The Chartered Accountant : Khairat Makanjuola CPA, MBA
(We all must stand up in defense of women, against those who seek to steal the future of our sisters & daughters. #Bring Back Our Girls)
Khairat is an audit supervisor at Faw Casson & Co. LLP, in USA. She decided really early (while in junior secondary school) on a career in accounting, and started considering qualification exams in her 2nd year at Delaware State University. She also considered being a Pilot, but stuck with accounting because, in her own words “it would have cost an arm & a leg” . She has a Degree in accounting and a MBA from Delaware State University.
Although she only recently got introduced to me, I have known about her for a couple of years now, and I have been awed by her juggling motherhood, MBA, and CPA.
Like every other person, accountants have to deal with other commitments & duties outside of their qualifying exams. For me, Khairat is an example of how focus, determination & the right kind of support go a long way in achieving one’s goals.
I officially became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in May 2010, which was when I was inducted into the State Society of CPAs. I passed my last exam in November 2007. The gap in between passing my exams and induction was spent gaining experience doing accounting, audit and tax related work under the supervision of a licensed CPA, as is required.
It felt exhilarating to finally complete my CPA exams. There was a sense of huge relief that I had conquered what many considered to be insurmountable. I had my life back and I could focus on other personal goals and mark “passing the CPA exam” off of my check list.
Having the right support is extremely important. My family and my boyfriend then (now my husband) were my biggest cheerleaders. They not only encouraged me each step of the way, they also kept me in their prayers. They gave me the space and time needed and I didn’t receive any “judgement” for being so self-absorbed during that time of my life. They understood how important the exams were to me and supported me the best way they knew how, and I was fortunate to pass all 4 sections at my first attempt by God’s grace.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. The CPA exam is divided into four sections. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing (AUD), Business Economic Concepts (BEC) and finally, Business Taxation and Law. Of all the four sections, the financial accounting and reporting section was the hardest for me. I anticipated that this would be the most difficult, so I attempted this section first. It is especially difficult because it covers a huge expanse of accounting topics from business combinations, consolidations, cash flows, accounting for retirement plans, revenue recognition and so on. Basically, everything else that isn’t tested in all of the other sections is tested in FAR.
I was fortunate to have decided on this career path very early on and I have to say that joining national accounting organizations really opened doors for me in many unexpected ways. Getting insight from active professionals, who were currently taking the exams, definitely put the idea in my brain to start studying early before life got in the way and passing the exams just became too difficult. I was lucky to have supportive family and friends who never stopped cheering me on and praying for me, so I don’t have any regrets. My internships and first job offer was also facilitated through my membership in accounting organizations.
I would advise aspiring accountants to make a decision very early on in their university career that this field is really where they want to be. Ask questions of your college professors, business leaders around the community, friends and family. Then, determine which certification will best serve your career interests. While the CPA certification is a standard certification for accountants in the U.S, there are many other certifications for accountants and certainly not all accounting jobs require a CPA license.
I would also advise aspiring accountants to join a collegiate accounting society or a national accounting organization. Many of these organizations organize conferences that facilitate mentoring relationships with active professionals and also provide internship opportunities and full time job offers as well.
When preparing for the exams, give them 100% effort, because they are unlike any other exam that you have taken in your life. And when you’ve put in your very best effort, pray for God’s guidance and for his mercies to not only ease the hurdle of taking the exams, but to also provide a fruitful job opportunity when you’ve successfully completed your degree requirement and passed the exams.
As an accountant, the most common stereotype I have encountered that we know everything under the sun about accounting. Accounting, just like any other profession is very vast and as such, no individual can be an expert in every single field. Just like there are specialists in the field of medicine, law, engineering and so on, there are also specialists in the accounting field as well. I know enough about auditing and U.S GAAP (U.S Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), though I don’t believe that I’m at the level of “expert” yet. I’ve dabbled into other fields such as forensic accounting, taxation and business law, but auditing is really where I shine.
Having a certification/license has definitely boosted my career. I also know that because of the license, I have many opportunities outside of public accounting, if I so choose, to further my career interests.
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