Stephanie Ng is a CPA who launched her CPA exam preparation Web site, I Pass the CPA Exam, in 2010. Before becoming a CPA, she was an an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. She recently completed her first book, a comprehensive and practical study guide for CPA exam students outside the United States. We were excited when she agreed to sit down with us to answer a few questions about preparing for the CPA exam.
CPAexcel: Stephanie, what is it about CPA that grabbed your attention and gave you enough interest to want to pursue this as a career?
Stephanie Ng: I started out as an investment banker and switched to work for a client in their corporate finance team. Every senior person there was a CPA and that really caught my attention. The CFO encouraged me to complete the CPA exam within a year. I gladly accepted the challenge, and thankfully, passed all parts on my first attempt.
The CPA designation is versatile and is well recognized globally in the accounting and finance field. It also opens door to higher-level and more interesting career opportunities. Definitely an investment with attractive ROI.
CPAexcel: What is your best piece of advice for students preparing to take the CPA exam?
Stephanie Ng: The CPA exam covers a huge amount of materials and candidates can easily get overwhelmed and discouraged. At the same time, it is not rocket science. As long as you tackle this exam one step at a time, there is a high chance of success.
A realistic study plan, and the commitment to stick with the plan, is the best way to keep you on track.
CPAexcel: What is the most important lesson that being a CPA has taught you?
Stephanie Ng: The lesson I learned is that a CPA is much more than a bean counter. The CPA exam covers a very wide range of knowledge from accounting, taxation, ethics, law, economics, financial management to general business. Because of this, once becoming a CPA, we should see ourselves not as accountants, but as professionals who use data, analytical skills and business sense to strategize and lead. We are no longer technicians but managers and leaders.
CPAexcel: Any exciting events happening on your Web site now or in the near future?
Stephanie Ng: My book on how to pass the CPA exam was published by Wiley this summer, and I am so glad to be able to reach out to aspiring CPAs beyond the online community.
On future plans, I am working hard on a sister’s site dedicated to accounting resume, interview and career tips. IPasstheCPAExam.com was created to answer readers’ questions on the CPA exam, but people often ask me for resume tips and job hunting advice. This new site is going to provide solutions to my readers with lots of useful templates, step-by-step guide and practical tips.
CPAexcel: If you were granted one super power, what would it be and why?
Stephanie Ng: I would love to have the ability to grant extra hours in a day so we can accomplish (or rest) more. We always strive to become more efficient and effective, because time is so precious.
An alternative is to have the super power to study while asleep. I once dreamed of slipping a book between my head and the pillow and everything would transfer through osmosis. That would be nice…
CPAexcel: What do you do in your free time to relax and get away from it all?
Stephanie Ng: We have a mini vegetable garden on our balcony. It’s fun to make a good cup of mint tea or whip up a fresh salad whenever we feel like it!
Thanks to Stephanie Ng for her time in responding to our inquiries. For more information or to follow Stephanie on social media, check out her Web site @ I Pass the CPA Exam, find her on Twitter and connect with her on Facebook. You can also purchase her book, How To Pass The CPA Exam: The IPassTheCPAExam.com Guide for International Candidates, through Wiley.com.