To CPA or NOT to CPA? Public vs Private?
What if you could run an experiment?
Take twins, with identical DNA, life experiences, education, GPAs, majors, internships, and careers as accountants. Then have twin A go private and have twin B become a CPA and go public.
Follow Becky Steiger and Norma Steiger on their separate journeys in the private and public accounting worlds! Together they will compare and contrast their experiences and goals in the accounting profession.
Attention: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!
Becky: [00:00:02] The. Hello, Hello. Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Accounting Twins podcast. My name is Becky-
Norma: [00:00:13] and my name is Normal. She's in a singing mood today, but I will not be singing.
Becky: [00:00:19] Sorry about that. I will actually be singing my entire thing today. Please don't. I'm scared. I'm like a Disney movie and lost my voice. I can only see two. Kidding. It's 8 a.m. I've been out here 15 minutes. I'm just zooted. She's so weird. I don't understand it. Oh, well. How is everyone? How are y'all doing? I know that I'll be here able to hear your answers, but I want you guys to speak and say how you are doing. Because maybe then I can hear it. If you like, yell it loud enough. I don't know. We'll see. Okay. Norma, are you okay? I am great, actually. Oh, well, I had a rough exam, but we'll talk about that later. Here I'm am. Today, in this episode, Becky's finishing up her revenue rotation, and she's moving to General Ledger. Next, she's going to tell us more of that. And then I'm going to talk about grad school again and my exam and how grad school, I think is probably busier than busy season, but we'll get into that. Yeah. So pretty much, yeah, pretty much. I'm in my last two weeks of the revenue rotation, I guess you would say two and a half because I end on the 13th of March. But yeah, so there's a lot I've learned and I'm just going to go back comparing a lot of it to college because this is me wanting to show the differences between college and work.
Becky: [00:01:48] So one of the biggest things I've learned is the learning curve is so hard. It is so hard. Not that it's like what I'm doing is hard, which it is, but the learning curve from going to school to work is so different. Never have I ever had to look up an equation, had to use a formula. Ever used a calculator or ever used a pencil? So can you explain to me why all the exams that I took in college required formulas that I had to memorize equations and pencils because I didn't use any of those? And if I have to use an equation, it's in an Excel formula. It's like in Excel and I don't even have to type it. It's like automatically there. I think there was one time I've ever had to use a formula and it was just to find the change in something which is super easy. And then I used an Excel formula, so I typed it once, dragged it down. That was it. So that's really annoying because I know. That can sound heavenly. It is, but it's just so annoying because, Norma, you took two exams this week. You probably used a pencil, a paper and a calculator. And I can tell you I have never used those in my seven months of work.
Becky: [00:02:54] Oh, my gosh. Yeah. And then let the fact that you don't have to memorize formulas for it to remember. I'm going to say how many because it's a stupid amount for my book exam. Yeah. No, that was horrible. Like the fact that you don't have to memorize them. I'm sorry, people. Let's change our views on having to memorize formulas because they're going to be given to you in the real world. In case you didn't know that. You don't have to memorize anything. Everything. There's something called Google or even, oh, my gosh, even just asking your peers. I know that's unheard of. I know you have to do a lot of group work, like in an audit or like with the rest of your writing team. You're allowed to ask them questions. Like, for example, one of my peers who's in general Ledger was asking me what an accrual was, not the different types of accruals, any formulas that go with it. But they just needed to know the definition of an accrual. And I forgot it for a minute because I was so accustomed to being. I have to know all these formulas. I have to know all these sub definitions. And I was like, What's the definition of an accrual in some people's terms? Because like for me, whenever I forget something I like, go to my boss, whoever I'm working with, and I say, Please pretend that I'm not in the Keller And describe this to me because I learned so much in college that I forget everything and I use 2% of what I learned in college.
Becky: [00:04:17] And it kind of sucks like I did so much in college, and I'm using very little of it. Yes, I need all of that important background information so much. Oh my gosh, I don't think I could do this job without it. But I didn't need to know all the memorization of the formulas. I didn't need to know the calculator stuff. Like if there's one thing that I wish we had learned more was Excel. I didn't know how to use a VLOOKUP or an IF statement or a ton of those things in before I joined. Do you know what keys are? Becky No, I don't. We didn't know what hot keys were from college. I'm having to learn some of this stuff on the side and it's just like, okay, so I paid X amount of money for my college career and I'm still trying to learn things when I'm a full time worker. Like, why? Just why, Patricia? Let's make college a little bit more realistic. It needs to be more realistic. A little bit more realistic. Accounting is ten times more different than school accounting. I didn't know how to use any platforms or software coming into what I'm doing. Yes, granted, every single accounting firm, every single private place uses completely different stuff. But even having an exposure is important. Like. On the revenue team. We do quote approvals and we do looking at numbers and we have to do alterations of quotes to make sure it fits our specifications.
Becky: [00:05:43] You could have asked me what a quote was in college and I would have been like, Oh, it's when someone speaks and what they say is really cool and someone just wants to repeat it. Like, what? Can I quote you on that? Yeah, so like I do journal entries, but I'm not sitting there being like, Oh, what account do I use? No, Every time I've done a journal entry, it's only been until like two specific counts and it's like revenue and blank. Granted, I am on the revenue team so we know what to use every time. But we have to do this thing where after we give the account that it's going to, we have to give a ton of other specifications. Customer location. What project number? This is the arrangement number we're working on, what state they're from, just because it has to give specifics. In that way we can do data analyzation later. But you didn't learn that in college? Nope. And the journal entries I'm doing are so simple. I will say for journal entries, you actually like when I did it. I don't know if many people know this, but I did two private internships going into freshman and sophomore year of college and they had a set of like, I have an accounting background, so they had to like teach me what peos were and like how to do journal entries and transactions.
Becky: [00:06:59] And, and because it was a smaller company, I did have to use more than 2 or 3 line items for a journal entry. So I will say that's probably just because you're only Very good point. Very, very, very good point. Yeah, that's a very good point because again, every single company internship, No, No. Two private companies are the same. No two public firms are the same. So, yeah, I just feel that there's a lot of discrepancies between what we are learning as accountants in school and what we are doing as accountants in practice. And to me, while I did learn absolutely so much, I'm telling you, my brain has grown ten sizes. I'm just saying the things that I noticed most are the I wouldn't say the correlate. What's a correlation? What would you say when there's no correlation? I don't know. There's no correlation, negative correlation. What I learned in school and what I'm doing in accounting, I just needed background information. Note That means they're not common. Becky. Different things. Correlation is like you do something and something. Correlation is not causation. It's. Anyways, there's no. Okay, well, maybe I do need to go back to school. That's what we learned. All I'm saying is a huge difference between what we do in school and what we've done in accounting. And yes, I have learned a ton. I have learned so much also. Before we get going on Norma, I just want to say, yes, I am in the last two weeks of my rotation, but I'm still training somebody on how to do certain things.
Becky: [00:08:30] And I feel so smart. I'm teaching her how to do event changes. I'm teaching her how to do workbenches, which confusing. So I'm not really going to go into that, but I am smart. End of story. Boom. Kotlassky gopegui that piece. Oh, my gosh. I cannot imagine training someone like I'm too scared when I start my job. Like, obviously this year I'm going to be getting trained like, but then my next year when we have interns and stuff, I'll probably have one and have to train them. Oh my gosh, that scares me. Oh, okay. When are you saying that your brain grew ten sizes? I just pictured your head being like Jean and Jimmy Neutron when he gets like the big brain and he's like the villain. No, I know what you're talking about. And that is me. I don't know if our viewers would know. I'm the villain. Bring up euphoria. What's it what's the co it's like, So what if I'm the villain, not the villain? No, I'm perfect. Oh, well, I was thinking of. I was thinking of Taylor Swift as also vigilante shit. I love Taylor Swift. Also, let's see how many days from felt like days. Me too. March 17th. Okay, so today is February 23rd. 22 days until I see Taylor Swift live in concert in tears. I will be crying.
Becky: [00:09:43] Okay. End of story. Norma, what's up with your life? Um. Exactly. It is currently February 23rd. It's exactly a month until my CPA exam, which I'm going to end talking the podcast today about. Oh, my God. It's exactly so not fun. Oh, girl. Oh, girl. Oh, girl. What a freaking baby. But said this last week. I said this week before. I will keep on saying this. This semester sucks. It's rough. Like all my friends and I agree that this semester is not only harder in terms of content, but like the time commitment is horrible. I just barely surviving. I'm so freaking over this and my CPA exam setting is horrible and but I'm just really glad I have a great support system within my professors. They're granted. They're not my current professors because whenever I tell them that this semester is rough, it's like, okay, well you're in my class. But like Ben and Shannon, my favorite professors, and they're married. They're just a really great support system for me to talk to and vent because like, they're not upset if I'm talking like, smack about like how the semester sucks and how it's just rough for me. They are supportive letting me know it's okay, my grades don't matter, like, which is really nice. And then Ben, I love this man. He's just very, very supportive of I'm in this semester and instead of waiting because he's like, No, do it now. Like, get out of the way. He sounds fabulous. He sounds absolutely fabulous.
Norma: [00:11:13] But this blah. But I took.
Becky: [00:11:18] Two exam this week. I have two more next week and then it's spring break. But like, oh my God, I'm sorry. I had to take an accounting theory class. I hate this class. I'm so sorry. I honestly don't even care. Like if my professors hear this, I hate this class. Like it's supposed to be setting me up. Like, if you like doing theory and PhD stuff, I feel like you would know that a little bit more before now. And it's like, don't need to know about the conceptual framework where we are learning like how standard not good, how standards are set by like the AICPA and the FASB. It's like the conceptual framework they use to set them, which we don't go into debt to don't need to know the efficient market hypothesis, but about the the correlation between earnings and the stock price like this is just a it's a horrible class and everyone was so scared for this exam because you want to know how many pages I wrote with like free hand like, like writing, writing for this exam? You want to know? 37.5.
Norma: [00:12:22] I was close in 2.5 hours. I'm. I'm sorry, we're not going to be writing on stuff.
Becky: [00:12:29] We can type it. But that's kind of that's just at this point, we're not even like doing we're not applying what we're learning you as straight memorization. And we had to memorize and cite sources without being able to look at the sources like, I'm sorry, that was frustrating. And then took an audit exam yesterday. No, I'm sorry. I'm so pissed off about that exam because we were told to do, like, some sort of, like, analysis. Like, I will say, it was a good exam in the sense that everything that was tested on was fair, and it was stuff that we would be doing, like creating a work paper and an audit. But we were given an hour and 15 minutes to do it. And in my opinion, like just what are the problems about doing a work paper would have taken 30 to 45 minutes to do by yourself on Excel, and we had to use calculators and pencils? Exactly back to what I said. We use Excel. We don't use calculators. Yeah, that was frustrating because one person, one singular person finished with enough time. Everyone else like Derek the timer on the clock when no one finished it.
Becky: [00:13:37] I will be surprised if I got a C on the exam because I did not have enough time to finish it and I'm very frustrated and I think I showed this on a few episodes ago. I don't know. And but Becky spoke about it. I think exams like I think especially if you're doing audit exams or don't make an exam, make it a project because you're going to be working on work papers with people, or at least they're going to review your work papers. You should not be graded on how you can do an audit simulation without being able to have a quote unquote, supervisor or collaborator. Exactly. No, that makes sense. Yesterday I had a meeting with my new boss for General Ledger, and we're going to be doing bank reconciliations. She goes, If I can't figure it out, I'll hand it to you. And if you can't figure it out, you'll hand it to me. And by then nine out of ten times we can solve it because it's collaboration. No one person is doing an entire audit by themselves. Yeah, and I'm I'm just very frustrated with that.
Norma: [00:14:36] Because, like, we even do projects.
Becky: [00:14:39] Like, yes, we do.
Norma: [00:14:40] Projects together. Why are we getting.
Becky: [00:14:41] Tested on how to do a work paper? Like understand.
Norma: [00:14:43] We should know how to.
Becky: [00:14:44] Do like a work paper by ourselves. But you make mistakes.
Norma: [00:14:48] In real life you're not gonna like. Yes. Okay. If you issue the wrong audit opinion. Oh, my God, that's gonna be horrible. But, like, you're doing a work paper, you have to have your supervisor.
Becky: [00:15:00] In, like, a partner or someone else look over your work.
Norma: [00:15:03] It's not end all, be all. So that's just that was just very frustrating. And I'm sorry. The fact that no one finished the exam, maybe. Yeah, it says a lot. I'm very frustrated and now I have to. I haven't studied in a week for my CPA exam because I've been studying for school. So now I'm taking a day or two to study for my CPA exam because I'm so behind. And then I got to study for two more exams. Be freaking nice.
Becky: [00:15:30] That's terrifying. I can't wish you were here to help me study, because.
Norma: [00:15:35] Whenever Beck and I studied for exams last year together, like, we would, like, talk through.
Becky: [00:15:40] The content, why we got things wrong, like.
Norma: [00:15:42] Love, speaking through things with people and just don't have anyone here that can really do that. Or at least like Becky. And I just understand so well how our brains work so we can explain it to each other.
Becky: [00:15:52] Are connected. No, I know what you mean. I you can always FaceTime me. I'm not gonna be able to tell if you're right or not, so that might just not be worth it. Yeah, but you can see my pretty face. Becky. Oh, my gosh.
Norma: [00:16:05] Becky was in town this weekend and saw me on her way out. Then she brought me dinner, which was so kind of her like, what a queen? But she started crying because she missed me, which was reasonable. But then she's like, I forgot what you looked like. I see your.
Becky: [00:16:19] Face, but didn't I like it? Totally two dimensional. It's not three dimensional. So I forgot all the things on her face and forgot how tall she is. And I forgot what everything else looked like. So I only see her from the neck up. So don't judge me.
Norma: [00:16:34] That's true. Yeah.
Becky: [00:16:37] Um, another thing that I wanted to talk about. Like, I had this discussion with my friend a.
Norma: [00:16:41] Few weeks ago, but we were out, and we were just talking. Honestly, busy season.
Becky: [00:16:47] Yes, it sounds horrible.
Norma: [00:16:49] But compared to the hours.
Becky: [00:16:51] That I've been pulling for school.
Norma: [00:16:52] And work and studying for the CPA.
Becky: [00:16:54] Exam.
Norma: [00:16:55] I think busy season is not going to be as busy as.
Becky: [00:16:59] How I'm actually doing. Like I was pulling I'm.
Norma: [00:17:01] Pulling 50 to 70 hours a week of like being productive of like studying for school CPA exams, going to classes and work.
Becky: [00:17:10] And busy season. I'll probably work 50, 60 hours.
Norma: [00:17:13] A week like. I don't know. I feel like busy, like school is much more demanding in my opinion. But also, if you guys think I'm wrong, please note that I have not had an actual busy season. So you're allowed to tell me like.
Becky: [00:17:26] Later on, like mean. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying like, as an adult. You okay? Am I'm not really an adult, but like as a worker, you get accustomed to working 40 hours a week and you get used to having your freedom and being able to what you do, do what you want after you log off of the computer. But it's kind of hard once you do hit the I have to work more than I'm scheduled for, I guess you would say, because you're like, Oh, I usually get to relax and make my dinner, watch a TV show, read a book after work, and then you get dragged into working extra hours, barely having enough time to eat, pee, sleep, drink, water type of thing. So it's just like I completely understand that maybe the quantity of time will be different, but just the quality of how you feel is going to change. And like, I don't think I could ever go back to school now just because I don't want to be pulling the hours Norm is doing. I like doing my like 830 to 430 and sleeping and eating food and watching TV. But yesterday after exam, a bunch of us like tried to get drinks afterwards and we were.
Norma: [00:18:34] Talking about how we don't think we could go back to school. Like once we start working. I just am so amazed, like how people are able to work for a little bit and be like, Oh my gosh, I want to get my PhD, I want to get my master's, or even people who are going back to school.
Becky: [00:18:49] Just for like the first time with prompt.
Norma: [00:18:52] Prompts so that like, I'm truly amazed. I don't know how they do that because I don't think I would be able to because I've just been in a working mindset for so long. It'd be such a learning curve to go back to studying for so long. So if you're one of those people who are going back to.
Becky: [00:19:06] School right now.
Norma: [00:19:07] And you did have a break in between schools, props to you.
Becky: [00:19:11] Like, I'm.
Norma: [00:19:11] Amazed. Like that's I feel like that says a lot about you. If you're able to switch from a work mind to a school dude.
Becky: [00:19:17] I can't even change from like a work mindset to like a mindset. There are some days my brain is so swamped, I'm like, I can't even watch TV. I can't even read a book. I can't even go on my phone. What I'm going to do, what am I going to do for the next five hours until I go to bed? There are some days like that. No, sometimes my brain doesn't even want to go on. Tiktok A lot. You've just sounded like that one woman Ads from Catching Fire and The Hunger Games series, which just bitchcock. Tick tock. Tick, tock.
Norma: [00:19:48] Fuck fact of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner and Divergent, the.
Becky: [00:19:52] First movie, because it's hard to.
Norma: [00:19:54] Watch the rest because it's never finished. Okay. Yes. And sometimes those are our comfort.
Becky: [00:19:59] Movies whenever we're.
Norma: [00:20:00] Like, this was more relevant obviously, to not this year because we don't live with each other or are near each other, but like that's our comfort movies we will watch. We've probably seen.
Becky: [00:20:10] The Hunger Games. Catching Fire is the best movie and The Maze Runner because.
Norma: [00:20:15] Yes. Catching Fire is the best of all the Hunger Games because.
Becky: [00:20:20] Finnick Odair and Peeta mellark.
Norma: [00:20:21] That that is not an opinion. That is not an opinion. That is a fact.
Becky: [00:20:26] Also, if your team Gale, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Sorry. Not sorry. You know I'm right. You know I'm right. Okay. Well, before you go on and rant about that, I.
Norma: [00:20:38] Guess the last thing I wanted to talk about was my eye exam. I know I've said this for the Beck exam, but the audio exam scares me. Like, I don't know how well I'm going to do just a lot of information. I don't know. This exam frustrates me. I'm sorry. I don't need to know the order of.
Becky: [00:20:55] Presentation.
Norma: [00:20:56] Of a freaking audit opinion like the letter because. I'm sorry you guys didn't know this, but for a firm, you usually have templates on what to do. Like, don't need to know the order of how things go.
Becky: [00:21:11] Exactly. Oh, my gosh. Sorry. Like that.
Norma: [00:21:14] Quick. No, like we we have this.
Becky: [00:21:16] Book at work and it's literally one of our like ten ks ten QS area year end reports. I don't even know. And went to somebody and was like, do they type this word for word every year and they know their templates or they'll use a following year and edit it to make it portray this year. But they never sit there and type a trillion pages of information word by word for every single year. So why should Norma have to do that for all of her stuff? It's called a template.
Norma: [00:21:44] It's frustrating. My stunning. I have about two units left and my team is in a month. But during spring break I need to be done with units with all my units so then I can just have two weeks of straight review. Um, so I got to hashtag grind, but I just don't know how I'm going to do. Like I'm very scared. A lot of my friends have not passed the audit exam. Only one of them did, but she said she barely passed.
Becky: [00:22:10] Like a pass is a pass.
Norma: [00:22:11] But like, that scares me.
Becky: [00:22:12] Because she's someone who I think is smarter than.
Norma: [00:22:14] Me and the like and or we're pretty much on the same academic level. But the fact that she said she barely passed just scares me because I'm I don't the hate that my ego is going to take if I do not.
Becky: [00:22:30] Pass audit is.
Norma: [00:22:32] Going to make me cry.
Becky: [00:22:33] It won't be okay, I promise.
Speaker3: [00:22:36] I know it's.
Norma: [00:22:37] It's frustrating, but I'm really thankful for Ben because he's such, like, such an a helpful person. Like, he's like, I was I saw him the other day.
Becky: [00:22:47] He's like, I can help you.
Norma: [00:22:48] Study for your exam if you like.
Becky: [00:22:50] Have any questions that you want to ask about me.
Norma: [00:22:53] Or ask to me. But then I went to.
Becky: [00:22:55] Talk to about Place and.
Norma: [00:22:56] I can't remember, but.
Becky: [00:22:58] Like I went to his office hours.
Norma: [00:23:01] Literally just because I was so confused on like a few questions. It was like about the cycles. And I'm just like, I was never good at like the revenue cycle or like Babel cycle or Babel, the expense cycle. Like just answering those questions about like the different assertions I it was I just could not decipher the text Well. And yes, it was super.
Becky: [00:23:22] Helpful that he told me.
Norma: [00:23:23] Why the answers were what the answers were. But we went through like, okay, it's not a because of this, it's not B because of this, it's not because of this. And just.
Becky: [00:23:31] Hearing his thought process.
Norma: [00:23:33] Really helped me. And I'm so, so thankful that he's able to answer, like he says can stop by any time and he can help me study and answer my questions. And it's just really nice. Like he's not my professor anymore, which makes me freaking cry, but he's still willing to make sure that I succeed. And that's why I said like in last answer too. That's why he's the best professor. Because he cares. Sounds like a.
Becky: [00:23:57] Genius.
Norma: [00:23:58] He is a gem. An uncut gem.
Becky: [00:24:01] Okay, well, everyone.
Norma: [00:24:03] I guess that's the end of this episode. I don't have anything else to talk about. But also, I need to go dog, sit and.
Becky: [00:24:09] Pack.
Norma: [00:24:09] And then study and then also have to write an essay because I was supposed to write my essay last night, but after the exam, a bunch of us were like, No, we need to like, go decompress after that exam. Like, no, not fun. So I did not write my essay, which is good.
Becky: [00:24:24] I set boundaries for myself. I was like, Norma, like you just did not do well. You're frustrated.
Norma: [00:24:28] Don't write an essay. You need the time to decompress.
Becky: [00:24:31] So I'm going to go write it now and then. Got a city for.
Norma: [00:24:33] My CPA exam.
Becky: [00:24:35] I have to go work. I woke up early so I could do this before work. Now I'm tired, so I'm probably gonna go, like, chug a Red Bull.
Norma: [00:24:43] Ooh, I'm to go get coffee.
Becky: [00:24:46] Not normal. Literally texted me the other day and was like, Hey, I had a really bad exam. Can I have $10 for coffee? What am I made of? Money? What am I? What am I?
Norma: [00:24:56] Oh yeah. After my exam on Tuesday. Because then I could wake up early on Wednesday and study for my exam. What a queen. A sugar sister. I'm not. You're not my sugar mommy. You're my sugar sister. She wants me to call her.
Becky: [00:25:08] You owe me so much money next year. I'm telling you, there's probably gonna be, like, two weeks where I can go without spending money on myself.
Norma: [00:25:16] I was going to say can buy like the first month worth of groceries.
Becky: [00:25:19] I think that's going to actually yeah, that might account for it. Don't know. Young says she watched The Hunger Games anyways. Well, everyone, I hope you have a splendid day. Like I said.
Norma: [00:25:33] You need to speak out loud how you're doing. Maybe even scream it. Maybe I can hear it. Who knows?
Becky: [00:25:38] Okay. Have an absolutely splendid week. Don't forget to be great. Be great. Okay. Bye. Twinsies. Long time.
Norma: [00:25:47] No see. Oh, not even long time, no see. See you next time. Twinsies.
Becky: [00:25:57] We should name this episode like the games to pass or not to pass? Yeah. Oh, like The Hunger Games.
Norma: [00:26:05] The games. May the odds be ever in your favor. Oh, my God.