Life After the CPA Exam…

…is FUN!

I took and passed the final section of the CPA Exam in late May (3 days before I got engaged!).  Before that, it was 15 months of non-stop studying, worrying, and stressing.

Was it worth it?

Already, I can say YES.

Although, I’m still awaiting my CPA license in the mail (seriously, they are taking their sweet time), I can already see the doors that will open up for me.  It’s a pretty sweet deal to be able to have this on the top of your resume:

Amber Balanced, CPA (BOOYAH!)

Okay, so maybe that last word isn’t included in my real resume, but having those three little letters behind your name is a real eye-catcher.

When people introduce me to others these days, it goes a little something like this:

“Hey, this is my super awesome friend, Amber.  …she just passed the CPA Exam.”

I always laugh it off and wave my hand like I’m brushing that comment aside and say something like:

“Oh, geeeeeeez, it’s really not that big of a deal, guys….ha ha…well… actually it is, I gave up 15 months of my life to study for the exam.  If you have a couple minutes, I’d be happy to tell you all about it…?”

Anyways, back to the point, here are a couple things I’ve got going on in my life since I’ve passed the exam:

  • I work in accounting.  My job title is “Accountant”.  I know a lot about debits and credits and reconciliations and financial reporting and analysis and financial systems and all that uber-interesting stuff, but those aren’t things I’m truly interested in.  I’d love to get into tax, but I also don’t want to work 150 hours a week (leaving only 18 to sleep and eat…).  So, I’m currently looking for a part-time tax position for this winter/spring.  I have several contacts at work (some who even have a tax business on the side), so I’m feeling out the best options.  As a CPA, I really want to get some experience in corporate and partnership tax.  I am pretty well-versed in individual tax (I mean, I’ve been teaching people about their tax returns since the age of 18, come on), but I haven’t seen every situation.  I’d love to get the opportunity to do that over the next couple of years before we decide to let future-baby-Amber and future-baby-Lloyd take over our house.
  • I have SO MUCH time now that I’m not studying.  It is, pardon my slang, EPIC.  You don’t even know.  It’s the most amazing thing to be able to come home from work and do whatever I want besides study like-kind exchanges and audit principals.  Given that I have so much free time now, I’ve been devoting a lot more time to my church and helping my family find more time to foster their spiritual beliefs.  I’m enrolled in two Bible study classes every week and I’m so excited about that!  Bible>>>>>>>CPA books
  • Also in my free time, I’ve been working on my fitness like a mad woman.  It’s great to be back!  It’s been tough getting back to where I was before the CPA (when fitness was literally like second nature to me), but I’m slowly but surely getting back to that routine.  Also, as I get closer and closer to the age of 30 (*shiver*), I see just how hard it is to maintain your figure.  I’m already having to work that much harder to keep everything in check.  Boo to aging!
  • I’ve also been just generally enjoying the good life: reading some good books, hanging out with the girls, trying on (and buying!) wedding dresses, planning for the wedding, etc. etc.  Like I said, life after the CPA is FUN!
  • And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been dedicating a lot more time to my writing and blogging.  I LOVE blogging/writing and don’t see myself shutting down shop any time soon.  So, stick around kids, it’s gonna be awhile.


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PLEASE PLEASE update your RSS feed to:

I’ll be deleting both of the Carrie…On The Cheap feeds eventually, so it’s really important that you do this or I’ll have to put you in time out!  Ha. 

Also, if your blogroll still says “Carrie…On The Cheap”, please update it to “Blonde & Balanced” … or else I will come find you!  Seriously.  You’ll get an e-mail.  🙂

One last thing:

Thanks for including me in these two carnivals, Well-Heeled and Nerd Wallet!

Carnival of Money Stories: Oktoberfest Edition

Carnival of Personal Finance: Little Red Riding Hood Edition



  • I actually just finished my CPA exam in May as well and got my license in May. It is one of the best feelings in the world to be done with that darn thing!

    I am also an accountant and agree that I would like to get more involved in taxes. Are you in the public sector of accounting? Do you plan on taking a part time tax position on top of your FT job? I was thinking of doing the same thing and was wondering how you were balancing everything.

    I have been reading your blog for a while and I have really enjoyed it. I would love to get more into finance blogging at some time but for now I just love reading. Thanks for all the work you do and the great articles you put out!

    • Wow, congrats! Yes, I would like to do the part-time thing in addition to my full-time job. I imagine it to be difficult, but I figure I can make it through 3 months? If you end up doing the same thing, I’d be interested in hearing how it works out for you! E-mail me anytime: [email protected] Thanks for reading!

  • Congratulations! I’m an accounting major in college, I don’t know how long I want to do it, but learning more about accounting and business never hurt anyone right?! I didn’t go to art college because I wanted to study both business and art at the state college, and from what I’ve learned even the prestigious art colleges don’t teach much in the way of business for their students. Its no wonder a lot of art students get discouraged after college while they know how to make beautiful art, its hard for them to deal with the business world since they weren’t trained for it.

    btw I did check out carrie on the cheap before and the fuchsia color scared me off, its nice that you updated to a better looking website, not saying that webdesign is what matters, because content does too, but its that bright color that made it hard for me to read. A lot of guys like writing about finance online and they’ll have this bright green color, its just as blinding and it scares me off. Its kind of hard to read someone’s writings when the background color is so bright and distracting.

    Plus I think the name blonde and balanced is more unique to you and less like an SATC ripoff, so kudos for being more unique with this blog name. Just goes to show you can achieve anything you want if you go for it, its nice that you posted about going after the CPA, you rarely hear about someone’s process with how they studied and how it went. =)

  • Congrats! A friend of ours is taking the exam and he’s currently in hibernation mode to study, so I know how difficult it is. It’s important to do something you love, and it sounds like you’ll be happy in your career!

  • I am preparing to graduate with the training requirements, I will have to pass the CPA exam. I intend to find a job and take the exam later in life, but this blog inspired me to kill this test as soon as possible. At this time next year I'll take and pass the CPA exam!

  • Congratulations! I’m taking my last section (FAR) next month. I’ve been studying for a year and a half now….I can’t even imagine what i’m going to do with all the free time that I will soon have!

  • Hi Amber, Welcome aboard the Yakezie train! And as a former accounting major (who’s made a major life shift then), I can personally attest to just how much effort goes into getting (and keeping) your CPA. So nice work!

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