In March 2016, Anastasia MacNeil made the choice — commitment, really — to earn her CPA license. Her commitment and advice will surely add some spark to your 2018 CPA Exam studies. For advice on how to do it right, she turned to Reddit.com and its CPA Candidates subreddit, “where the debits and credits flow like wine.”
Anastasia studied accounting in both her undergraduate and graduate programs (both at Stetson University) and worked as a Staff Accountant in Florida from 2009 until 2014. At the time, she strongly considered pursuing her CPA but she didn’t work under a Certified Public Accountant at the time who could verify her work experience.
In 2014, she took another Staff Accountant job, this time with a company that had many CPAs on staff and was willing to reimburse her for taking the exam. It also didn’t hurt that earning her CPA would open her up for a promotion and raise.
“I think it did help because I wasn’t in school and doing it on my own,” Anastasia says. “I’m much more motivated to do something that I commit to, rather than being instructed to do it. It was much more of a personal motivation for me.”
She scheduled her exams in March 2016 and eight months later in November, she passed the final section.
Even though Anastasia had several years of accounting work under her belt, she didn’t want to tackle studying all the CPA Exam material on her own. So, she started scouring the internet for the best online review course she could find.
“I looked around and looked at Redditt and they had a CPA subreddit and Wiley was batted around there as an alternative to Becker,” she recalls. “I dug into it and it looked like Wiley was much more affordable and had pretty good reviews.”
But Anatasia wasn’t totally convinced until she signed up for a two-week trial of Wiley CPAexcel and loved the software. Then it was time to get to work.
For most CPA candidates, finding the time to actually study is a real challenge. Anastasia did her best to study every single day and make the most of her lunch break at work.
“On my lunch break, I’d review the tests or do some of the flashcards. Then, in the evening, I would watch the videos and work on the multiple-choice questions and simulations,” she says.
The key to being prepared on Exam Day? For Anastasia, it was building in enough review time. “I tried to schedule my tests so I could have two weeks of review after finishing all the lessons. So I did the practice exams over and over again.”
All-in-all, Anastasia passed all four sections of the CPA Exam on her first try. She chalks up her success to sticking with her plan. “I followed along with the schedule that was set up in the Wiley CPAexcel course and that really helped,” she says.
Thanks to earning her CPA license, Anastasia is now a Senior Staff Accountant with her company and is optimistic about the future. “If you’re in public practice and you’re in private, when you get up to the higher levels, there are a lot of job descriptions that really prefer you have a CPA,” she says. “It’s all about job opportunities.”
Congratulations on passing the CPA Exam, Anastasia, and feel free to share this on Reddit!
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