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By Jeremy Boucher, CPA
The CPA Exam is cake. I only had to sit for REG twice, BEC three times and I passed FAR and AUD in my first go around—all in less than one sleepless year (and I wiped out my vacation). OK, so it’s not really cake at all.
Becoming a CPA is just the first step in starting your career: the foundation. So now what? Answer: You’re just getting started.
Here’s my advice on what to do once you earn those three letters following your name:
1. Seek mentors who have been exactly where you are now, but not necessarily where you think you’ll be in the future. Mentors provide perspective and keep you grounded. It’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side, but mentors have been on the other side—and maybe back and forth a few time—and they can tell you how green it really is.
2. Find your bearing by understanding your personality. Try a DiSC Classic test. This can be a good indication of the types of positions suitable for you.
3. Identify and develop skills necessary to achieve your career goals.
4. Educate yourself on the issues and trends in your industry and company. You don’t need to have all of the answers, but you should know the people who do.
5. Make your mark once you get to where you’re going. Don’t forget what you’ve learned along the way and those that have helped you to get there. In the words of singer Randy Travis, “It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you. It’s what you leave behind you when you go.”
Now that I’ve lost everyone who hates country music: Congratulations, you’re a CPA! I hope you find great success in your career.
Jeremy Boucher, CPA is a senior audit associate at KPMG, LLP.
By Gerardo Godinez, CPA
Robert Frost’s classic poem “The Road Not Taken” is widely interpreted as an expression of individualism. Two roads. One traveler. One choice. Seems pretty straightforward. At least it was when I first read it in high school. Fast forward 15 years and I am able to interpret the poem with deeper insight within the context of my CPA career.
Frost describes the two roads to the point where both bend into the undergrowth, losing sight of them. One is grassier with little evidence of having been treaded and the other appearing more traveled. As you know, the road less traveled is chosen and, as Frost states, “That made all the difference.” The reader is left with one question: What do the roads lead to beyond the bend? The same can be said of a CPA.
Accounting grads often begin their careers making a choice to become a CPA, yet data shows a majority of them do not continue down the road toward becoming a CPA—the road less traveled. The career trajectory of a CPA and non-CPA is generally predictable up to a certain point, after which it becomes less foreseeable.
What I have learned is that the road the CPA travels is full of continuous opportunities for learning and growth. I have gained knowledge and perspective through roles that are available to me because of my CPA as a:
The list is longer and will continue to grow.
So, should you choose the road of a CPA? If you do, rest assured that beyond the bend, only you will travel. And that makes all the difference.
Gerardo Godinez, CPA is a senior manager at Moss Adams, LLP.
By Didem “Dee” Komaromi, CPA (license pending)
I believe you have a better chance of reaching your potential, experiencing new things and having a more adventurous journey in life when you take calculated risks. This is what I was thinking both when I took a trapeze lesson and the CPA Exam. Both certainly required me to step out of my comfort zone.
Trapeze is fun, but challenging—especially for someone who is afraid of heights. Being a CPA is rewarding, but the journey to becoming licensed means you have to be self-disciplined and study very long hours for about a year while tactfully saying no to all your friends when they invite you to BBQs, weddings, gatherings, baby showers, birthdays parties and the like.
At one point for both trapeze and the CPA Exam I asked myself, “Dee, what were you thinking when you signed up!?” For trapeze I remember asking this question right when I was ready to jump from the platform for the first time. Studying for the CPA Exam I asked the same question when I spent seven-eight hours everyday in the library all summer. Not pleasant moments, but all I had to do was to remind myself why I was doing what I was doing. Once you know what the reasons are, you will find the strength to go through those grueling months or, in case of trapeze, to jump off a 24-foot platform to do some acrobatic moves.
My last piece of advice: Enjoy the ride because you never have to do it again! You don’t have to be miserable during your CPA Exam journey. There are positive things about the exam: You will learn about yourself more than you think, you’ll become a very patient person (it takes two months to get your results back) and you will soon realize taking it one step at a time actually works and grants you many benefits.
I hope you study hard and realize your dream of becoming a CPA on your very first try!
“Didem “Dee” Komaromi, CPA”:mailto:email@example.com (license pending) was a treasurer accountant with Thompson National Properties. She passed the CPA Exam in May 2011.