The Arena: Part 2

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Jun 2, 2023
Photo credit: londondeposit/
This article is Part 2 of The Arena, a two-part series introducing the 2023 CPAWSB's Candidate Journey eBook a zero-cost resource for current and aspiring Canadian CPA PEP candidates. Click here to access The Arena: Part 1.

Dr. Brené Brown, a researcher who investigates themes surrounding vulnerability, shame, and leadership, shares in her book Daring Greatly that she was inspired by a speech Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Finding Support Through Your CPA Journey

By deciding to pursue your CPA designation, you have entered the arena. It won’t be easy, but you aren’t alone. You have a whole network of support from your classmates, colleagues, online facilitators, session leaders, administrators, and resources, including our collection of articles in this book.

This book is organized as follows. First, with items for those new to CPA PEP. It then explains and examines elements of academic integrity. The third part offers advice surrounding tutors and mentors. Advice for after attaining one’s CPA designation and career progression follows. Core and elective module advice come next, then exam and case writing best practices. This book concludes similar to your CPA education journey, with articles on Capstones 1 and 2, and the Common Final Examination (CFE).

You may want to read this book from start to finish, front to back. Or you could skim the table of contents and select a section or story that may be helpful to you. I encourage you to treat this book as a buffet; take what you want and leave the rest. Unlike a buffet, feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues. As adult learners in this graduate-level program, I sincerely hope our book supports your brave efforts as you progress in your CPA journey.

“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” — Brené Brown

Sam's Journey After CPA

In 2021, I started my Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) to research effective business education practices. My CPA designation set a strong foundation for my career. It carried me through roles in public practice, the C-suite of a public company, and now as tenured teaching faculty. I am currently living my best life pursuing my goals and dreams, in large part due to my accounting designation and those who helped me attain it.

My journey is now building upon my CPA foundation, to include applied-research efforts in both professional and scholarly education. Like the CPA journey, the world of academic research and publishing is unclear. At times I have wanted to stand up and yell loudly (more than once!). That is okay because, like you, I have a team of supporters who will help me find my way.

“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our a**es kicked.” — Brené Brown

Get Connected

CPA PEP is difficult. When times get tough, in the dark and in the light, know you are not alone. We are connected through our fabulous team of educators, staff, administrators, and resources like the guidance in this book. I am personally available via your D2L discussion boards and email. And if I do not reply right away, you know exactly where to find me: I will be in the arena.

See you there!

This blog post is an excerpt from the forward of 2023 CPAWSB's Candidate Journey eBook, a zero-cost resource for current and aspiring Canadian CPA PEP candidates.

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.