What made you take up CPA?
During my tenure at EY, one fine day the Miles team had come to our office for a CPA roadshow. I half-heartedly attended it. But at the end of the roadshow, I had decided that this is something I had to take up. What really got me excited is its global credibility that the course offered and the various job opportunity one gets after completing the course.
What was your initial strategy after taking up CPA?
I was working with EY when I took up CPA. At EY, I had a few of my colleagues who had either completed their CPA or were pursuing one. I spoke to them at length and got a fair idea of the course – in terms of how many hours do I need to put in daily, on an average how many months it may take to clear the 4 exams, etc. Along with this, I also did some in-depth online research. It had been close to 3 years that I had left my books, so getting back to studies was tough – I had to mentally prepare myself before jumping back into books. Once I started, there was no looking back.
What was the difficulty level of all the 4 subjects per you?
Everyone says BEC is easy. Not for me though. I found BEC really tricky from the start, especially the simulations. In fact, after giving the actual exam, I thought I won’t get the required 75%. But thankfully I passed.
I had done all the WCT from Miles’s book. I did the MCQ and went through the books 4 times for BEC to completely understand it all. In fact, one of the WCT in the exam was exactly from Miles’ books. In the exam, due to the time crunch, I wasn’t able to complete the last WCT – I did what I could.
If I have to describe FAR in one word – lengthy. Initially, I thought I will do AUD and FAR together. But FAR was so vast that it took me 2.5 months to prepare for it. My strategy for FAR was to watch videos for every chapter, read the book, and then attempt the MCQs. And then repeated it all over again. I started on the simulations only after I had gone through the videos and books 3 times. For me, FAR was the smoothest exam – I knew I would clear my FAR for sure.
I did some level of auditing while I was working at EY – so I was aware of certain terms and terminologies. But yes, those terms made more sense once I started to study for my audit exam. Audit overall wasn’t too much of a hassle for me.
REG was all theory-based and tricky. You have to memorize a lot. I referred to only books and MCQ for REG.
Any particular topics you found difficult?
If I talk about Audit, I had a tough time with the “Substantive procedures” section – I found it extremely confusing. To simplify it, I made handwritten mini charts and flashcards/sheets and went through them every day. This helped me memorize and retain the information.
For FAR, I found Governmental Accounting confusing, and Limits in REG was quite tricky. Again, flashcards and mini charts worked for me here too.
Tell us how you prepared for your interview at Halliburton?
First and foremost, I made a good professional resume and updated it with my recent achievement. I then brushed up all my previous work skills, went through AUD and FAR books, and made a few pointers that I thought I may be asked. I also went through journal entries, Inventory, and AR-related topics briefly.
My interview wasn’t too technical – they focused a lot on the behavioral set of questions. But yes, one needs to be prepared for anything. I want to thank Vasudha for making it all possible. She understood what I wanted and arranged my interviews. The interview process was seamless coz of her.
Ridhi’s quick personal tips for CPA Aspirants
- One has to be very determined right from the beginning because at times your patience is tested. You have to remain positive.
- Stick to your daily target
- Take small breaks.
- Get off from distractions such as social media if possible. It will save you a lot of time,