Introducing Club 75 Blogger: Jay O

Jay is beginning his weekly column as a Club 75 Blogger as he documents his journey through the CPA Exam. He has been a member of Club 75 since April 2010.

Hello Future CPAs, my name is Jay and I’ve been hand picked by Jeff Elliott to give you the blow by blow of my daily life managing a career, studying for the CPA exam and spending quality time with my family (not necessarily in that order).

I am a 33-year-old dad working on Wall Street as a financial controller for a $1Bn+ trading business at a large investment bank. The hours are not as bad as they were earlier in my career, but 10 hour days are the average and as with everything in life that varies from day to day.

My wife and two adorable little girls are the primary reason I’m putting myself through this hell known as the CPA exam.

Personal accomplishment? No, not really.

For me, it’s all about staying relevant in a quickly changing financial environment, building my knowledge-base and in turn my resume, to hopefully give me an edge over all the other guys and gals trying to become CFOs and increase their earning potential. For those who didn’t see it, there was a well-known bank analyst that recently released a report on Wall Street Investment Banks and she’s forecasting 10% or 80,000 layoffs within the next year in the industry.

That’s what drives me to come home after a long day’s work, scarf down a quick dinner, kiss my girls goodnight and hit the Becker CPA Review DVD.

Now, some background on where I stand in my journey to becoming a CPA. I got my first set of Becker materials for FAR in April of this year (2010). I studied 300+ hours for FAR, including 2-4 hours each weeknight and 5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday’s. Unfortunately, I skimmed Not For Profit and Governmental Accounting and failed with a 68.

I have since re-reviewed FAR and retaken it in the last few weeks, but certainly didn’t commit the 25 hours per week for this last effort. It was a combination of trying to target my studying and the summer distractions are really tough to overcome. My fingers are crossed and I’ve moved onto Audit. I’m currently on the first chapter of Becker Audit review and hoping to sit for the exam in early October.

So, here’s my study plan for the week. I really need to focus this weekend and get through a good part of the material, as the last few weekends have been light on progress.

Problem #1: We have a birthday party over 50 miles away on Saturday for the children. Normally we’d skip it, but it’s a milestone 1st Birthday for the child of very good friends, which we haven’t seen since New Year’s Eve. It’s in the early afternoon, so my plan will be to hit Starbucks in the morning and try to get 3-4 hours logged before the party. It’s less time than I’d like, but I will try to add hours on Sunday, as well as during the week.

Problem #2: Sunday is the first day of swim classes at the YMCA with my 3-year-old daughter. After a brutal FAR study season, my wife and I thought this would be a good activity for just the two of us to bond, as she really did miss her daddy when I was battling FAR. I think it’s sometime in the late morning, so after the swim class, I’ll be at the library or Starbucks for a good 5-6 hours.

So much for the first Sunday of NFL football (my favorite thing to do on a Sunday), not going to happen this weekend.

After that, I plan to do 2-3 hours each night Mon-Friday. Check in with me next week and I’ll let you know how well I followed the plan.

For all of you out there with schedules as hectic or more hectic than mine, you can do it. It’s just a matter of discipline….and coffee. Good Luck.

Jay-O