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Thought I would share my CPA journey with my friends here on the forum in hopes that it helps someone keep going!
What would happen if you decided that no matter the circumstances – I AM NOT GIVING UP ON MY GOAL
When I was 18 years old, I had a life altering conversation with my mother. We were looking at a letter I received from my university requesting that I select and submit my decided major. My mother really wanted me to begin studying biology so that I could later go to medical school. I considered that option until they told me I needed to take summer classes. There was no way I would spend my summer in someone’s classroom or at least that’s what my mindset was back then. Besides, I had to work to help my mom pay the bills and take care of myself. Therefore, summer school was a no go. I told my mom there is no way I am going to medical school because I do not have the desire to be in school that long and I have no one to help me pay for it. The rest of that conversation went something like this:
Mom: Okay Nikita, what is it that you would like to do?
Nikita: I want to help people.
Nikita: I don’t know. Can we talk about this later? I’m going to be late for my shift.
Mom: Well, what are you good at and what do you like to do?
Nikita: I am good at counting money and I love math. I also like helping people.
Mom: Study accounting.
Nikita: What’s that?
Mom: Helping people count money! Yay! I am so excited! My baby is going to be a CPA.
After that conversation, I proceeded to run out of the door because I didn’t want to be late for my shift at Sears. I was a cashier at Sears for five years prior to starting my professional career. I am glad I worked during high school and college because it taught me the value of hard work.
Anyhow, that is where my journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) began. A conversation with my mom where she encouraged me to pursue my destiny. I had never heard anything about accounting or becoming a CPA prior to that conversation. In fact, I’d never met a CPA until I interned at Deloitte in 2012. I grew up on the Southside of Chicago, Englewood, in a single parent home.
After the decision was made, I learned everything I could about the accounting profession as well as the requirements to become a CPA. Then I set out to get started by taking 18 credit hours per semester while working 2-3 part-time jobs in college to meet the 150 credit hour requirement.
In 2013, I graduated with honors obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a minor in Finance. In 2014, I graduated with my Master of Business Administration degree concentrating in Accounting and Information Technology.
Lets just get to the point because I feel like I am going on and on. I studied off and on for about 4 years before I passed the CPA exams. It was difficult to study while working. It was even more difficult because I faced a lot of turmoil in my personal life and I had no financial support. I had no one to call when there was an emergency. I worked my face off to be where I am today.
The CPA exam is one of the most difficult professional exams to pass if not the most difficult. There are four sections you must take to pass: Financial, Regulation, Audit and Business. Each exam is four hours long. You have 18 months from the time you pass your first exam to pass all four exams. However, there are blackout months (March, June, September, and December) where there is no testing allowed. Plus, if you fail an exam you are not allowed to take that same exam in the same testing window.
Over the course of those 4 years, I’d taken the exams over twenty times before passing all four in the 18-month window. The exam changed in content and structure, so I had to update my study materials multiple times. Each time you sit for the exam it costs over $200. The materials can range anywhere from $1,000 – $4,000. If I could estimate the cost between materials and exams I would say I spent nearly $12,000. During that time, I spent working and studying, I often found myself mentally exhausted and burnt out by the entire process. I had given up thousands of times in my mind but never stopped studying. I am not sure why this exam was so difficult for me. I could say that test taking wasn’t my strong point. I could say that the cost was astronomical for someone trying to escape the grips of poverty. I could even discuss the pain of having several exams expire on me. Yet, I am not sure that any of that matters.
It wasn’t until that last year of all my studying that it finally paid off. I’m finally a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)!!! Mommy we did it again! I know your proud of me! Lil nappy headed girl from a single parent home on the Southside of Chicago (Englewood)! I’ve made Black History again! First in my family to have an MBA and now the first CPA in the family! I remember reading in an article that less than 3% of CPAs are African American and that there are more African American pilots than there are CPAs. God thank you for not allowing me to give up on my dream! What I hope you remember is not to give up on your goals. I couldn’t afford books in my first semester of freshman year, yet I still got straight As. When you want something bad enough you will go get it. Something else I learned in this process is that I AM ENOUGH. I don’t need another alcalde, degree, or title to be amazing. I am amazing in my own right because of who I am and who I was created to be. I AM ENOUGH! I hope you know that you are too.
God Help Me!
AUD 77 - Expires 4/3/16, BEC - Retake July 2015, FAR - AUG 2015, REG - Retake Oct 2015
Using Becker and Ninja
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