Hi there, and welcome to the forum!
I am a non-traditional CPA exam candidate, if you will. I earned my associate degree in accounting in 1992, worked in the field for a while, and then completed my bachelor of science in public accounting in 1998. I worked in the field for some time, and eventually accepted an adjunct accounting teaching position at a local college. I soon found that I wanted to make a position in education my life's work. So, I completed my master of business administration degree with an emphasis in accounting several years ago and was hired for a full-time faculty position.
I initially chose not to take the CPA exam after college because I really didn't want to work in public accounting. So, I thought it wouldn't be that valuable a designation for me. I later regretted that decision and considered sitting for the exam many times. I even purchased some of the Gleim materials. Unfortunately, I was overwhelmed with the content, and at that time, all four parts of the exam were tested at once (and offered only twice a year).
The nagging feeling of wanting to get my CPA continued to visit me, and when I learned that IFRS will be included starting in 2011 (and BEC modified also), that was all I needed to motivate me to do this once and for all. I have been qualified to sit for this exam for years and never felt it was a good time to do the work, and I wondered whether there would be any benefit. I have never regretted bettering myself or pursuing further education.
Anyway, here I am studying for my final section (BEC), which I plan to sit for next month. I am using Becker's materials, and I paid for them out-of-pocket. I decided to bite the bullet and go with the best review course. I have purchased Gleim and Bisk in the past, but I must say that Becker does a great job of teaching and condensing the content for effective use of time. I am married with two boys, and my youngest has special needs. I work full-time plus, so it's worth the cost to minimize study time and pass the first time. So far, I've passed with flying colors, and if all goes well, I'll have passed all four sections on the first try in less than six months. Along with the regular Becker course, I also bought the flashcards, which were very helpful for theory topics especially. I did not buy their final review, as I couldn't justify the added expense or time. I have my own way of bringing everything together for the final weeks before the exam.
It hasn't been easy, espeically balancing work, family and study time, but I have a supportive family. My hubby insisted that I get a laptop so I could take my studying on the go or to a quiet room in the house. It wasn't an easy decision to do this. As you must know, it's an all-or-nothing endeavor. I talked with my family about it, and with their support, I was able to press forward. I scheduled my exams tightly, as I wanted to hold myself to a condensed time frame. I would rather study harder for a shorter amount of time. The sooner I'm done, the sooner I can get back to my normal family routine.
For me the CPA credential pursuit is a personal and professional goal. I think it will give me more credibility in my profession and increase my effectiveness as an instructor. Personally, it's a challenge and achievement I know I'll never regret.
I hope this is helpful, and I'd love to hear about your background. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one tackling this later in the game.
FAR - 94 (7/10)
AUD - 99 (8/20)
REG - 99 (10/15)
BEC - 88 (11/20)