Careers

Entering a CPA program with limited experience

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 12th, 2017 11:54 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 15, 2008
1440 posts
221 upvotes

Entering a CPA program with limited experience

I'm currently in a part-time MBA program at Laurier and I was interested in trying the CPA major in September 2018 having just completed financial accounting with a pretty good score.

To be honest, my experience in accounting is very limited as I've taken some community college and university courses in the past but am concerned about the intensity of the program as drop out rates are very high. I remember during my undergrad those that scored very high in the intro accounting courses (i.e. high 90's) were unable to stay in the CPA stream for even one semester. Unfortunately, Laurier "traps" students into paying the additional fees if they are removed (i.e. poor grades or disinterest) from the CPA stream.

I was thinking of hiring a tutor to prepare myself as my profs have highlighted the importance of understanding the concepts rather memorization. My perspective is if I do not have a complete grasp of the basics (financial and managerial accounting) that the content will be very difficult to understand moving forward.

I have approximately one year before I can enroll into the CPA program but was hoping to get some feedback of how to prepare for it. Definitely open to hearing people's thoughts/opinions/advice.
30 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
1832 posts
415 upvotes
Toronto
The field is saturated and unless you know someone to get you in the door, its going to be a long hard climb and road to get the exp. Accounting/ finance from lower to mid level is being outsourced, schools pumping out accountants by the thousands,standardization and automatize. Don't believe the CPA lies.

Many people who like accounting in school don't like accounting in real life since accounting is different in the real world.

Its better too look in another field.
Last edited by raichu1 on Oct 3rd, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Deal Addict
Jun 12, 2015
1803 posts
489 upvotes
Ontario
There's financial reporting, management accounting, strategy and governance, audit, tax, and finance you need to know/learn as an FYI.
Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2009
2089 posts
349 upvotes
Toronto
raichu1 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 3:31 pm
The field is very saturated and unless you know someone to get your in the door, its going to be a long hard climb and road to get the exp. Accounting/ finance from lower to mid level is being outsourced, schools pumping out accountants by the thousands,standardization and automatize. Don't believe the CPA lies.

Many people who like accounting in school don't like accounting in real life since accounting is different in the real world.

Its better too look in another field.
The problem right now is most other fields are also getting saturated. Lineup for trades is getting longer, and even a large portion of IT jobs are getting outsourced. Only one that isn't saturated based on here are all in the medical field. There are a few suggesting the STEM field but average STEM students aren't having a good time finding jobs based on what I've heard from my friends, and only those at the top of their class are the ones getting jobs.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 15, 2008
1440 posts
221 upvotes
raichu1 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 3:31 pm
The field is very saturated and unless you know someone to get your in the door, its going to be a long hard climb and road to get the exp. Accounting/ finance from lower to mid level is being outsourced, schools pumping out accountants by the thousands,standardization and automatize. Don't believe the CPA lies.

Many people who like accounting in school don't like accounting in real life since accounting is different in the real world.

Its better too look in another field.
blitzforce wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 3:56 pm
The problem right now is most other fields are also getting saturated. Lineup for trades is getting longer, and even a large portion of IT jobs are getting outsourced. Only one that isn't saturated based on here are all in the medical field. There are a few suggesting the STEM field but average STEM students aren't having a good time finding jobs based on what I've heard from my friends, and only those at the top of their class are the ones getting jobs.
Indeed. Jobs in ON are hard to come by. TBH, I considered the CPA as it was an option in our MBA program. At this stage I'm trying to find what I like and accounting was one of them. Without question it's a demanding stream and not to mention passing the common entrance exam and finding a job-I'll be in my early 30s by this point.

Appreciate the insights all.
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
1832 posts
415 upvotes
Toronto
kenvin100 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 4:16 pm
Indeed. Jobs in ON are hard to come by. TBH, I considered the CPA as it was an option in our MBA program. At this stage I'm trying to find what I like and accounting was one of them. Without question it's a demanding stream and not to mention passing the common entrance exam and finding a job-I'll be in my early 30s by this point.

Appreciate the insights all.

Is there something you want to do? That will help you get through the hard times.

It is a good idea to do accounting as a minor so that you can understand financial statements and taxes. Before going into the program full time do financial reporting, cost accounting and taxes to see if you are still interested in the field.
Jr. Member
Aug 5, 2017
102 posts
20 upvotes
raichu1 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 3:31 pm
The field is very saturated and unless you know someone to get your in the door, its going to be a long hard climb and road to get the exp. Accounting/ finance from lower to mid level is being outsourced, schools pumping out accountants by the thousands,standardization and automatize. Don't believe the CPA lies.

Many people who like accounting in school don't like accounting in real life since accounting is different in the real world.

Its better too look in another field.
What about people who don't like accounting in school ? Think there's a chance they might like that in real life ?
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
1832 posts
415 upvotes
Toronto
dante01 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 4:51 pm
What about people who don't like accounting in school ? Think there's a chance they might like that in real life ?
With hundreds of thousands of "accountants" in Canada (CPA Canada boost 200K membership), I believe that you can find someone with who any profile. That is like asking if there is an AP clerk who likes doing AP. Sure, there is a chance.

In my exp, met tons of accountants/ financial analyst who dislike or hate the field.
Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2009
2089 posts
349 upvotes
Toronto
raichu1 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 4:55 pm
With hundreds of thousands of "accountants" in Canada (CPA Canada boost 200K membership), I believe that you can find someone with who any profile. That is like asking if there is an AP clerk who likes doing AP. Sure, there is a chance.

In my exp, met tons of accountants/ financial analyst who dislike or hate the field.
I feel like no one ever likes their field of work. Even if you initially like the moment, as time passes, you will slowly start despising it. You just need to find a job that you can tolerate long-term. Even people that plays video games for a living (players that plays in e-sports and streams on twitch) will get burnt out over time.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 15, 2008
1440 posts
221 upvotes
raichu1 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 4:49 pm
Is there something you want to do? That will help you get through the hard times.

It is a good idea to do accounting as a minor so that you can understand financial statements and taxes. Before going into the program full time do financial reporting, cost accounting and taxes to see if you are still interested in the field.
I'll make my story brief. I've worked in retail (gas station) for a couple years and wasn't gaining any serious traction. I looked into the MBA program as an escape into another field where I can possibly make a decent living and find something I enjoy. Customer service sucks. Period. LOL. However, 4 months into the MBA, I've been hearing and receiving "good signs" of promotion running my own retail business. I'm on the fence right now because franchising is a great opportunity, it's lot of work/stress (like any job today), but as I mentioned I'm losing interest in customer service. Now I didn't say no but I didn't agree to anything as I've just started my MBA-which is something my employers are already aware of.

To be completely honest, I find that I'm really good at school in general. For instance, my undergrad marks were high enough I received exemption from completing the GMAT exam. I was thinking if it was possible to find some field of work in the post-secondary system but I don't think an MBA will take me there.

TL:DR Mid 20's clusterf*ck life crisis. I should really change the thread title to "WTF am I going in life" LMAO.
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
1832 posts
415 upvotes
Toronto
blitzforce wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 5:15 pm
I feel like no one ever likes their field of work. Even if you initially like the moment, as time passes, you will slowly start despising it. You just need to find a job that you can tolerate long-term. Even people that plays video games for a living (players that plays in e-sports and streams on twitch) will get burnt out over time.
I love the problem aspect of accounting but it is hard to find a job. Every career/ position have things one isn't fond of doing. It is about the over all aspect.
Last edited by raichu1 on Oct 3rd, 2017 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
1832 posts
415 upvotes
Toronto
kenvin100 wrote:
Oct 3rd, 2017 6:17 pm
I'll make my story brief. I've worked in retail (gas station) for a couple years and wasn't gaining any serious traction. I looked into the MBA program as an escape into another field where I can possibly make a decent living and find something I enjoy. Customer service sucks. Period. LOL. However, 4 months into the MBA, I've been hearing and receiving "good signs" of promotion running my own retail business. I'm on the fence right now because franchising is a great opportunity, it's lot of work/stress (like any job today), but as I mentioned I'm losing interest in customer service. Now I didn't say no but I didn't agree to anything as I've just started my MBA-which is something my employers are already aware of.

To be completely honest, I find that I'm really good at school in general. For instance, my undergrad marks were high enough I received exemption from completing the GMAT exam. I was thinking if it was possible to find some field of work in the post-secondary system but I don't think an MBA will take me there.

TL:DR Mid 20's clusterf*ck life crisis. I should really change the thread title to "WTF am I going in life" LMAO.
In accounting, you will be dealing with all types of people and have to have customer service skills. If you are really that good, then why not go into medicine or an in-demand engineering field? Have you seen a career guide person? You can take test to see which careers are you suited for. Some will say find what you love to do then find how to make money doing it.
Sr. Member
Aug 19, 2016
829 posts
298 upvotes
It sounded like you are an academic person.
Ever thought about going into teaching? If you are good with school, go get a PhD in something you like.

For me, I am bad in school. I hate to read all those things just to get one concept. Although I do a lot of reading on my own spare time, but I don't like school (don't know why). I guess I like to read things and apply them rather get tested on them, weird.
I am more of a practical guy that can learn new things quickly.

I remember back in school taking Advanced Financial Accounting. I hated that thing. Tried to pass the course with minimum studying. Fast forward 8 years, I actually read the latest Advanced Financial Accounting text book from cover to cover because my job demands it. However, I am sure I will fail on a test if I was tested on the materials. Academia likes to make simple things hard.
Jr. Member
Apr 18, 2017
118 posts
34 upvotes
I agree with people, if you are an academic person, I would go into a more concentrated/specialized field like medicine or engineering over accounting. You'll make a lot more money that way. What about law?
Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2009
2089 posts
349 upvotes
Toronto
hockeyfan1990 wrote:
Oct 4th, 2017 8:19 am
I agree with people, if you are an academic person, I would go into a more concentrated/specialized field like medicine or engineering over accounting. You'll make a lot more money that way. What about law?
Law is even more customer service oriented than accounting IMO. I've worked in law firms before and I feel like unless you really like customer service you will hate the field because you will be dealing with crappy customers or other lawyers.

Top