Thursday

Am I On The Right Profession?

This might sound frustrating or maybe a wake-up call, not just for me but for others that have the same fate on their chosen career path.

My Career Story:

Since I graduated from secondary school 3 decades ago, all I believe was to be a professional accountant someday. Believe me, I have tried in the past many years until lately, I reached the point that I exhausted most of my resources to become a US CPA or/and Canadian Chartered Accountant (CA) in the near future.

I have been educated in 3 countries: Philippines, Canada and the US.

My Philippines Training (1982 – 1985)
University of San Agustin, October 1985 (Grad Ceremony - 1986)
The pursuit for my professional accounting designation started when I received my degree in Bachelor of Science in Commerce, major in Accounting from University of San Agustin in my country of origin, the Republic of the Philippines. My pursuit did not stop in the Philippines and was continued when I went abroad.

My Canadian Training (1994 – Present)

University of British Columbia, May 2002
When I arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, I continued my training. In 1993, I got my school credentials evaluated, and started taking update courses through the Institute of Chartered of Accountants of British Columbia (ICABC) with their former Graduate Admission Program (GAP) in 1994. After taking some courses from this program, the ICABC discontinued this program and a new program called Diploma in Accounting Program (DAP) was created through University of British Columbia (UBC).

Due to some unfortunate circumstances, my chances to continue with the CA program were so slim during that time; the acceptance rate for me in an internship was in the 1% to 0% probability range. So since my last employment at KPMG, I decided to take more training in accounting in Canada, and the US. Thus, I pursued my Diploma in Accounting Program and received my credential at UBC in 2002. Also, I resumed my pursuit for my US CPA designation, worked part-time while helping my other half raising our three children at the same time.

I had worked for at least 4 accounting firms in the past (including KPMG in 2000). It had given me some experience in an accounting office environment. In these past employments, I had assisted partners, managers, supervisors, other senior officers either in the capacity of an entry-level Accountant, Tax Preparer, Administrative, or/and part of the auditing and tax teams.

My US Training (1999 – 2010)
At Tim Hortons, one of my last US CPA review sessions in February 14, 2010 (with my son), Delta, BC Canada (just finished watching a soccer exhibition game with youth soccer teams.

After my last employment as an entry-level accountant with one Chartered Accountants firms in 2007, I took a full-time time off from paid work (except on tax season). I got involved in volunteering at sports-related activities, NPOs that most of my family are involved in. I was a youth soccer coach (3 years), NPO registrar (1 year), NPO Treasurer (1 year) and Fields and Gym Liaison (5years). Also, I have been a Website Manager (3 years), Amateur Photographer (4yrs) NPO Financial Statement Reviewer (4 years); Lit Field Coordinator (5 yrs) and Income Tax Preparer (16 yrs).
Based on the hours I put in with these volunteering duties, it was more like a full-time work without pay for 4 years! Besides not earning income, my family didn’t mind it, since I spent more time with them, especially with their sports related activities. Also, I resumed on reviewing for my US CPA designation in 2008.
The nice thing about writing the CPA examination requires no internship requirement, unlike in Canada. Work experience is not required until applying for CPA membership for most US states. I passed three sections total: (1) Business Environment Concepts (BEC) in 1999; (2) Auditing and Attestation (Audit) in 2008 and (3) Regulations (REG) in 2009.

I have tried my CPA pursuit until year 2010, but just ran out of resources. I find out, I need more accounting work related experience for accounting section, especially with the simulations/cases. This type of work experience can only be acquired through working as a staff accountant or higher accounting positions at a firm, or self-employment. Believe me, I have tried accounting self-employment, but not having an accounting designation is always a huge barrier in getting paid clients.

I did not have much of difficulties in passing my Audit and REG since I have been a Canadian tax preparer for 2 decades now. This tax work experience came from working with at least 4 accounting firms, self-employment, and voluntary work. As to my Audit section, since the exam was mostly theory, and writing skills was a huge help in passing this section, it was not as difficult as the other section(s) to pass. Also, in the last few years, I have been volunteering to do a not-for-profit (NPO)’s financial statement review, so this too helped my Audit exam.

Lately, I decided to take more training before writing my next CPA exams again. I thought the best way to pass these exams is to start by gaining more accounting related work experience. Recently, I started sending out applications to accounting firms again. Based on recent findings, job opportunities are still scarce for ambitious future Chartered Accountants (CA) interns. My probably rate to get hired in a CA firm approved for internship is still 1% to 0% range. It hasn’t really changed much since then, and probably it never will, until I receive my US CPA designation first! It is a sad fact.

My Online Training (2007 – Present)

There is no point on knocking doors that don’t want to open. So lately, I have done a job-related skills inventory about myself. I cut down with my sports related voluntary duties, and concentrate more on finding paid employment. Also, I checked with some of available resources for me to get employed, and actually get paid. This time I have taken into consideration looking for accounting and non-accounting work over the Internet.

Being active online and spending so much time on networking site like Twitter and Facebook, I learned that there is available paid work for someone like me on the Internet. My personal skills and work experience evaluation has told me, I like social networking, advertising and promotion, managing sites, writing blogs and wrote so many simulation/cases during my pursuit for my US CPA and Canadian CA designations for many years. Also, I have good general knowledge about business and personal topics in nature, so why not be a Creative Writer!

My Decision

With all the years I spent with my accounting career, mentally, emotionally, and financially, it is so hard to just simply write it off. But since there are no doors opening for me with my pursuit of being a US CPA or/and Canadian CA in the near future, I will just put it aside for now. Probably, I might try applying with non-CA firms; I might have better chances of getting an accounting related work. I will definitely go for doors that are open, to keep me employable, even it is a non-accounting related work.

So for the meantime, it looks like I will continue my unemployed accountant title (until things changed), and be a Creative Writer instead. Consider this post as my first writing.

All inquires/comments please contact me at:

Earla RiopelBSCom(USA), DipAcc(UBC)
Main Sites:  Website ; Twitter ; LinkedIn ; Facebook ; Blog

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