Five Things to Do After Passing the CPA Exam

December 04, 2008 The Best of...

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Many candidates like myself who have spent hundreds of hours studying over the course of several months (or years) and finally passing don’t really know what to do with themselves or their newly found free time. Here are five suggestions to help pass the time:

5. Peruse the internet and treat yourself to an item costing around $350…which is the cost of the new NTS you’re used to paying for plus two rescheduling fees. Your bank account is used to not having it anyway.

4. Now that you have time do to such things, pour a cup of coffee and reflect upon the irony of the AICPA testing the concepts of timeliness and real time data processing.

3. While you don’t really want to do so, grab your Regulation book and spend a few hours reviewing it so that you can answer your relatives’ tax questions over Christmas. The prospect of free CPA advice will be enticing to them and this will be the last Christmas you remember anything about taxes.

2. Put off applying for your license until after you file your tax return. This is the last tax year that you can be liberal with your tax deductions without the professional consequences of doing so.

note – criminal charges may still apply. Consult your local CPA.

(…this is tongue-in-cheek for everyone out there with the IRS Tipline on speed dial…)

1. You’re going to need a new excuse for skipping family reunions and other gatherings you would rather miss. “Sorry, I have my exam in two weeks and I need to study” will not cut it anymore. It’s time to think of a new one.



  • Anonymous

    Congrats on passing! If I took BEC in the last week of the window I should not expect my score to be out yet, correct?

  • another71.com

    Your score should roll out around Dec 15 or so…keep checking the IL BOA pdf link on the left sidebar of the blog…they’re good about keeping candidates informed.

  • Jeff

    Good list. I really like Number 1. I’ve actually used it once (summer reunion for BEC) and planning on using again come Christmas (Reg on 1/9/09).

    My number 5 is going to be a PS3 and maybe a couple games, depending on how much a PS3 is come next summer (goal).

    Number 3 wouldn’t apply to me because my relatives already think they have mastered the federal tax code. Without any formal education in the actual system. They figure that since they’ve filed so many returns in so many years and have never been audited, they know the code up and down. I don’t, nor plan to, argue. heh.

    Congrats again man.

  • Mets Tailgate

    I love Number 1. It’s so true.

    I’m not telling any more people that I’m holding off on taking my last part in May. This way I can milk it for the next 5-6 months.

  • Anonymous

    #1 just conjured a horrible realization! The one good thing about studying for the exam (aside from eventually becoming a CPA of course) is that it was a get out of jail free card for everything and ANYTHING I didn’t want to do!

    Does anyone have any ideas for a new excuse? I have some pesky in-laws who really respect the exam studying. I really really need a new one, or I’ll spend more time with them than I ever did with my study books. Hopefully I’ll be receiving a passing grade in December for my last section. Help!

  • another71.com

    Does anyone have any ideas for a new excuse?

    I suspect that this very thing was the Genesis of the CMA and CIA designation.

  • Adrienne

    This line is hilarious: reflect upon the irony of the AICPA testing the concepts of timeliness and real time data processing.

    hahahaha. You hit the nail on the head with that one.

  • Anonymous

    you are so, so right about #1. i’ve already thought up my excuse, though. i make up extra tax seasons. you know, an extra long state franchise one, a separate one that makes me work weekends in the summer, a year-end info collection period…as long as my relatives keep buying it, i’ll keep making them up!

  • Anonymous

    I love #4, and #2 cracked me up as well.

    I guess I’m weird, but to me, #1 is the best part of (hopefully) finding out later this month that I’m finally done. I’m actually ecstatic to get to spend time with any and all of both sides of my family once again.

  • espy

    Congratulations another71…I was wondering since you passed all four parts, is there an expiration meaning will i have to take the exams again after a certain number of years without a license? or will it last forever?

  • another71.com

    Thanks espy!

    I’m 99.9% sure you don’t have to take the exam again…there is probably some CPE requirements to get your license if you don’t do it in a set amount of time. I’m taking the ethics exam right away after I get all of my paperwork. I would contact your state board…you’re licensed through them…they should be able to tell you.

  • Rory

    Oh my gosh that is too funny….

  • Anonymous

    I had a question. I have passed all four parts as a registered NJ resident, but I only have 9ish months of work experience. I was thinking of trying to become a CPA in a state where there is no work requirement (i.e. DE) and then transferring it to Jersey when I finally meet the work experience requirement. That way I am eligible for a firm-CPA-passing bonus AND I can refer to myself as a CPA now. Any thoughts on this plan? Good or bad idea? How long would it take? Would NJ and DE be cool with it since I have been sitting for all of the exams as a NJ resident all this time and I have nil connections to DE?
    Thank you!

  • Li

    I have the same question as the above poster. Basically I don’t work in public, but my state requires the audit requirement, is it “cheating” if I try to get licensed in another state an call myself a cpa?

  • Anonymous

    Pretty sure you could only call yourself a CPA if you conduct business in DE then. Since each state is different, I don’t believe you could call yourself a CPA in NJ if you were licensed in DE.

  • Anonymous

    Am waiting to hear back on two scores(did not get back REG in first window), but am also in the same boat in that I do not want to go into public accounting for two years(my state minimum). Briefly tried to look up states without ?indentured servitude? to another CPA. Saw what was likely an old list that included Colorado, Puerto Rico, and a few other states I now can?t remember, I did look up the details on Colorado and saw they do have a minimum experience requirements. Anyone have and updated list of what states if any have zero experience requirements to get a CPA? As I am not signing off on tax returns or attesting financials, I do not care what state the CPA is from.

  • Anonymous

    MA has 2 different licenses…a reporting license which requires audit experience and a non-reporting license which doesn’t. Not sure if this is what you wanted to know, but thought I would share.

  • Anonymous

    I think FL also has no work experience requirements. I know someone who got a license in TX and then moved to AK (must have 500 attest hours + 4 work experience points) and she had to get re-licensed under AK law.

  • Anonymous

    According to the Illinois Board of Examiners they HOPE to receive scores on Wednesday and they HOPE to release BEC scores this week.

  • jilly

    another 71-
    was #5 on the list – happen to be you treating yourself to a new iPhone?

    You earned it.

  • another71.com

    Funny you should mention that! I just bought an LG Lotus phone and I’m buying a Traeger BBQ grill (expensive) to reward myself :)

    Thanks Jilly

  • Anonymous

    All my motivation and intelligence went out the window after passing! My brain has turned into a frat-boy, partying pile of mush. Oh well…

  • Anonymous

    I thought drinking would be the first thing on the list. It will be on mine…

  • TXwannaB

    As for needing and excuse, there is always that Continuing Education.

    As for me, I am probably going straight to rehab. Between the sleeping pills (study until 10), the wake-up pills (begin again at 5) the pain killers and muscle relaxers for reading and stairing at the screen, the blood pressure medication etc…

    Yep, rehab is probably it.

  • Anonymous

    does anyone know how long it takes to actually get licensed when all paperwork has been filed with the state board?

  • gigi

    i just pass 4 parts of the CPA exam. Can anybody tell me what is the next step? What paperwork should i fill out?
    Thanks.

  • Bee

    I received a notice that I had passed the 4 sections of the exam but i can not figure out what the next steps are. I am in NY. Any proud CPAs in NY want to offer some advice? Thanks!

  • Dumb

    For those who passed the exam and do not know what to do next, simply contact your state board or research their website. Each state may have different procedures.