Isn’t it common to see these days in LinkedIn that people putting up posts on their completion of certifications or even degrees? This phenomenon has exponentially increased since the beginning of the lockdown. People are working from home or just staying at home and those dreadful commutes to office or college and back home are a respite now. With this extra time available, people are finding ways to upskill or learn something new. It is also a FOMO (Fear of missing out) phenomenon, Oh ! my colleague has done this certification or acquired this qualification, I should do the same or else he will get promoted. Whatever might be the reason for acquiring certifications or degrees, upskilling, learning, unlearning, and cross-learning remains at the core of professional development.
My CPA review Classes
I remembered the beginning of the year 2013, it was the last time I spent hours spread across many weekends listening to a recorded lecture for my CPA Review classes. I had to go to a local university for classes. The classes though were mentally taxing as it began at 9 AM and sometimes ended at 7 or 8 PM, I enjoyed them as I had signed up for the classes with a deep sense of passion to have a CPA after my name by end of the year. With six months of the review classes, two months of absence from work studying at home, and one month of travel to the USA to give the exam, I was able to clear all four sections of the uniform CPA exam. If I had to describe the tools that I leveraged to clear the exam it is this – self-discipline, self-motivation, hard work, consistency, and perseverance. I am glad I was able to clear the uniform CPA exam in one go of ten months. Today when I look back at my professional journey, the CPA qualification has immensely helped me move up the corporate echelons from being an individual contributor to being a part of the senior management for a publicly listed company.
Changing learning landscape
Today when I look at the learning landscape, some attributes of it have changed. With high-speed broadbands permeating every nook and corner of the world, educational institutions are leveraging online mediums to impart teaching to students in any part of the world. Some of the courses online are equivalent to on-premise degree programs. That means you don’t have to travel to a foreign country to get a prestigious degree. You can earn it learning from home. In the post-COVID-19 world, such programs will become more mainstream as people shun travel and prefer isolated existence. Take for example the CPA review classes I am familiar with, in 2013 I had to travel to the local university to take the classes and today the same CPA Review Institute has all the classes and practice tests available online. The ability to take classes from remote appeals to anyone who is hard-pressed for time with work and family commitments. However it is important to note that it requires a greater amount of self-discipline to crack the online model of learning. When I was taking my CPA review classes, there was peer pressure that helped and it was a fear that my friends at the institute will get ahead of me. Now with the online medium, you are a competitor to yourself. You have to ask yourself – How can I be a better version of myself and discipline myself to put in those consistent hours of hard work.
Uniform CPA exam in India
As the world is grappling with the pandemic, the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, national professional organization of Certified Public Accountants in the United States) came out with great news for wannabe accountants. It has decided to offer the uniform CPA examinations in India starting September 2020 (https://nasba.org/cpaexam-india/ ). The pathway to a global accounting qualification has become easier and has come at an opportune time for finance professionals and students. As they battle the pandemic staying at home, they should utilize the spare time available to become a CPA. After all compared to the Indian CA, the US CPA has just four parts to the exam and one can be qualified in as little as 8-10 months of time.