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The Certified Public Accountant, or CPA for short, is an interesting certification. It certifies that you can check beans within a reasonable variance? To become a Certified Public Asshole, sorry, must pass four sections...Financial Accounting , Regulation (Law and Taxes),Business Environment and Concepts (Economics, Cost Accounting) and Audit. Now, I passed it on the first try. Was studying for it painful? I felt the pain towards the end of the fourth exam. The worst part about it was auditing during the day and studying about it at night. That's straight up painful. Now that I have it, what's next? Well, I can't put it on my business card or my email signature because Big 4 firms, or atleast the one I work for, don't allow that. I'm not going to argue against the reasoning because it makes sense. Most clients expect public accountants to have CPAs, so it wouldn't be favorable to the firms to have their employees distinguish themselves from their co-workers. We're all audit robots anyway. But, I digress. Back to the CPA exam.
People study for it in one of two ways mostly - either cds/books or classes where the cds are played. Apparently, classes help because it helps discipline folk who can't study at home. The two most popular cpa prep packages are from Becker and Bisk. I used Becker. Becker has three instructors taking us through the four sections - Rick Duffy, Peter Olinto and Tim Gearty.
Peter Olinto assumes the persona of a slick kid from the bronx. He's actually a good instructor and does his job well. But the other two - jeez. Duffy literally reads from the book faster than the words process in my cerebrum, or cerebellum or whatever that thinking part of the brain is. Gearty can go head with head with counting sheep to make you fall asleep. These three were part of my life for a good six months. And muchos gracias to Starbucks. I pretty much lived there. The baristas didnt even need me to tell them what I needed. Now that's service.
After I took the last exam, i had guarded happiness....happy because I hoped I didnt have to take an accounting exam again. But when I did get my final results though, I was elated. It was more of a relief than anything to be honest. The happiness lasted for a good days.
But then what? Start my own accounting business? Oh heck no. Do taxes for others. Screw that. The way I look at's a fallback. That's all it is. Am I happy I did it? Ask me in a few years and I'll tell you.


Good stuff! Keep going. It's important to have all kinds of perspectives, especially from those at the beginning of their career.

Anonymous said…
I just discovered your blog, and I love it! I am in tax, but I feel your pain. What were we all thinking!?!?!?! Congrats on the test, and thanks for writing.
Melinda said…
Thanks for all of the great insights in your blog.

My husband is currently studying for the CPA Exam and it inspired me to create a blog dedicated to helping people pass the CPA Exam.

I just finished the site and am now looking for people to help generate content by rating review materials and answering a few polls.

If you would take a moment to visit my site, or point some of your readers in my direction I would greatly appreciate it!
notfordisplay said…
Sure, great idea, hope it works out.
Ray Chen said…
just came across this blog because I googled "Peter Olinto." I'm studying for the FARE section of the test now, my first of the four. I haven't experience Rick Duffy yet, but man Tim Gearty is pretty useless as an instructor. I agree with your views on Olinto, I feel like I actually learned something from that guy.

Btw, I am also starting out as a staff auditor this coming Fall...not at the big 4, but at a mid-size. Reading some of your posts has really put some things in perspective... I've had experience with other CPA firms, and I gotta tell you... They're all the same!
Michelle said…
Why won't they let you print CPA on your business card if you already have your license?
Anonymous said…
So was it worth it?
notfordisplay said…
Jury's still out on that.
Anonymous said…
Checking back through some old posts and you were last asked in 2011. About to start mine, so...was it worth it?
zhihe said…
Curious too. Was it worth it? On hindsight.
Audrey Mackay said…
When it comes to being a professional, my idol are the accountants. They are genius and very good in thinking.
Accountant Erskine

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