This week's Meet the Roger CPA Review Team Q&A Series is with Eva Arnold, CPA - Course Coordinator. Learn more about Eva's military background, why she decided to become a CPA, and her advice on how to pass the CPA Exam.
And now, without further ado, here's...
A Q&A with Eva Arnold, CPA, Course Coordinator at Roger CPA Review
What do you do at Roger CPA Review?
I do writing, editing and research for our product development, and I also contribute to the Homework Help Center as the ‘HHC Administrator.’ Right now I am working closely with our software development team on a project to bring the course into full compliance with the 2017 CPA Exam. Along with other Content Team members I am also constantly working on improvements and additions to our practice questions and other course materials. I held an unusual teaching job for 4.5 years where I trained Army recruits for a high-stakes final exam while also contributing to curriculum development; my work at Roger CPA Review allows me to marry my love of teaching with my love of accounting.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Roger CPA Review?
I love the work/life balance. For the right candidate, most companies will allow a remote work arrangement with some flexibility, and fortunately Roger CPA Review offered me such a setup. It allows me to be home when my older daughters get home from school and to see my younger daughters off for daycare each morning. Sometimes I can take a couple hours to visit one of my children at school or daycare for special events, and that’s really wonderful. At my previous job as a financial analyst, I also loved the work but the work/life balance just wasn’t there.
How does your current position influence what you’re passionate about?
It’s really funny you ask because I’m not only the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client. Which is to say I was a Roger CPA Review customer before working for them. I loved Roger’s teaching style and the outrageous things he’d say. Without his energy and knack for getting to the heart of the matter, I’m not sure I could have done what I did. While passing each exam section on the first try I worked part-time for Roger CPA Review as a Question Collaborator, worked full-time as an Army contract trainer, made progress toward a Master of Science in Accounting, and took care of our four small children while my husband worked long hours. So I was already a pretty big fan of Roger CPA Review. Now I get to work for them, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
As Course Coordinator for Roger CPA Review, what do you see students struggling with the most right now while preparing for the CPA exam?
There’s always pension accounting. :-) But besides the various more difficult topics such as pensions and overhead variance analysis, I think a major struggle might be that some students get focused on the goal of passing and forget to take time to study with a focus on truly understanding the material vs. a focus on memorizing it.
Why did you decide to become a CPA?
Well, I have a background in classical music and was even a Piano Performance major for a semester, and I think that had something to do with it. My favorite composer to study was Bach, whose music rewards intensive study by revealing jaw-dropping logical complexity and elegance, which made playing it incredibly moving for me. So not surprisingly I loved accounting from the very first accounting course I took – I loved the logical elegance – and as I got near to completing an online Bachelor’s in Business Administration I decided I wanted to continue with accounting.
The online degree had been very convenient with my husband serving in the U.S. Army and our living in different parts of the country, but I knew online degrees came with a bit of a stigma. I figured if I pursued my love of accounting by taking and passing the CPA Exam, potential employers would see I really did know my stuff. Of course, at that point I had to sign up for an online Master’s degree in order to gain the necessary credits just to sit for the exam.
How were you able to juggle your personal and work/study time while studying for and taking the CPA exam? Any advice to CPA Candidates?
I woke up early most mornings to study, and I was just very focused; it felt kind of like a game to me. In fact, if you enjoy video games or computer games, I would recommend dropping them during your CPA Exam journey and instead make progressing through the sections of your review course into your ‘game.’ Really study and analyze the processes and routines that make up your daily life and find areas where you can improve in efficiency, freeing up time for CPA Exam study.
Lastly, be brutally honest about your progress and understand that you don’t really ‘know’ something until you can execute in that area at a high level, consistently – I remember working through the Corporate Tax homework several times until I was scoring 90% or more consistently. Remember, amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong – see also this informative and hilarious video.
How has passing the exams affected your personal and professional life?
It’s made a huge difference. The biggest impact was that I was able to conduct a successful cross-country job search and move our family of six near extended family, instead of settling for a job in the nearest big city, 60 miles away. I have no doubt the ‘CPA Exam’ on my resume helped me land callbacks and interviews – in fact, one potential employer told me we wouldn’t even be talking except for my exam scores!
Who has impacted you most in your life and how?
In recent years I’ve been very influenced by James Altucher and his books, other writings, and podcasts. He advocates conducting a ‘daily practice’ to take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually each day. For two years I’ve tracked my own ‘daily practice’ and it has helped me immensely. For instance, it freed up enough energy for me to write and self-publish a book called, Join the Military, Choose Yourself: How to Avoid the College Debt Trap, Save $50,000 in Four Years, and Get Out with a World of Possibilities At Your Command.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
‘What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now.’ – Eckhart Tolle.
Past Q&A Series