Author Topic: Carrier/Work - Accounting  (Read 3047 times)

torkanka

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Carrier/Work - Accounting
« on: December 11, 2014, 09:05:07 AM »
Hello all,

I created new accounts because there are people I know in real life on this site and Iím not ready to discuss this off line just yet.

I have a degree in accounting and work at a second tier regional CPA firm as financial auditor.  I do not do any tax work whatsoever.    I am not a CPA.  This is my mail issue right now.

It seems that I am not capable of passing the CPA exam.  I have been trying to take various parts of the exam on and off over the past 6 years and I havenít passed anything ever.  I just got results of my last attempt and I failed again. 

I want to give up on this as something that is just simply not attainable to me.  Studying for months on end and stressing about it significantly affects my quality of life.  I have two small children I need to be taking care of, I need to be taking better care of myself (diet and exercise), and I need not to be stressed all the time about this stupid exam.  Plus it is drain on finances between study materials ($1,500+) and exam fees (approx. $300 per attempt per exam).

My concern is that without the CPA license I have a very short career path at any CPA firm as they require CPA for promotions to Manager or Sr. Manager.  In the past when I talked to recruiters, the first question they always ask is why am I not a CPA and when do I plan to pass the exams.  I used to say that I am working on it.  But I canít get away with this line for much longer considering my age and job title.  This was also the first questions I used to be asked at actual job interviews as well.  It is very hard to explain and get past this stigma of being an accountant but not a CPA.

So here is my situation:  I am starting on the whole FI very late (shouldíve started 15 years ago).  My salary right now is in mid-70s.  I live in very high COL area and I canít move (canít take kids out of school district per divorce agreement). 

At my current firm, I feel that I have up to 4 years before the lack of CPA will become a huge issue (it is already, but right now I am not at that critical promotion level).  Getting out of CPA firm and into the industry would be nice in a year or two, but once again, lack of CPA will be a big hurdle.   I could possibly get a promotion summer of 2015, but that would be the last promotion I can get at any CPA firm.  It is 3 years before next promotion level.

What would you suggest I do, if I canít find any more strength to attempt to pass CPA exam? 

themagicman

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2014, 09:14:34 AM »
Hello all,

I created new accounts because there are people I know in real life on this site and I’m not ready to discuss this off line just yet.

I have a degree in accounting and work at a second tier regional CPA firm as financial auditor.  I do not do any tax work whatsoever.    I am not a CPA.  This is my mail issue right now.

It seems that I am not capable of passing the CPA exam.  I have been trying to take various parts of the exam on and off over the past 6 years and I haven’t passed anything ever.  I just got results of my last attempt and I failed again. 

I want to give up on this as something that is just simply not attainable to me.  Studying for months on end and stressing about it significantly affects my quality of life.  I have two small children I need to be taking care of, I need to be taking better care of myself (diet and exercise), and I need not to be stressed all the time about this stupid exam.  Plus it is drain on finances between study materials ($1,500+) and exam fees (approx. $300 per attempt per exam).

My concern is that without the CPA license I have a very short career path at any CPA firm as they require CPA for promotions to Manager or Sr. Manager.  In the past when I talked to recruiters, the first question they always ask is why am I not a CPA and when do I plan to pass the exams.  I used to say that I am working on it.  But I can’t get away with this line for much longer considering my age and job title.  This was also the first questions I used to be asked at actual job interviews as well.  It is very hard to explain and get past this stigma of being an accountant but not a CPA.

So here is my situation:  I am starting on the whole FI very late (should’ve started 15 years ago).  My salary right now is in mid-70s.  I live in very high COL area and I can’t move (can’t take kids out of school district per divorce agreement). 

At my current firm, I feel that I have up to 4 years before the lack of CPA will become a huge issue (it is already, but right now I am not at that critical promotion level).  Getting out of CPA firm and into the industry would be nice in a year or two, but once again, lack of CPA will be a big hurdle.   I could possibly get a promotion summer of 2015, but that would be the last promotion I can get at any CPA firm.  It is 3 years before next promotion level.

What would you suggest I do, if I can’t find any more strength to attempt to pass CPA exam? 

I am also an accountant without a CPA. I have worked at two very large non publically traded companies. I do not think that my lack of a CPA has caused me career issues. While there are a handful of CPA's at my current job, there are many people (Serveral at high level postions) that do not have it.

I would suggest that you get into industry for sure! At a CPA firm, I imagine there is a lot of pressure to get the CPA. I would definitely recommend going into industry. Typically less hours, more work life balance, less stress, and better pay and without as much pressure on getting your CPA. Win-win in your situation!

Joel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 773
  • Location: California
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2014, 09:15:41 AM »
There are plenty of accountants who are not CPAs. It may limit your career growth some but I do not think you will have a problem finding another job. We recently had a senior leave who was ready for promotion to manager but was not a CPA and therefore could not be promoted. The partners helped him get a job elsewhere because he was such a good employee. You might be able to angle it that you have been too busy and not been able to study properly.

torkanka

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2014, 09:33:23 AM »
There are plenty of accountants who are not CPAs. It may limit your career growth some but I do not think you will have a problem finding another job. We recently had a senior leave who was ready for promotion to manager but was not a CPA and therefore could not be promoted. The partners helped him get a job elsewhere because he was such a good employee. You might be able to angle it that you have been too busy and not been able to study properly.

I am also an accountant without a CPA. I have worked at two very large non publically traded companies. I do not think that my lack of a CPA has caused me career issues. While there are a handful of CPA's at my current job, there are many people (Serveral at high level postions) that do not have it.

I would suggest that you get into industry for sure! At a CPA firm, I imagine there is a lot of pressure to get the CPA. I would definitely recommend going into industry. Typically less hours, more work life balance, less stress, and better pay and without as much pressure on getting your CPA. Win-win in your situation!

I am up for promotion to manager this summer.  I can get it without a CPA, but that would be it.  I know that most firms don't even promote to manager without CPA, but my firm does.  They require CPA for Sr. Manager.

This promotion is not guaranteed to me, but I feel it would be stupid to leave before I find out.  If I don't get it, I would have to start looking as there are not 4th-year seniors at my firm.  If I get it, I feel that staying one more year as a manager would be a good idea to get that experience.  After that, I feel that I will have much better chance to move on.   

But this whole CPA business is driving me insane.  I feel like a failure, but I just can't go on with the stress and money and all the craziness involved.

Looking in the industry would be interesting, as I specialize in the financial services industry.  So I would need to find something with an investment fund or fund administrator.  It also limits on the potential future jobs. 

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1567
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2014, 10:03:40 AM »
There is no harm in shopping for a new job now. In fact, it may be useful to you in salary negotiations when you're promoted (and if you get competitive offers, may even help you get that promotion). If any offers are as good as the manager position, then why wait?

Your biggest problem is not your lack of the CPA, it's this:

Quote
But this whole CPA business is driving me insane.  I feel like a failure...

You're thinking that if you walk into an interview, everyone will see what a failure you are. In fact, there are more accountants in industry/government without their CPA than with it.

You know the question will be asked, so you just need to be prepared with an answer that you deliver confidently. Then the interview will move on.

Look up your interviewer before you walk into the room so that you can tailor your response. If it's an accountant with no CPA, then you can say just about anything and you're just confirming their own life choices. If it's some HR flunky, then who cares - they're probably doing behavioral interviewing anyway, and your confidence will speak louder than your words. If it's a CPA, then you just have to not let it shake you.

Maybe you'll get the job, maybe you won't. It doesn't matter. You don't -need- it.

SpinGeek

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2014, 10:20:10 AM »
+1 for moving to an industry job. I've been working for 26 years without a CPA, currently unit Controller for a publicly-traded company. Back when I started, new CPA's were only earning $25K and still expected to answer phones, so I decided it wasn't worth the extra expense for not much more moeny if I wasn't actually going to work for a CPA firm. I imagine there's a lot of pressure to generate billable hours at your firm, and if you have a CPA, they can bill higher rates for (essentially) the same work. If a new company already has an accounting firm to handle tax returns, your lack of CPA shouldn't matter.

Caveat: I've been with the same company for over 17 years. I'm sure that getting hired for my current job without at least a BA degree would be pretty difficult. Consistent high performance and experience count for a lot. I actually trained five of my bosses before I was gently drop-kicked into taking the position when my last boss left the company.

I'd wait a year, get some Manager experience under your belt, and see how you feel about the CPA exam after a break.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2904
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2014, 09:06:34 PM »
It sounds like you are experiencing some anxiety. Maybe a small dosage of anxiety meds would help? I too am an accountant without a cpa. I work for a cpa firm, but I work on the advisory side. I would definitely wait and see if you get promoted but you can start interviewing now. Where I live the recruiting season is from July to November. When a recruiter asks me when I am going to get the cpa I know that it is probably not a job I want.
For me I have severe test anxiety and career anxiety. I am working on some other things right now, like my insomnia. I got a 30 on FAR a few months ago after my partner dumped me and my grandmother died. I think i won't be calm enough to pass the CPA exam until after I retire, lol. But that is just how it is. I try to be proud of my career so far, and while I have been limited in some opportunities, I'm fine with where I'm at, and the recruiters keep calling...

Joel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 773
  • Location: California
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2014, 10:15:24 PM »
Oh wow. I didn't know any firms allowed you to be a manager without the CPA. With that said, if they promote you, you don't need to stress about the CPA until you get closer to the timeframe where you can no longer promote. Regardless of the CPA, I think you should decide on leaving based on whether or not you want to be a manager.

torkanka

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2014, 07:54:30 AM »
There is no harm in shopping for a new job now. In fact, it may be useful to you in salary negotiations when you're promoted (and if you get competitive offers, may even help you get that promotion). If any offers are as good as the manager position, then why wait?

Your biggest problem is not your lack of the CPA, it's this:

Quote
But this whole CPA business is driving me insane.  I feel like a failure...

You're thinking that if you walk into an interview, everyone will see what a failure you are. In fact, there are more accountants in industry/government without their CPA than with it.

You know the question will be asked, so you just need to be prepared with an answer that you deliver confidently. Then the interview will move on.

Look up your interviewer before you walk into the room so that you can tailor your response. If it's an accountant with no CPA, then you can say just about anything and you're just confirming their own life choices. If it's some HR flunky, then who cares - they're probably doing behavioral interviewing anyway, and your confidence will speak louder than your words. If it's a CPA, then you just have to not let it shake you.

Maybe you'll get the job, maybe you won't. It doesn't matter. You don't -need- it.

You are right CPA Cat.  I do feel like I failed and it gives me insane amount of stress and anxiety.  The sad part to me is that I have two degrees BS and MBA from top universities in the country.  So I know I'm not stupid and I know I am capable of learning.  But this has just become a stumbling block for me.

I am hopping that I will get propomoted this coming summer.  If I don't I will start looking.  Getting another offer will not do anything in term of salary negotiations.  We have standard % increases and they won't budge.  Getting the title though will be helpful to me in the future.

I will also start working on better presentation of myself in the interview and a better way to answer the dreaded CPA question.

torkanka

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Carrier/Work - Accounting
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 07:59:20 AM »
It sounds like you are experiencing some anxiety. Maybe a small dosage of anxiety meds would help? I too am an accountant without a cpa. I work for a cpa firm, but I work on the advisory side. I would definitely wait and see if you get promoted but you can start interviewing now. Where I live the recruiting season is from July to November. When a recruiter asks me when I am going to get the cpa I know that it is probably not a job I want.
For me I have severe test anxiety and career anxiety. I am working on some other things right now, like my insomnia. I got a 30 on FAR a few months ago after my partner dumped me and my grandmother died. I think i won't be calm enough to pass the CPA exam until after I retire, lol. But that is just how it is. I try to be proud of my career so far, and while I have been limited in some opportunities, I'm fine with where I'm at, and the recruiters keep calling...

I just got my second attempt at AUD.  First was 73, second was 70.  I've taken AUD in the past also with score of 71 and 73.  Also got 60 on FAR this year.  I just can't do it anymore. 


Oh wow. I didn't know any firms allowed you to be a manager without the CPA. With that said, if they promote you, you don't need to stress about the CPA until you get closer to the timeframe where you can no longer promote. Regardless of the CPA, I think you should decide on leaving based on whether or not you want to be a manager.

I think we are one of the few last firms that promote to manager without a CPA.  They keep talking about changing it and requiring CPA for manager promotion, but after talking about for two years, there is still no change.  I hope this will not change by this summer. 

Ideally, I want to get the promotion and one year of manager experience, then I would consider leaving.  I don't have a lot of busy seasons left in me.