At my wits end with the CPA and missing manager promotion because of it. Anything I can do in PA without it or is it time to leave?

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You’ve just spent 4 years+ on education and another 4+ in the field. If accounting is the field you want to stay in, without your cpa you will always feel some sort of way about not passing the exams and your long-term job security will be lower than if you had those three letters after your name. Take it from someone who just went through the same thing - if you’re serious about the CPA and want to get it over with, save up enough to take some time off from work (3-4 months) and do a sabbatical. Not sure how it works at EY but for me I kept my benefits and was paid 20% of my regular salary. No matter where you’re working, even if you leave EY and take a position with better work-life balance where it would be more feasible to study, it will be easy to be complacent not needing it and only get harder to pass the exams the older you get as the responsibilities of life keep adding up. It was so worth the payoff for me to finally get my license and the promotion without the stress of balancing work on top of it all. For some more perspective, I’ve seen several colleagues (including myself before I took the sabbatical) struggle to balance my client work and exams; it’s not easy and despite everyone’s best intentions to keep your schedule light when things get busy inevitably you will put studying on the back burner for many months of the year. Most of the time the people who work big 4 while studying either have a miserable (couple of) year(s) while balancing work and studying or they end up leaving the firm or field. The last thing I’ll say…working in tax, it was not infrequent that I’d need to explain to clients why I couldn’t be on a POA or talk to a revenue agent. After a while that conversation gets old and (maybe it’s just me but) some people will think they’re better than you for having passed those 4 exams. What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that by not passing you will always find yourself in a position of needing to explain your “situation” (including in conversation with non-accountants that yes, you’re an accountant but no, you’re not a CPA and no, having the CPA doesn’t make anyone inherently more qualified). To me, that’s like running a whole marathon (college + grad school + working at a top tier accounting firm) and then never crossing the finish line. I don’t mean that to sound harsh but coming to this realization was what pushed me to finish my exams. I wish you all the best of luck with your studying and career!

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@OP - I’m in tax and I struggled passing the exams as a staff right out of college. I took this month off w/ the unlimited PTO and was able to pass 2 right away. Sometimes all you might need is just time. I agree with the sabbatical approach if you truly want the CPA. It was sort of impossible to work and study at the same time (at least for me).

Enrolled Agent possibly?

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If you plan to stay in PA you need the CPA lol. It will always be a hurdle over your head given the profession you work in

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Here’s the order of my list that gets in, it goes

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take paid leave and take the exam. It is necessary not to survive in PA, but to excel and earn the $$ you deserve.

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You need the CPA in PA. I know a couple of seniors that have been here for 10+ years with the same title whereas their classmates moved up to director/partner

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I’ve never seen this. Would be awful in my opinion.

Ummm make time to study for the exam. If you for manger it’s been at least 5 years. If you don’t want to spend the time to pass then you should move out of public accounting and into another career

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Switch to a firm that’s not as busy and get to work for a year studying

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Maintain all the relationships from EY you will need them

In Tax or Audit?

My parents tax guy is not a CPA. Runs a pretty decent solo practice and makes a healthy living

He’s probably an ea

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Can you do a different certification? I know for GT we just need a certification from a list of whatever our job role falls into. I have my CPA but I started studying for the CIA and I just passed the first exam which is basically just basic definitions and ethics related and the questions are straightforward and actually relate to the study materials unlike the CPA which try to trick you every which way.

I have CPA but dont have public acct exp. When I reached out a GT recruiter, he told me that GT is very picky and asked me to apply for smaller firm first before applying for big firms like GT.

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Most B4 will take PMP or any other cert. Audit is the only one I know that absolutely requires a CPA for manager.

Another vote for EA. Not as coveted as CPA of course, but a sufficient alternative. Also, worth mentioning that even with no license, you can use Form 8821 to obtain client information from IRS but not to represent your client which would require the 2848 (and a license, of course). Used this form often prior to being licensed to get around explaining such things to clients.

I think any senior that doesn’t have the CPA in place should get an EA to at least represent their clients well.

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