During my CPA journey, I was writing as many as 17 posts a month. It was mainly because I tried to share my PEP experience as real time as possible. Then, I passed CFE, finished PERT and got my designation in 2022. Then, I stopped posting on jenthinks as much as I used to because I was no longer going from one established milestone to another. While I have always been active on Instagram stories, the shorter form of content simply does not convey my message the same way long-form posts can. The slow update was not because life got in the way. It was mostly because I lost the structure I once had when I was going through such a structured program. Not a complaint – more like an objective observation.
But sharing my journey has always been one of the reasons why I kept on going. I am not sharing tips or lessons today. I am simply updating you on what happened since I got my CPA designation over a year ago.
I Was Promoted to Senior Accountant
In fact, I asked for the title months before I got my CPA designation. I applied to a revenue role just before I wrote CFE and asked if I can get a title change to Senior Accountant. I did not get it then. Then, I wrote and passed CFE. Three months later, I got the approval for PERT and applied for my designation. My then-manager started the promotion process around the same time and I was promoted shortly after I got my designation. It came with a nice pay bump which I likely would not have gotten if I got the title change months prior. While my job responsibilities did not change dramatically, the expectations changed in the best way possible. In my opinion, the higher expectations had to do with both the promotion and the designation. My job description changed with the promotion so I naturally took on new tasks. However, I was also expected to deliver as I was no longer a student. It went well as I had a great mentor and team. A safe and encouraging learning environment was key to a successful transition.
I was in that role for just under a year before I moved on to where I am today. I have not technically outgrown it because there were always things to learn. I mainly moved on when the manager I had a tremendous amount of respect for left. It just felt like the right time for change so I did.
I Was Truly In Charge Of What to Focus My Time On In The Evenings & On the Weekends
One thing to expect after your CPA designation is the amount of free time you get back. There are no more module workshops, assignments and exams.. You suddenly have full control of your evenings and weekends again. I felt the same and tried learning different things:
- I started a Python course and stopped a couple of months later
- It was very mentally challenging and while I decided to take a break from it, I have full intention to pick it up again later down the road
- I played around with Excel’s VBA and macros
- I was able to do some pretty cool things with VBA & macros (e.g., sending an email on Outlook with the tab as a PDF attachment)
- Unlike Python, I was able to apply what I learned about VBA & macros at work instantly which created a very encouraging feedback loop that kept me going
- I stopped learning Japanese which I started when I was prepping for CFE
- Duolingo got me nowhere after I learned most of the alphabets of Japanese; however, it was still a nice distraction for when CFE prep became a bit too much
- I consolidated what I learned from my CPA journey and released digital products like the PERT guides
- I was glad I worked on them when my memories were still fresh from my own experience; if I had waited, I probably will not recall the details included in my guides
- I travelled and visited family for weeks without worrying about assignments or exams at all
- not having to worry about school deadlines or exam dates really made the trips more carefree
I Started A New Job At Another Tech Company As A Senior Accountant
I looked, negotiated, looked again, negotiated again before signing an offer for where I am today. While some might switch job to get a promotion (i.e. in my case, it would be applying for positions like controller), I decided to apply to Senior Accountant roles. While I do believe in luck when it comes to job search, I also attribute my success to knowing exactly what I was looking for:
- an experienced and competent management team (specifically, my direct manager)
- trust me, management makes or breaks the job. while people do come and go, bad management adds to the stressful nature of starting a new job
- team culture that fosters trust, communication and teamwork
- I am not looking for coworkers-turned-best friends but I know teams that trust each other and actually work together also make or break the job
- a company in need of processes
- I was eager to be the one that cleans up messes and/or creates something from scratch so I was interested in companies with the right team but not necessarily the right processes (yet)
- an interview process free of red flags
- I appreciate hiring managers that make quick decisions because they know what they are looking for; I think that shows respect
- fair compensation structure for my background and skills
- I turned down more than one interview requests when the base salaries were below $100,000 because I did not want to waste the interviewer’s and my time if our expectations were too far apart
- however, I did not take the highest offer at the end because compensation was far from being the only factor I looked at
As of the writing of this post, I just concluded the 7th week at my new job. My friends have been asking me how it has been and I honestly have no complaint. While there were more technical challenges than I have ever encountered, I also experienced the steep learning curve that I was craving unknowingly for a while. There were days I would excitedly tell Eric how good I truly was after solving an issue or understanding what the issue was (small wins, right?). Then there were others days I realized areas I needed to make it a priority to improve on. Meanwhile, the management team was as supportive and collaborative as I hoped from the interviews I had.
If you asked me three years ago, I will tell you I fear this is just the honeymoon phase. But I have learned and grown so much in the last three years. I know I am very much in control of the narrative of my life. Making a conscious decision on how I respond to what happens to me is something that is very much in my control. If a situation or environment no longer serves its purposes to me, I can either work on changing it or moving on from it. There is no need to keep yourself where you are just because some people might not agree or support. Put yourself first.