This Stay-At-Home Mom Is Relaunching Her Career By Passing The CPA Exam

Priorities change and life can bring new and unexpected things at almost any time. For 47-year-old stay-at-home mom Katie Moore, she could see that her children would soon be out of the house and it was nearing time to restart her accounting career after more than 20 years away. Step one: Beat the CPA Exam. 

A Promising Start

IMG_3515Katie first studied Accounting as an undergraduate student and had a solid start to her career after graduation. She worked for Big 4 firm Ernst & Young for three years as an auditor. However, she and her husband decided they wanted to start a family and it was easier for Katie to be home with the two children.

“My intent was to get my CPA back then,” she says. But having a family got in the way of that. So, much of my motivation for taking the exam was to finish what I started.”

Facing An Empty Nest

Katie also saw that, as her children got older and were preparing to head off to college, she’d soon be faced with an “empty nest.” But getting back into the job market isn’t always that easy when you’ve been out of it for years.

“Now it’s time to move on and I have the opportunity to get my career going again,” she says. “A lot of my friends were out of work a lot less time than I have been and they’ve had a hard time even getting interviews. So earning my CPA is about how do I make myself more marketable and more attractive to an employer now?”

The Hardest Lesson? Patience

In preparation for the CPA Exam for returning to the workforce, Katie had to get back to her studies–more than 20 years after her last class exam. “I started this process last year at age 46,” she says. “I had to learn to be patient and it me a little to learn to focus and study again.”

At first, she found herself quickly getting exhausted with the process of studying but, after a month or so of using Wiley CPAexcel and its Bite-Sized Lessons, she began to regain her stamina. It was a long, slow process but Katie was able to methodically prepare for and pass each section of the CPA Exam (all on her first attempt).

“You just have go for it,” she says. “You have to know you are capable and can’t doubt yourself because of your age or anything else.”

Next Up: A Few More Credits

Even though Katie passed the CPA Exam, she still has a ways to go before she earns her license, as she’s still 11 credits shy of the education requirement. That’s why she’s back in school and beginning work on her master’s degree.

Predictably, Katie is the older student in her cohort of students but that doesn’t bother her in the least. “I’m glad I did the CPA Exam first because I was able to set my own time for that,” she says. “Studying for the exam really helped me prepare for school, which has all of these deadlines I have to meet.”

We’ll circle back in a year or so and see just how things are going with Katie. We’re absolutely sure she’ll be well on her way to having her full CPA license and a new job.



  • Heidi |

    I love this story. Mine is similar. I’d love to chat with this woman.

  • Gwendolyn |

    Great story! Thanks for the inspiration Katie!!

  • Marcie |

    Love this story I also would love to chat with this lady. I have been studying for a year now and just have not passed any section getting very frustrated. I am older as well and trying not to give up.

  • Amanda |

    This is so refreshing to hear! I’ve been out of school for 9 years, and between family and work, it’s been hard to consistently prepare for the exam. Would love to hear what happens next for her!

  • Cheryl |

    Inspiring! I tried twice to pass audit after 26 years of being away from school. Couldn’t get passed the simulation questions. 70 both times. Love to here more about how you did it.

  • Valerie |

    This is an amazing story. I’m a 37 year old mom of 2 (19 year old & 3 year old) my dream was to take and pass the CPA exam – after 2 years of taking one here and there and not passing I decided to finally commit to myself and take the exam next month and am studying using Wiley CPAexcel. Its so true that those bite size learning lessons give you the confidence you need to keep on. My other study tool was hours of lecture on top of over 50 MC’s for each section. So much harder to grasp. Glad I found Wiley & love to get these stories and know that there’s hope & to never give up on yourself!

  • Maria |

    Awesome. Very inspiring story…congratulations

  • Katie |

    Hey Marcie! This is Katie Moore. Keep with it! You can do it. If I did, you can too!!! It can be hard to not get discouraged. There is one error in the writeup as I actually failed the first exam, but passed it the second time and then finished the other three within 6 months. Let me know how it’s going!

  • Don Miller |

    I am Katies father and her mother and I are extremely proud of her. She did not mention that she had tremendous support from her husband and kids. Her oldesr is in college and her son plays travel hockey.

  • Katie |


    I struggled with the simulations on the first exam. I actually failed the first time I took the first one. I took FAR first. I found that doing lots of simulations through Wiley CPAexcel helped. Also,I tried to get my timing down so I was assured to have enough time for the simulations. I always took a break between the MCQ’s and the simulations to step away and give myself a pep talk. My mantra was “you can do this. You prepared for this. Remember that you get partial credit for the simulations. Don’t panic, answer what you know and then do the best you can to fill in the rest.”

    When I got to the simulations, I briefly looked through them to see what each was about and then I completed them in the order that I felt most confident…my strongest area first, and so on. I read the questions carefully and filled in every blank. If your calculation is completely wrong but you put it in the right account, I believe you get points for that, so don’t leave any blanks!

    Don’t give up as you are very close and you can do this!!!! I understand that it can be frustrating and discouraging, but I am confident that you WILL do it!

  • Joy |

    For all the stay-at-home moms don’t give up. After working 9 years in banking I stayed home for 18 years raising 3 kids. As many of you have experienced no one was calling me for jobs I applied to after being out of work for so long. I had to re-enter the workforce as a temp admin assistant. Whatever it took. It was humbling working for $18 an hour with 2 masters degrees from a top university but I was on and am still on a mission. Once I was in the company I made myself invaluable and luckily with great timing moved into a treasury role. This started me on a path of getting a few years of current experience on my resume. As I have now been looking for higher paying jobs all the postings are requiring a CPA. The Wiley program with its easily structured setup helped me pass my first exam in March in spite of my exhaustive work schedule. The materials were exactly like the exam. I am on my way to earning my CPA. I am 55 years young.

  • Conrad Moore |

    Job well done. You’ve got the right stuff.

  • Mae |

    What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing your story! Best of wishes to you Katie!

  • DanielH |

    Great story. Just finished my maac after a career change in my mid 30’s .

  • Kymberly |

    I was THRILLED to see this post. I graduated from college in 1992 and have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 10 years. I have been overwhelmed with the studying because I have forgotten so much, and so much has changed since I was in school, that I feel like I am starting from scratch. Very encouraging to see that you were able to succeed!

  • Adam Wade |

    Thanks Kymberly – and good luck!

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