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I started the journey of wanting a CPA designation back in 2006 when I went back and obtained my accounting hours and a BS in Accounting. I already had a BBA Finance and MBA and had worked in banks and investments. Was involved in an audit and thought it was interesting; so went back to do the accounting hours.
Worked for a small CPA firm for a little less than two years and then went into internal auditing and did some SOX auditing. Ended up at a credit union doing internal audit for two years and then was pulled into the accounting department and have been in that department for eleven years – a total of 13 years at the credit union total. When I was first hired there, I had two parts passed but then just felt like I was going to stay in internal auditing and would never ever need the CPA designation. I did obtain the CIA designation which in my opinion is the easiest thing I ever attempted. Once I moved over to the accounting department, I piddled at the exam over these last 11 years. Then, our CFO retired in February and my boss who was the Controller moved up and I followed right behind. So, I’m now the VP/Controller of a credit union with almost $6 billion in assets. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that if I’m even interested in the CFO position that without the CPA it won’t be open to me. I have NO desire to be a CFO. NONE. I have eight years left until I retire. I’m almost 57.
I’ve struggled with the exam over the years. Like I mentioned, I piddled around with it. Struggled to stay focused because work was always busy and my kids were young. My oldest finished her undergrad this May and my youngest will be starting his second year in college but effectively a junior because of AP and concurrent enrollment. My heart was just never in it. I wanted to do it to show my kids I could do it. But, honestly….I’d go home each night after a long day at work or soccer games, piano recitals, etc. etc. etc. And, along with being a Type II diabetic and having sleep apnea, I just didn’t have the drive to do it.
So, with the promotion to Controller, I’m satisfied currently with my position and place in my career and life. I decided to get off the crazy train for now. Will I change my mind in a few years? Maybe. I don’t think so. Who knows what life has in store for them? But, at my age and stage in my career, I just don’t see it.
I’ve enjoyed these forums and the things people share – especially the encouragement. If I could share one thing with others, it’s that you need to really think about what your motivation is for the designation. Realize and understand what the time commitment is. I’ve met so many young people right out of college who automatically say “I plan to get my CPA” but they don’t even realize what the requirements are to be qualified to even sit for the exam. I do always encourage them to do it while they are younger and have fewer life/family commitments. Can you do it when you’re older and have family? Heck yeah! Is it more difficult at that stage? Heck yeah! But, it isn’t impossible. You don’t have to have all the answers and have your whole life and career path planned out in front of you for the next 30 years. Learn to be flexible. But, more importantly, do what you really have a passion for.
I’ve rambled enough. But, I wish everyone who is on the crazy train much success. If you really want it, then keep on plugging away. Persistence seems to be a key part of passing.
Thanks to everyone who ever encouraged me while I was piddling / studying. It was always greatly appreciated!
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