my 50s than I was in my 20s,30s,and 40s. This is the sharpest I have ever been in my entire life. Please, don't allow the age factor to whisper into your mind; it is nothing but a distraction.
Good luck to you, and we will be cheering for you along the way.
Peace!April 1, 2018 at 2:28 am #1753367CPATooleTimeParticipant
Thank you all for posting. I am 50 years old. I finished my MAFM in 2013 and paid for all 4 exams in 1 NTS. The over achiever in me didn't see this as a problem. My mother came down with pneumonia and after a 4 month battle, didn't make it. My first exam was 7/13 REG – 68. Mom passed OCT 16. I had been trying to study while still caring for her. After she passed, I was running out of time, so I scheduled my 3 remaining exams to be taken within a 4 week period. AUD – 47, BEC – 60, and a week later, FAR was a dismal 30 due to walking in with zero studying.
After she passed, my train derailed for awhile. I moved from Atl to ABQ to Louisiana to Kansas and now back to Atlanta where I started. It has been almost 5 years. I finally feel like I can pick up where I left off. I am going for FAR first this time and will test May 18.
I enjoy the community here.
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