JoMarie is a past NINJA CPA Blogger. She looks back on her journey and the year since she passed the CPA Exam.
Jeff asked me to write a follow up blog since it’s been a year since I passed the CPA exam. It’s taken me a while to figure out what to write. I wasn’t sure what to write, so I figured I’ll just tell you, fellow NINJAs, my exam journey, and the outcome of my journey.
Let me start off by telling you my exam journey. I started to sit for the exam back in May of 2002. Back in the paper and pencil days. From 2002 to 2008, I sat for exams on and off. I got married and had my oldest daughter, life just got in the way.
Finally my husband and I got tired of driving a million miles a day in total opposite directions and never being able to have a “normal” family life. During the week we would never be able to see each other. On weekends we were always rushed between getting ready for the crazy week ahead, family gatherings, and catching up on sleep. We decided to work together and pass this monster of an exam.
From May 2008 to July 2012, I sat for exams window after window, with the exception of one window since I was pregnant with our second daughter. I never gave up. Don’t get me wrong, I came very close to giving up a few times, especially when the scores came in and I was a few points away from passing.
At one point, I had passed REG, FAR, & BEC. I really struggled with Audit. I couldn’t pass it. No matter what I did.
While I was on Maturity Leave I was studying for Audit and was on a chat site through my online review course. They told me about Another71.com and how the support from fellow CPA candidates was amazing. That’s when I made some amazing friends, who I still keep in touch through Facebook.
My husband, friends, and family were great supporters, but there’s nothing like talking to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through, even if it’s not face-to-face.
Once I became active with Another71, I started to get my credits back. I passed REG in August 2011, then Audit, finally, in October 2011, then FAR in May 2012, lastly, BEC in July 2012. Yes you are reading the dates right, within one year I passed all four parts.
With 2 kids running around the house, husband working out of town, and working full time with a long commute to and from the office, I passed the exam. I made every free moment I had a study moment. Whether I was in the car driving and listening to NINJA Audio, working on MCQs before the girls woke up in the a.m., during lunch, and after the girls went to bed, I studied.
Even on the weekends, when the family gatherings came up or the groceries needed to be bought, my husband took care of it. He even brought the girls with him everywhere so I could have a quiet house to study.
Well, all that hard work paid off. Like I said before, I passed my final part in July 2012. By early November of 2012 I had my license in hand and by November 30th I became partner of my firm. My boss, who also was a huge supporter, retired and I stepped up to the plate.
It was probably the easiest and hardest transition. Easiest because all the clients knew me and I worked with them very closely. Hardest, because I was starting right in the beginning of tax season. All of you know what a crazy time of the year it is.
Of course, with the change of ownership, came change in staff. A couple of the girls that worked in the office were daughters of my boss, and they didn’t want to work in public accounting anymore. I had to hire a new full time person and train them while getting ready for the craziest time of the year.
I was fortunate to have the staff that remained with me step up to the plate and help out tremendously. They worked extra hours when needed without question. Now we have a full staff and ready to face another tax season.
At home, things changed a bit. My husband was laid off a few months after my take over. You would think that would be a nightmare, but we turned it into a blessing in disguise. He was able to find a job closer to home, so now only one of us is driving out of town for work.
The job he found is part time and works out great for us. He’s working nights, after I get home from the office, so one of us is always home with the girls. Without the expense of daycare and extra needed fuel, we are finally getting ahead.
Just last week we were finally able to take a family vacation to Florida. We played on the beach, soaked in the sun, and even visited Mickey Mouse. The girls were in heaven. That was one vacation that was long overdue.
Our next journey is to buy a house closer to my office so we can finally have a “normal” family life.
As you can see no one’s journey is going to be easy. It’s going to take time, patience, and perseverance. If I can do it, you can do it. Never give up!!
Read more NINJA CPA Exam Success Stories on the Blog and Forum.
Great to have you post again JoMarie!
Thanks for an inspiring post. There are days I think I won't make it, but your story has given me encouragement.
This is a very encouraging journey particularly since I have just began the journey and I am already in panic mode. Sometimes I wonder if I have the tenacity to go all the way. I know that I can achieve this once I put my mind to it.
Congratulatios ! When I read the stories like this, I want to start to believe that I can do it too. However, I lost my hope and strength. I sat for AUD -68 and REG - 70. I just dont have enough courage to fail again - similar scenario - full time job with excessive amount of hours, 2 kids and no close relatives to help.
It may not have felt like it at the time, but you are a true inspiration for those of us still in the "thick of things". Congratulations!
I needed this story! Thanks for sharing. *Opens BEC Book; Round 4 here we go...*
JoMarie, What did you do differently when you finally started passing sections the last time? (your 'recipe' for success?)
Very inspirational and a great lesson for all working women - we can do it all with determination and support!
I truly enjoyed reading your blog.. I admire ur perseverance ... COngratulations for not only passing CPA but also exploring your potentials in the hardest times!