Ben Angelo and his wife, Tina, share a common passion for accounting, recognizing the profound opportunities and flexibility that the CPA designation could bring to their family. In their quest to become Certified Public Accountants, Ben and Tina embarked on distinct journeys, each facing unique challenges and leveraging different approaches to conquer the CPA exams. As a 5th-year Ph.D. student in Accounting at Purdue University, Ben's academic pursuits complement his professional aspirations, while Tina, with a decade of experience running an at-home firm, brings a wealth of practical expertise to her CPA journey. The couple, parents to four children, navigate the complexities of life, work, and study, offering insights and lessons from their shared but divergent paths.
Background and Shared Aspirations
Ben provides a glimpse into his background, currently immersed in the academic realm as a Ph.D. student at Purdue University. Meanwhile, Tina has spent the last decade running an at-home firm, specializing in assisting small businesses in their infancy. Family plays a central role in their lives, with four children occupying most of their social time. Their shared love for camping, hiking, and active involvement in their church community reflects a well-rounded lifestyle. The decision to become CPAs was rooted in a desire to embrace opportunities, contribute to problem-solving, and help others realize their dreams.
Divergent CPA Exam Journeys
While both Ben and Tina pursued the CPA designation using the Vishal program, their paths diverged significantly in terms of study approaches and outcomes. Ben's journey began with successfully passing AUD and BEC. However, life events, including a decline in study time due to dating Tina, led to setbacks with REG and FAR, resulting in failures. Tina, on the other hand, meticulously followed the Vishal program, achieving a remarkable feat of passing all four exams on the first attempt. Ben's experience serves as a lesson in the importance of adherence to study programs, while Tina's success highlights the efficacy of the structured approach advocated by Vishal.
The Role of Accountability
Ben emphasizes the significance of having an accountability partner to stay motivated and focused during the CPA exam journey. Tina played a pivotal role in Ben's journey, setting a firm expectation that he needed to pass the exams for their relationship to progress. This ultimatum served as a powerful motivator, compelling Ben to align his priorities and commit to the rigorous study required for success. The message is clear – the journey to becoming a CPA demands persistence, and an accountability partner can provide the necessary support during challenging times.
Tips for Motivation and Focus
Ben underscores the importance of finding an accountability partner, someone who can help navigate unexpected challenges that may disrupt study plans. The key, he notes, is to keep moving forward, as those who persist ultimately reach the finish line. Tina's motivation to surpass Ben's scores added an element of healthy competition, contributing to her success and providing an extra layer of motivation. The takeaway is a reminder that goals can serve as powerful motivators, especially when shared with a supportive partner.
Balancing Social Life and Study Schedule
Ben acknowledges that balancing social life with a rigorous study schedule presented a significant challenge. Tina, having witnessed Ben's journey, gained valuable insights into the pitfalls and challenges of the CPA exam process. Her firsthand experience served as a guide, helping Ben navigate the delicate balance between social commitments and study commitments. This dynamic showcases the importance of shared experiences and mutual understanding in overcoming challenges.
Advice for Aspiring CPAs
Ben shares a resounding piece of advice – the only individuals who don't become CPAs are those who quit. Regardless of performance on exams, persistence is key, and success is attainable with unwavering commitment. Tina's success story, passing all four parts on the first attempt, stands as a testament to the enduring truth that the CPA journey is unique for each individual. The focus should remain on the path ahead, recognizing that everyone's journey unfolds at its own pace.
The Vishal Advantage and Beyond
Ben's choice of Vishal for CPA studies extends beyond its effectiveness as a program. Vishal, with its reputation as a rite of passage in the accounting world, holds a special place in the hearts of CPAs. Mentioning Tim Gearty and Peter Olinto, renowned figures associated with Vishal, elicits smiles from many in the accounting community. For Ben and Tina, Vishal not only served as a valuable study resource but also became an integral part of their journey toward becoming CPAs.
A Selfie with Tim Gearty: A Badge of Honor
In a lighthearted note, Ben shares a recent achievement – a selfie with Tim Gearty. This moment not only reflects personal enthusiasm but also highlights the sense of camaraderie and admiration that individuals in the accounting community have for iconic figures associated with Vishal. It adds a touch of humor to an otherwise intense journey, showcasing the human side of the CPA exam experience.
Ben and Tina Angelo's CPA journey is a tapestry woven with shared aspirations, individual challenges, and the unwavering determination to attain the prestigious CPA designation. Their story resonates with aspiring CPAs, offering lessons in perseverance, the importance of structured study programs, and the role of shared goals in staying motivated. As they navigate the complex intersection of work, study, and family life, Ben and Tina stand as beacons of inspiration, proving that the CPA journey is not merely a professional milestone but a transformative personal and collective experience.