CERTIFIED: Waiting on scores

Written on May 31, 2018

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Certified follows a group of aspiring CPAs while they prepare for and take the various sections of the CPA exam. We started following our candidates in May 2016, and this is part five of Janeen Smith-Hughes’ story. Read the first parts here.

Janeen Smith-Hughes credits her age for her pragmatic attitude toward the CPA exam.

janeen-smith-hughes“That’s the thing you learn,” she said. “I’m 35, and at 23 or 24 I would have said passing all four in this length of time is impossible. But it is fine, I’ll pass all four, and I’ve got to get my year of experience anyway. So even if I knocked it out of the park and passed them all, I’d still be sitting and waiting for my license for a whole year.”

Her goal is to have every section passed by the end of the year. She’ll have taken each one in a span of about four months and finish by October. Many aspiring CPAs stretch out the study time to the full 18 months that’s allowed, but Smith-Hughes isn’t interested in running out the clock. Still, she likes knowing the option is there.

“I’m to the point in my life where I understand not everything can go on my schedule all the time. You have to make plans to give yourself some wiggle room,” she said. “By allowing myself not to start work immediately and take the summer off, I gave myself good wiggle room.”

She has accepted a position as a staff accountant at a Columbus accounting firm. Once she goes back to work full time, she isn’t concerned that it will affect her study schedule. Her kids are back in school, and she plans to work through assignments in the mornings before they wake up, as well as on her lunch break.

Despite the strain studying put on her schedule this summer, Smith-Hughes said she was still able to enjoy herself and spend time with her family. They’ve gone on vacation, taken trips and attended festivals and events.

“That’s why I’m not working; I made enough time so I could still have a life,” she said. “Everybody doesn’t have the ability to do that, especially someone who is changing jobs and their career like I am. Fortunately I financially don’t have to worry about these three months I took off after graduation, so we can make it happen.”

Next time: The results of BEC and REG

Sponsored by MDS CPA Review and Yaeger CPA Review.

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