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Archive for August, 2010

Getting Financially Settled

August 23rd, 2010 at 07:12 am

I did the finances for September last night and sat there wondering "How are we doing financially better here than when we lived in the home we owned?" Especially when the rentals are operating at a loss.

I'll never be able to figure it out. But once we pay off DH's car and my credit card, things will really be relaxed compared to what we are used to. Right now it looks like we'll have $1500 left over after September bills. I'm also saving $60/week for emergencies that I didn't include in that amount. To put that into perspective, we are used to a couple hundred left over.

ALTHOUGH, once you figure in DH's ticket, that he might need his tire fixed, and our current fight with the HOA on our old house about CLEANING the roof (not that we are against it, but I don't want to risk damage to the roof for mild rain staining)... we may be back to what we are used to.

So depending if we need to clean the roof or not, how much DH's ticket, and if he needs a new tire or it just needs to be patched... we'll see.

However, with paying off my card (I pay $283/month - not the minimum, just the amount I like to pay) and DH's car ($475/mo) - things should be more and more relaxed.

This weekend we also went out on a date... sort of. We went to a wedding. But it was nice, DH and I had a blast and got to really hit it off with another couple because we had similar interests and likes.

So all in all, besides the whole economy situation (and occasional family issues), I'm starting to really like it here.

NOW, if only I could find a job in public accounting but all the firms around here aren't hiring. I'm not sure how much time I have before my CPA exam expires but if I can't find anything soon, I'm going to talk to my CFO if he is fine with me going down to part-time or I can adjust my work schedule so I can volunteer my time SOMEWHERE so I can get the experience I need.

I don't think he'd be opposed to it. He'd probably prefer it instead of my leaving. Our work doesn't have a provision for part-time work, but with the value I've brought to the company & having earned a reputation for one of the company's "A" players - I'm sure we could figure something out, even if it was considered like "Consulting" for the next couple years.

So I'm done

August 19th, 2010 at 06:34 am

With the CPA exam.

Final score
FAR 78
REG 78
AUD 84
BEC 77

I'm so relieved... now I just need to find a job.

I think all in all my interview went well with the 3 managers but I think if I messed up anywhere it was with the partner. Hopefully not too terribly.

The partner did spend 20 minutes talking with me and the 3 managers talked to me for about 40 minutes. Talking with the managers went great. There was some laughter so the mood was relaxed & I think the one manager liked that I was able to clearly define the deficiencies I saw on the volunteer audit that I did. But they are interviewing 2 other people who are just coming from a firm when we talked about retention in other firms being high (He said "We just interviewed two other people coming from a firm that turns over its entire staff every 2 years) although he did say they were short staffed and looking to add someone in 2-3 months.

I don't know... I'll drive myself nuts if I over-analyze the situation. Main thing is... I'M DONE WITH THE CPA EXAM!

I've got one thing out of the way, now just need to find a job. I think I'm going to go ahead and call some of the firms I sent resumes out to today.

Big day is tomorrow

August 17th, 2010 at 09:51 am

I have my interview scheduled and I have to admit, I'm incredibly nervous. I've thought out the main ideas that I want to convey and can rehearse them just fine in my head, but I want to know how I respond to someone else asking the question.

So, my best friend has generously agreed to do a mock interview with me today. I also printed out copies of my resume, researched the names of the partners, their background, and what they currently do... I think the only thing I'm missing is printing out a copy of my transcripts but that's not something I imagine will be of interest until they know they want to hire me or not.

What I really want to convey is that I'm an ambitious individual who is resourceful and results-oriented, with the biggest selling point that I'd be a low investment for the firm with my MSA and passing 3 of the 4 parts of the CPA exam.

Weaknesses? I would focus on my lack of real-life experience in public accounting but I work to address that by taking volunteer positions and maintaining professional affiliations.

I just hope I don't crumble during any of the actual questions. I'm not sure of the format of the interview, just that the interviewer said "It can be difficult getting everyone together." So does that mean I should expect to also meet with the partners of the firm? Either way I made a point to memorize the partners' names, what they do, and their background/specialties.

Think I'm prepared?

In the meantime, I'm also waiting to find out the results of the BEC portion of the CPA exam. If I pass that means I'll be DONE with the CPA exam and just need to get the experience & ethics exam taken care of.

Dh and I also went to our second counseling session last night too. However, since we have to bring the kids (no sitter) we take turns talking to him. The therapist was funny when he said "Couples who are happily married turn towards each other more often than unhappily married couples & I could tell from the small exchange between you two that you both really like each other."

Left me thinking... Jeez, if WE think our arguments are unbearable/unlivable what do the majority of married people put up with? Even during our worst times DH and I have always been close.

Keeping fingers crossed

August 12th, 2010 at 07:58 am

My top firm pick called last night to schedule an interview but I was busy making dinner at the time. So I'm going to call them back today.

I'm nervous as ever. My interviewing skills aren't as fine-tuned as I'd like. Although I've always received a job offer from any company I've interviewed with since I graduated college... I've been with my current job for 6 years, so I haven't really had a need to regularly interview. When I did interview for an internal position with the company (which is my position now), I was given the book "TopGrading" so I could become familiar with the interview process of my company.

I stayed up till midnight last night re-reading interview books that I had purchased awhile ago. Some feel outdated because they were created in the wake of the Worldcom & Enron scandal so occasionally I read statements like "The overall outlook for the economy is strong..."

Ahem, yeah - if we only knew then what we knew now.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the interviewer will like me. This is my top pick, and I'd hate to mess up on an interview with the firm I really like.

Yet I really do think they'll give me the best exposure to accounting that I need in my career to become a leader in the CPA profession. Reviewing the backgrounds of the partners, looking at the different types of industries they serve... and knowing they have a solid infrastructure to support their staff through effective leadership, mentorship, and guidance - I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't want to work there aside from the hours.

But I'm going into this knowing that the hours are going to be something I NEED to put in if I'm ever going to get where I want to be in my career. Not to mention, accounting/auditing is my passion - it doesn't feel like work if I'm doing what I love. Hence, the staying up to midnight researching the firm and other things to help me put my best foot forward when I meet with them.

I also plan to print out a list of my references, but my biggest struggle is - I have professional references, I can EASILY get 5 or 6, but they are at my current company and I don't want to alert my job to my potential departure until I actually have an offer in hand. So I wonder if I explain that, if they'll understand & having academic references would be okay for now.

My current job does know that at some point I'll likely leave. The CFO and I have had this discussion a couple of times... he has even told me that because of growth limitations here, and to get the experience I want for where I want to be, I'll need to find that at a firm BUT until I'm ready to do that, they are happy to have me where I am.

Still yet, I don't want to let them know the time is potentially here until I actually have an offer in hand because that may affect whether or not I'm handed certain upcoming projects... and if I don't get an offer from this firm, I don't want to have lost an opportunity in my current job.

So here's hoping. I really want this.

Took the last part of the CPA exam today

August 7th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

And it really wasn't so bad. Of course I say that now & who knows how the score will really turn out, but I'm optimistic.

DH took the kids to Hot August nights while I took the 2 hour test and I have to say I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders - at least till I know whether I passed or not.

But anyhow, on the job hunt, I still haven't heard back from my #1 firm pick so I printed out 5 more resumes and redid the cover letters to personalize them to each firm I was applying to and got those printed out to be mailed on Monday.

I'll likely call the firm again on Monday or Tuesday just to follow up on the status of my resume. I'm sure the partners are probably busy just getting back from vacation, so I'm not sweating it too much. I think it helps being employed while I'm job hunting, otherwise I probably wouldn't be so relaxed.

Aside from that, it feels like everything is coming together. I did a presentation for my job regarding our accounting process & ways we can improve - and I got stellar feedback from the head of the IT Department and the CFO, so that was encouraging & made my day. Although, it still isn't enough to make me want to stay... at the end of it, that whole "No raise in the past 3-4 years while I've improved company processes and continued my education" still weighs on me heavily.

Besides, as I keep telling myself... staying at my current job would be like getting my law degree & passing the bar but not ever using it. I have a lot more to offer (and a lot that I'm interested in learning) that I know this is the right move... but I won't look forward to leaving the people I work with.

Dh asked me what I'm going to fill my time with now that I'm no longer studying for the exam... I told him I think I may take up reading more, being more aggressive on the job hunt, or... I could always find a hobby. I like lots of things, bike riding, horseback riding, and just lots of things in general... the plus side is... there is also LOTS of stuff to do in this area.

We're really liking it here... and it helps being close to family. My sister took the older kids on Thursday for a "girl's day out" and that was really nice. In September, my Mom will probably be back in town for a little while so we can meet up. And I'm finally getting around to calling my brother to see how he's doing... he's still an 8 hour drive away but at least it's within a day's drive now so we can get together.

There have even been a few times DH & I have talked about staying here if we end up liking it here. Hawaii is still a dream, but things are more affordable out here and spread out.... and DH is really loving the small town atmosphere. So who knows... I know it's entirely premature to start thinking we'll stay here & retire here, but it's not out of the question because we are quickly liking it here.