In part 1 of this series, I discussed things you could consider when choosing your module electives surrounding the CPA PEP requirements: education, evaluation, and experience. Here in part 2, I will take a more subjective approach. I base my advice on my experiences with the thousands of candidates I have personally taught and the tens of thousands of candidates I have interacted with during my last ten years working with CPA PEP and a similar legacy designation.
A few 'bonus' considerations.
I like bonus things. Who doesn't? Here are a few for you to ponder after reading my advice in part 1 of this mini-series focused on my objective, CPA PEP-based guidance.
In general, I think we should craft a career, a life, made up of things that make us excited.
Which of the electives entices you? Speaks to you? When we are intrinsically motivated to complete something, we do better. In general, I think we should craft a career, a life, made up of things that make us excited.
Have a master's degree in finance or the CFA designation? Volunteer as a non-profit strategy consultant? However you developed strengths in a particular area, I suggest leaning into this. Your CPA designation will help start or further your career, but it won't necessarily define it. I'd suggest focusing your existing strengths toward elective module success.
You do you
We often see self-inflicted peer pressure around module choice. Some candidates see feel pressured to do the same set of elective modules as their friends, classmates, and colleagues or to write in a particular Day 2 role. Perhaps it is the pressure, or a "just in case" they want to earn their CPA with licensure to have the open to be an Audit/Assurance partner in a firm and sign off on financial statements.
In my experience, a "just in case" elective and/or Day 2 role is too much of a gamble. Candidates who do not have any related experience or support may struggle to pass their Day 2 Elective. Further, suppose you do not have supporting work experience already. In that case, you will need to complete additional post-designation work experience (amongst other requirements) if you are not already working in a firm.
Make a decision and live with it.
My parting advice is to remember there is no "right" or "wrong" path. Do your best with the available information (including this article 😉) and go forward. The paradox of choice (Schwarz, 2005) is there because many people make a decision and then second guess whether they have made the best choice. Don't wonder. You have a reasonable number of elective options and tools available to assist your choice. Make your decision and look forward, not back. Do that and have more difficult decisions while simultaneously growing in your career.
Such is my advice for your elective module choice, career, and life.
Schwartz, B. (2005). The paradox of choice. https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_the_paradox_of_choice
Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum.
Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB and a Senior Instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education. Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.