From Factory Floor to CFO? That’s the Plan for This CPA

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One of the best parts of our jobs is hearing the amazing stories of our customers. We love to hear how they’ve realized their dreams of becoming CPAs and found success and happiness in their lives. There may be no better example of this than Steven Wimmler.  

This newly minted CPA lives just outside Billings, Montana, with his wife and two kids and is expecting another child later this year. They’ve recently purchased a new home that’s perfect for their horses (Steven’s wife is very active in the rodeo) and for raising their growing family.

But it wasn’t always that way for Steven.

Starting Out In The Factory

After graduating from high school, Steven spent several years working the floor at a few of the local factories in Wyoming. As you can imagine, it wasn’t the most inspiring work.

“I didn’t exactly love working in the sugar factor,” he says.

However, after a few years working in the factories, he met his wife.  When she became pregnant with their first child (Connor, now 6), Steven decided it was time to go back to college.

Why Accounting?

You certainly have to be good at math to enjoy accounting–and that’s one thing Steven knew he liked from his high school days.

“I’ve always liked problem-solving and finding solutions to difficult problems,” he says. “So I signed up for a few accounting courses and really liked it.”

Inspired by his new family, Steven made quick work of his college accounting courses and earned his degree, which helped him land a job with a drilling company in Billings.

The Decision To Become A CPA

From his college courses, Steven knew about the importance of earning his CPA license–that it plays  a big factor in helping to advance your accounting career.

“I wanted the experience and knowledge and respect from my peers,” he says. “But really, my family was the biggest motivating factor. I wanted to provide a good example for my kids and be able to support them.”

Even though Steven’s job wasn’t directly related to accounting, his company was very supportive of his choice to pursue his CPA license.

How He Did It — With A Lot Of Help & Support

Having a full-time job and two young children can easily eat up all of your time, so Steven had to really put in the effort to study for the CPA Exam.

“I really took advantage of [Wiley’s] bite-sized lessons,” he says. “I made my own plan and kept a really strict schedule for studying. No matter what, I got some sort of studying in every day.”

That included one hour at lunch and at least two hours at night after spending time with his kids. Steven’s wife also was instrumental in helping him find time to study by watching the children often.

But Steven learned a key study lesson the hard way: He failed the REG section by a few points.

“I assumed I was going to pass so I was just going through the motions and not really absorbing the material,” he says. “After that, I started taking meticulous notes on every lesson and did tons of question drills.”

He buckled down and passed all four sections of the CPA Exam without another failure.

His advice to others: “Just make sure you make the time to study and really try to soak in the lessons,” he says. “If you need to go at a slower pace, then just go slower.”

What Does The Future Hold?

Steven’s next goal? Landing an auditing job so he can put his new skills to work. He’s also planning on returning to school to complete an MBA.

When asked what he wants to do in the future, he’s quick with the answer: “I’d like to maybe someday be a CFO.”

If his recent history is any indication, Steven certainly has the drive and support to make it happen.

Good luck!

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