Does taking the CPA exam put your personal life on hold? To find out, we asked Stephanie Henwood, mother of two, and successful accounting professional who passed the CPA exam on the first try.
Born on Jersey, an island south of England, Stephanie left briefly to attend university, and now she is back, happily, to raise her family there, which includes her wife, as well as two little ones: Zachary and Vivian.
Studying with a little tike while pregnant with her second was certainly a challenge. “Staying awake to study in the evenings was really hard,” she says, “as I was super tired with the pregnancy. Plus, missing out on time with my partner and 2-year-old son wore on me. I did pass the exam the first time, which was lucky, as I had to travel from the UK to take it, so it would have been expensive to do a retake!”
The first time through, Stephanie achieved a score of 86, which suited her just fine. But it happened for two reasons: discipline and quality study materials.
“I initially decided that I would undertake the free trial period with Wiley, and after listening to the first few topics, I knew that with the quality of lecturers and the way they were able to explain the topics, I would be able to achieve my goal.”
From that moment, Stephanie made the commitment and didn’t look back. “I used the online tools to ensure that I was on track to complete the course and allowed myself three full weeks of pure question practice in the lead up to the exam.”
“I found the lectures very engaging, so my technique was to listen to each lecture and then answer the practice questions, ensuring that I achieved at least 75%. If I did not, I would answer all questions that I did not answer correctly again, ensuring that I made a separate note of that point to go over later.”
“The last 3 weeks of my study was spent just answering the available questions. I also ensured that I found the forms on the IRS website and studied them in order to put it into real life perspective, which I found cemented the knowledge”
“I was very strict with getting to work at 7am so I could get in two hours of study (watching lectures) in the morning,” she says. “I then worked for an hour after work before I had to pick up my son, and I spent at least a day on the weekend dedicated to question practice.”
The pillars of her success—discipline and commitment, as well as the support of her family—have landed Stephanie important work and a fulfilling career.
She is now a chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). She is currently working as a fund administration provider managing a team responsible for providing accounting and administration services, as well as serving as a director on property holding company boards. Success indeed has its spoils.
Here are some reasons Stephanie feels her CPA license has been a boon to her career.
1. I receive respect from my colleagues. When you can earn the respect of trusted professionals, it will most definitely give your career and your reputation a boost.
2. Opens up many opportunities in different industries. As a CPA, you can have a kind of reach that you wouldn’t normally have if you didn’t get over the exam. Highly recommended to do so, for so many reasons.
3. I benefit from greater knowledge of the inner workings of companies. This knowledge can help a great deal with decision making.
4. The pay is higher! Need I say more? (You can learn more about CPA salaries here.)
5. The demand for CPAs. There’s a feeling of security that CPAs will always be needed and that you should always be able to find worthwhile work.
1. Desktop access: My desktop access was the aspect of the Wiley material that I used the most; the small-learning modules made it easy for me to put in short amounts of time.
2. Wiley’s CPA Study Guide: I used the study guide book in the earliest stages of my studying while I was getting familiar with the content.
3. Practice questions: Having now taken the exam, I’m even more impressed about the quality of the questions and the similarity to the actual exam.
4. Expert Instructors: The lectures from the Wiley instructors were excellent, and they made me feel secure in knowing that this was a quality product.
5. Free Trial: I knew right away after using my time in the free trial that this would be the only study program I’d need. Start your free 14-day trial today.