CPA Story: Failures and challenges

I was too afraid to take the Licensure Examination for Certified Public Accountants during my first review. It feels like I am not ready for whatever will be the result of my preparations. I was afraid to flunk because I don’t want to fail my family, teachers, and friends’ expectations from me. I was afraid to pass too, because I knew that I was not yet ready to enter the profession. I still have more things to improve on, especially my communication skills. It was a time of terrible uncertainty, really.

I was very lucky and blessed during my first review because I got a full scholarship at Professional Review and Training Center (PRTC) – Manila. During my fifth year in college, PRTC Review Director Rey Ocampo, offered the scholarship to me. I accepted the offer even if I felt that I don’t deserve it.

The review proper at PRTC started on May 25, 2016. I was motivated to review more than ever. I had a concrete plan on what to study on my day-to-day review for four months. My plan was to attend the review classes in the morning, study the hand out discussed earlier by the Reviewer in the afternoon, and do an advance reading in the evening. I tried to follow the plan as much as possible in the first few days of the review before I realize that I couldn’t keep up with the insane pace needed to do so. And then, I found myself changing my strategy. I would pick one subject to study for few weeks. Once done, I would pick another subject.

I dreamed of topping the board exam so I gave all my best in my preparation. I studied every review material I can get for each subject. I stayed up so late at night to review almost everything, with no break. During the middle of the review, I was not able to review properly like I used to. I was so sick that I even collapsed twice in the boarding house. I was completely out of focus during the remaining few days of my review. I failed to follow my schedule. I failed to pursue my plans. What am I supposed to have done right now?

There was a time when I wanted to give up. Giving up is so easy, I guess. I spent every night crying because I was too afraid to fail. I want to pass or top the exam. Two weeks before the board exam, I regained my strength. I decided to skip classes in order to compensate for the time lost during my sick days. I spent the remaining days reading the topics that I find difficult and skipping the topics I am fairly confident in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the syllabus in time for the board exam. But yes, I took the October 2016 CPA exams.

Fast forward to the results day, I was very confident that I will pass (or even top) the October 2016 CPA exams despite having lack of preparation because I found the exam not relatively difficult. But when the result came, I was very disappointed that my name was not included in the list of passers. I failed the exam. I failed everyone’s expectation. I checked my exam status at PRC immediately and found out that I have a CONDITIONAL status. I did not pass the exam but did not fail. I was a “CPA by installment” – but I was not happy. For me, I lose the battle.

The next days were so dark for me. I don’t know how to start again. I don’t know which road to take. I don’t know where to go. Should I continue pursuing the license or should I just give up my dream of becoming a CPA? People say, “It’s okay, try again.” But when you’re in that situation, the roar of pain is deafening.

Bit by bit, I learned to accept the things that happened. I decided to continue the fight. The October 2016 CPA exams was completely finished and I already got over it. Time to move on and to start anew. I’m not sure how I managed to pull through. Maybe it’s because of the never-ending support from my family and friends and through God’s grace as well. I worked hard for the May 2017 CPA exams. I kept on reminding myself that I don’t want to be in that same position ever again.

The CPA exams result was released on May 29, 2017. With trembling fingers, I searched for my name. LUBAY… LUBGUBAN… LUDIANO… Boom! I failed again. I was in excruciating pain and my body wouldn’t move. I cried with anger and frustration in myself. What happened? Few minutes later, I was surprised because some of my classmates were congratulating me. So I checked the list of passers again. I was wrong. I passed the May 2017 CPA exams. LUBAY… LUBGUBAN… LUBIANO… LUCAS… LUCE… LUCENA… LUCERO… LUCERO… LUCERO… LUCEÑA… LUCIANO, IVAN FRANCIS ADVINCULA… Yaaaay, I am now a Certified Public Accountant. It feels surreal. I cried everything to God. Indeed, dreams do come true.

My journey towards succeeding in the CPA exams was full of failures and challenges. It has so many ups and downs. Would I trade my experience for any other? Absolutely, no. But would I go through it again? That is something I would have to contemplate about for a long time.

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About the Author

Ivan Francis Luciano
Ivan Francis Luciano
Ivan is an Audit Associate from R.G. Manabat & Co., KPMG in the Philippines.