Certified Princess Accountant

Three years. Four sections. 15 attempts. One C.P.A.

I did it.

I finally passed all four sections you guys. I am so relieved to never have to study or take another test again (unless I want to get another certification). I get to have a life and hobbies!

My word of the year was perseverance. It turns out that it was the perfect word. After failing over and over again, I was able to pick myself up, hunker down, and pass these exams. It was a lot of work for those three extra letters after my name, but it was worth it.

Of course, now I have to do a lot of paper work that needs to be signed by certain people and notarized, but within 6-8 weeks I will have my certification. I am the Certified Princess Accountant.

These are signs that I asked my best friend to make me. They came in the mail yesterday, and they will eventually be on the walls in my home office. The first one is from a Walt Disney quote, but the design is all Meet the Robinsons (one of the more underrated Disney moves ever). The other is a line from the Josh Groban song “Granted.” Both of these quotes are very dear to me and I believe they have a clear message that really helped me this year.

If you are struggling at your goals, keep at it. One day you will get there. Hard work and perseverance will get you there.

Now, I’m going to celebrate and make my husband take me out for that steak dinner he owes me for passing!

Post-Test Reflection

I have no stinkin’ clue on how I did. There were quite a few things on the exam that were not in my review course, so I had to answer those as best as I could. Some of it was super easy. A few things could go either way. All I know is I will be praying for a 75 every day until the 11th.

Fingers Are Crossed

Tomorrow I take REG! If (when) I pass I will be able to FINALLY apply for my CPA license.

I’m taking it easy tonight. Might look over a few notes, but I don’t want to cram and tire out my brain. The test isn’t until noon, so I will sleep in a little bit and go to the gym before hand. Afterwards my awesome husband is ordering Chinese food and I will enjoy the post test coma that comes with these things.

Test scores come out December 11th, so cross your fingers and wish me luck!

The Final Countdown

I take REG on Friday. My last section of the CPA exam. I won’t find out my score until Dec. 11, so I am really hoping Santa will grant my Christmas wish and make me a CPA. Mostly because I don’t want to study anymore, but also because those letters come with more opportunity and a pay raise. Not too shabby.

Wish me luck this week as I do my final reviews and such. This is it!

Nervous

FAR scores come out on Tuesday. While I feel like I did okay considering the events that were happening outside of my control, I really cannot say I am confident. This is the test that has kicked my butt every time- never scoring more than a 60 when a 75 is needed all three times.

And even if I don’t pass, I would feel good about it if I got a score at least close to 70. I am prepared to start studying immediately next week, whether it be for FAR again or for REG. Which makes this weekend my last study free one for the rest of the year.

It’s fun waiting for score releases. I will probably post a very brief announcement on my Facebook page before there is any word here, so if you want to follow along like it here:

https://www.facebook.com/AccountantDreams/

For all you accountants also waiting for scores: good luck! I hope the results are good.

Near… FAR…

Tomorrow is the big day. The day I take the FAR portion of the C.P.A. exam for the fourth time. My previous scores has ranged from the mid 50s to the mid 60s, so I think it is safe to say that this test is my doom.

I really started to study hard the past month or so, and I felt pretty good leading up to last weekend when I planned to take time off to have a no-distraction study palooza. Well, life happened and there was a death in the family, so I did not get the amount of studying done that I probably needed to. So, right now I feel kind of apprehensive, and I did make a “worst case senario” plan, but I can still totally pass this.

I did make use of those word documents I posted about a while ago. Here they are for all my transparent glory:

Yes, I color coded my notes. I have three or four sets of colored pens. They are not just for my planner.

You can also see that There are a lot of “none” spaces on my tracker. Yeah, I should have started getting serious sooner. I also went on vacation and ignored everything for a couple of those weeks. Slight regret because I am not where I want to me on the practice tests, but I needed my vacation.

My test is at 8 am tomorrow morning. It is a four hour test that will probably take me two hours if I go by past exams. Hopefully, it will take me a tad longer than that because my speed is not a good thing when the questions are made to trick you. I need to slow down and make sure I read and reread everything.

I plan on taking today as a major review day on the areas I still have issues in. Work has been crazy busy this week, so I do not know if I will get much time, but I have also worked my butt off the past few days to get all my assignments to a point where I may get time to review at my desk this afternoon. We’ll see.

Wish me luck and good luck to everyone else taking the exam!

Vacations are Bad for Studying

But are SO worth it for the mental health benefits.

You may have noticed I have been quiet the past week. Well, I was on a staycation/ vacation. I spent the beginning of the week spending some quality time at home and doing things with my husband before ending the week at the beach for the second annual girls’ weekend I do with my mom, aunts, and best friend.

I got to relax and not worry about anything until I got home last night. Then I realized I did not look at any of my CPA exam notes for ten days. I had the intention to- I downloaded my notes onto my new Kindle Paperwhite with the intention of reading over them while lounging on the beach. Instead, I reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and half of Prisoner of Azkaban for the hundredth time (no regrets there).

I have exactly a month before I take the FAR exam for the fifth time. It’s past time to get serious, but I have a plan: do nothing on the weekends until after the 24th (with one exception for Fantasy Football League draft day). I need to crack down on doing multiple choice questions and practice exams and copying my notes so I get something ingrained in my head. Easier said than done, I know, but it is a necessary evil. My scores so far have not been great, so I really have to focus if I want to pass this exam (and I REALLY want to pass).

So, to all of my family and friends, I am not mad at you. I am not going through a mental health down spiral. I am ignoring you. I am studying. I still love you. See you Labor Day weekend.

Failed Again?

You’re not alone. Getting that score is soul crushing, and, if you’re like me, makes you question if everything is worth it.

A 67. That’s the score I got on the test I passed two years ago. I failed the section that I live every day at work. Sure, I took it right after tax season and the excuse could be made that I was still recovering from that hell period. But the truth is I am terrible at studying. Terrible at telling people no. Terrible at shutting myself away to make sure I know the material. Because that’s what it takes.

Three years. Two attempts at REG. Four attempts at AUD and BEC. About to be five attempts at FAR when I take it at the end of the summer. That’s over $2k spent on the tests alone. Not to mention the cost of study materials. Now, my work did reimburse me for the first go around in the way of a loan that starts being worked off once I pass the exams, but I still either need to pay it off or have 1/4 of it written off for every year I work here for the next four years. This has been a huge investment.

Can I turn in my punch card for that free exam now?

Yes, those three letters after my name will be amazing for my career. CPA comes with raises and responsibilities and promotions. But the stress and the pressure is hard to handle after so long. I know I have to keep going- I’m half way there. And if I can finally do it, then so can you. We’re all in this together.

Never give up. Never surrender.

The C.P.A. Exam Truth

The Certified Public Accounting certification exam is four sections long: Regulation (REG), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). As of last year, each section is four hours long with multiple choice questions, simulations, and BEC has a writing portion. Once you pass the first section, you have eighteen months to pass the other three. That’s right- passing is timed and conditional. You have to get a 75 to pass, and that is not a %. The questions are weighted, and then your score is weighted against the other people taking the test. There is a reason why the exam has a less than 50% pass rate. It’s not a walk in the park.

Everyone has a different idea of which is the easiest section. It really depends on the individual. If you are a tax person, REG is going to be easier. If you are an auditor, AUD is going to be your strength. It all just depends on where you are in the accounting field. For me, REG and BEC was the easiest. I work in a tax department, so I live by those rules. I am also good at writing, which made BEC less intimidating.

When I first starting my now three year long journey of taking this exam, everyone told me to use the Becker study materials. Becker is one of the most widely known CPA exam prep guides, and they do work for a lot of people. Not me. I failed all but REG my first time around. It took me a little while to figure out the best way for me to study, and Becker’s videos and books were not it for me.

Now, a lot of my coworkers used Becker and passed. Some of them did the same self study path while a couple did the whole “I’m going to sit in an eight hour long class every Saturday and do multiple choice questions at home during the week” thing. I was working full time and going to Georgia State for my master’s. I did not take that route.

Also, do not overload yourself like I did. Between work and my classes, I did not give myself time to study for the exam. That hurt. A lot.

I had to teach myself how to study. I never really had to in high school, and college required a lesser amount of studying than what you really need for the CPA exam. I am talking about locking yourself in your room, ignoring everyone and everything for a few hours a day. Become a hermit. Your friends and family will eventually forgive you after you pass the exam.

Do some research on the different study programs that are available. There is no such thing as a “One size fits all” when it comes to this stuff. A friend used Wiley and liked it. I am using the NINJA program from Another71.com and that really works for me. But it is a personal choice. You know how you study. Some people I know use more than one. NINJA was actually set up to be a supplemental to the other programs. I just found that the materials they have work for my learning style.

Misery loves company. If you have friends or coworkers also taking the exam, study together. Share your notes. Two heads are better than one, and someone may be better at creating ways to remember stuff. I am sure there is a song about governmental fund types out there somewhere. I should probably go find it, because that is one of my weakest areas. FAR is terrible. They’re all terrible, but FAR is all the random stuff that did not fit into the other three sections. Someone please make a FAR album with catchy tunes to memorize.

I am a week away from finding out a score, and two months from taking FAR. If all goes well, I will be a CPA by the end of September. Just know, you are not alone. There are hundreds of us suffering through this exam. We got this. We are accountants.