Our CPA Exam Story: Husband and Wife Duo Follow Different Paths for their CPA Journey
Ben Angelo and his wife, Tina, both have a passion for accounting and knew that becoming CPAs would bring plenty of opportunities to their family. Despite their similar goals, their approaches to studying for the CPA exam were very different. Read more about Ben and Tina’s CPA study journeys below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am currently a 5th year Ph.D. student in Accounting at Purdue University.
My wife, Tina, has run an at-home firm for 10 years, specializing in helping small businesses get started.
We have four children. Most of our social time is spent with them. We love to go camping and hiking and are active in our church.
Why did you decide to become a CPA?
Tina and I both became CPAs because it would bring both opportunities and flexibility to our lives. We love helping people solve their problems and work towards fulfilling their dreams.
How did you manage your time with studying, work and life? What did your study schedule look like?
My wife and I are both CPAs, and we both passed using the Becker program. However, we had very different paths.
First, I took AUD and BEC and passed both of them. After getting my results, I started dating my wife, Tina. My study time plummeted, and I failed both REG and FAR. When my wife found out that I failed the exams, she told me that she knew it was an important life goal of mine and told me that there would be no more dates unless I passed the exam. I took her threat seriously, and it provided ample motivation to pass the exam. I did a better job of adhering to the Becker program, but still cut corners.
My wife followed the Becker program exactly and passed all four exams on the first try.
I share my experiences with students. Becker has become a rite of passage in the public accounting community because the program works. My wife did everything Becker tells you to do, and she passed all four parts on the first try. I didn’t do everything Becker tells you to do, and I didn’t.
Any tips for getting motivated and focusing?
Find an accountability partner. Life can come at you unexpectedly and derail your study plans. However, the only people that really don’t become CPAs are those that quit. As long as you keep walking, you will eventually reach the finish line.
Tina’s biggest goal was to make sure she beat my scores, which she did so that she would have bragging rights.
What was your biggest challenge in preparing for the CPA exam, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was balancing my social life with my study schedule.
Tina watched me go through the program, which was very helpful. She knew what to expect and where the pitfalls were.
What advice would you share with someone preparing for the exam? Any tips that helped you?
The only people that don’t become CPAs are the people that quit. Even if you don’t do well on an exam, keep at it and eventually, you will get there. Tina passed all four parts on the first try. I didn’t. We are both CPAs.
The journey will be different for everyone, but the goal is the same. Focus on the road ahead, and not the road behind.
Why did you choose Becker for your CPA studies?
Beyond being a fantastic program that works, Becker is almost a rite of passage in the accounting world. The mere mention of Tim Gearty and Peter Olinto will bring a smile to most CPAs’ faces.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I was recently fortunate enough to get a selfie with Tim Gearty. It earned me major street cred.