2019 Post Alumna Teresa Marangon passed all four CPA exams. She is now working as an auditor at Keiter CPA. Marangon enjoys working for a firm that allows her to experience different industries, including construction, not-for-profit, insurance and employer benefit plans, as well as observing various inventory counts.
Marangon was asked the following questions to provide some advice to future accounting graduates at Post University as well as share some insight as to how her degree not only helped her pass the CPA exams and acquire an auditing position, but how it also led to her discovery that accounting was her passion.
What is some advice you would give to future Post alumni with an accounting degree for when they are studying and/or taking their CPA exams?
“You do not need to remember everything, and also don’t give up. It took me 18 months to pass the CPA exam. I failed FAR 3 times, BEC and REG once, and I only passed AUD on my first try. My advice for you is to never give up and take it one step at a time because while knowing the materials is one of the keys to success, your mindset when you walk in is what is going to make a difference. I was ready to give up, but I had already paid for some sections, so I decided to give it a try anyway. And then I passed one. And then I failed the next one and got fed up, so I spent multiple hours after work just going over multiple-choice questions for two weeks before I took that section again. Two weeks later, I found out I passed. So I moved on to the next one. I read a summary of the materials – reading the entire book and watching the lectures didn’t work for me – and then I went over multiple-choice questions until my scores in the different Blueprints were 75 or higher. Then, I took the test and passed.
The last exam was FAR, which I had already failed 3 times in 2019. I was fed up with these exams and with the CPA materials software, so I obsessively studied, and I walked into the exam with the “I am never doing this again” attitude. And then I passed. Also, I am fully aware this probably didn’t play any role into my success, but I noticed a pattern between an outfit and passing scores so I wore the same outfit every time I took the exam and I ended up passing. Pretty sure it was just a coincidence and I am also pretty sure I was tricking myself into thinking the outfit was lucky. But at the same time, I never took phycology as an elective so I could be totally wrong and the outfit was, as a matter of fact, my lucky outfit.”
How did your degree at Post prepare you for these exams?
“Post gave me a good foundation for the materials covered in the exams, but the main contribution was getting me to a point where I was mentally ready to take the exams. Not to discourage anybody, but these exams are brutal and anything could happen. I would say that being talked into taking Honors accounting classes gives you a nice preview of how demanding the exam is. In addition, I was able to design my classes in a way that could help me take in as much information as I could.
I am an Accounting and Business Administration undergraduate, but I also completed a Certificate in Forensic Accounting, as well as a minor in Legal Studies. Did I want to be a CPA when I first started at Post University? Absolutely not; I came in as a Business Administration major, and I just happened to be sitting in the right class at the right time. I was fascinated about how everything has to balance, sort of like everyday life with work and friends and whatnot.
I added accounting as a major, and for the following three years, I tried to give the best I could in my classes. I took some Honors accounting classes, which did not make my life easy, but at least I learned a lot and at the end paid off, not only with the exams but also helped me accept that there will always be something you don’t know and that if you don’t know something, or if you keep making the same mistake, you should stop for a moment and analyze the situation. You should ask yourself these questions: “What am I doing wrong?”, “Why do I still make this mistake?”, “Am I missing a piece of information?”.
My degrees at Post University really helped me improve my critical thinking skills because trust me when I say that accounting is not the type of major where you just have to memorize the book. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized I wanted to be a CPA. During the summer between my junior and senior year, I started thinking about what I wanted to do once I left Post University and I realized that in the previous three years I didn’t work hard in my accounting classes just because I wanted a good grade or I wanted to be on the President’s List, but that my hard work was driven by the fact I actually liked what I was doing. So after you realize that you actually like reconciling differences and analyzing depreciation schedules, or even trying to bring down the imaginary client’s taxable income to the most convenient rate, you sort of have to go into public or at least work as an accountant somewhere.”