Q + A with Stephanie Ng of ipasscpaexam.com

Stephanie Ng of ipasscpaexam.com shares her story with Roger CPA Review! She tells us how she went from passing the CPA Exam to setting up an extremely valuable resource for CPA Exam candidates.

1. You currently run one of the most highly used CPA Exam websites for national and international CPA Exam candidates.
Thanks for the compliment! I started out as an investment banker in New York and went on to work for a client in their corporate finance team in Hong Kong, where my boyfriend (now husband) lived. After accepting my boss’ challenge to pass the CPA exam within a year, I took the 4 parts in one go and passed on my first attempt.
This created a lot of interest in the CPA community and that’s when I decided to get things more organized by setting up a free mini e-course and writing detailed posts on CPA exam requirements and study tips.

2. What do you like to do in your spare time?  
We as a family love growing vegetables on the balcony of our apartment (we live on the 49th floor!)

3. What enticed you to create ipassthecpaexam.com? 
As a non-accounting major working outside of the US, I had a hard time figuring out how to get qualified for the US CPA exam. My education as an Economics major and working experience as a banker did not fit well with the requirements of most states. Luckily I found one that worked.This experience made me especially helpful to the thousands of unconventional CPA candidates who wanted to accomplish what I did. I understand their frustration and difficulty, and I am more than happy to help out as much as I can through my site.  

4. What, do you believe, are the top three benefits of attaining your CPA? 
CPA is one of the most prestigious and globally recognized designations among accounting and finance professionals. I have worked in finance, accounting and strategic planning in different countries, and my companies have all recognized and valued this designation.If you work in public accounting, the immediate benefit is the pay increase after becoming a CPA. The bonus is typically $5000 in Big 4 and promotion shortly afterwards. At the same time, NOT getting the CPA title can really hurt when it comes to career advancement in both CPA firms and senior finance positions in corporations.The CPA designation also opens doors. CPA is a proof of your expertise in accounting. Since this skill is needed across industries, it helps a lot when you get bored in one field and want to move on to another. For example, I have worked in corporate finance in a telecom company and switched to strategic planning in a bank. I probably couldnt do that as easily without the CPA designation.

5. How has passing the CPA Exam impacted your professional and personal life?  
It helps me land a wider and more interesting variety of jobs within accounting and finance. My career path is quite unique, but without passing the CPA exam I wouldn’t be an author and an online publisher!

6. What was the worst part of taking the exam? 
For unconventional candidates such as non-accounting majors, non-US accountants and mature candidates, the worst part is to go through the CPA application process. This is because the outcome is often out of your control. For everyone else, the fear of failing the exam is probably worse than the actual study.

7. Best part?  
Passing the last part of the exam! I remember getting my results in December and it was the best Christmas gift ever.

8. Can you recommend any study tips for students currently studying for the exam? 
Brenda from CPAExamClub.com went over some great tips previously in this blog so let me focus on study tips for each part of the exam.

  • FAR:  FAR covers a huge amount of materials and we are tempted to skip the difficult concepts and hope they don’t appear in the exam. Don’t do that. If you cover all the topics, FAR is manageable because the questions are computational and relatively straight-forward.
  • AUD:  AUD is essentially a memorization exam. I strongly encourage my readers to write their own flash cards for AUD to help retention. I also copied the audit opinion a few times and it helped a lot. AUD has a lot of conceptual questions which are quite tricky, e.g. there is more than one correct answer and you need to pick the best answer. Make sure you work on lots of practice questions and get used to the format. 
  • REG:  REG is especially difficult for international candidates because they are not   familiar with the US tax system. It is a good idea to allocate more time for this exam section.
  • BEC:  There are lots of miscellaneous topics in BEC. If you don’t have enough time, focus on your weaker areas. Many candidates find BEC shorter and easier, but some are caught off-guard by questions that seem to be off-topic. Use your common sense and you will be fine.

9. Words of advice for those studying for the CPA Exam? 
Since most of us have work and / or family commitment, time management is an important (but often ignored) element in CPA exam preparation.  This observation is confirmed by the many conversations I had with readers who failed the exam.Do spend the time crafting a workable study plan and stick with it. Don’t keep reviewing the books and forget about the practice questions. They are equally if not more important.

10. Would you recommend CPA Candidates to use Roger CPA Review as their CPA Review material?
Yes! Rogers style is especially great for those who need motivation in going through the study materials. Most of us don’t find accounting terribly interesting so many candidates fall in this category.

11. Favorite quote?  
I have a collection of exam quotes on my site, but this one by Thomas Edison is my favorite: If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. Thanks for reading and best of luck to your exams!

Related Posts 
CPAnet and CPA Exam Club Guest Blog from Brenda Mizgorski
Celebrity Guest Blog from Bryce Welker of CRUSH the CPA Exam
Guest Series Part 2: How International Candidates Become a CPA

Scroll to Top