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PODCAST: CPA shares perspective on exam struggles, networking advice and more

Written on Oct 14, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

Passing the CPA exam felt like a struggle for Courtney Arrington. When she looked for resources to help, most of what she found focused on passing every section on the first try or within a certain number of months. 

“A lot of the videos and blog posts that I would see were how to be a top performer in your role or how to pass the CPA exam in three months,” said Arrington, now a CPA and principal at Arrington Solutions. “But there wasn't really anything where people said ‘This is really hard. Here's where I messed up. Here's where I've made mistakes.’ I just wasn't finding a lot of that.” 

That’s what inspired Arrington in 2017 to start her blog, The Accounting Struggle. Studying for the CPA exam, starting to work at a new firm and figuring out what life after graduation looked like for a young professional felt overwhelming at times; Arrington thought others might feel the same. She began to post about what she learned on the job, such as how to behave as an intern or how not to go over budget on a client project, along with her CPA exam highs and lows. 

“The response was pretty overwhelming,” said Arrington. “And a lot of people said, ‘Oh my gosh, I totally relate to this.’ And that's what's kept me continuing with the Accounting Struggle and growing it even more.” 

Arrington graduated in 2016 from Virginia Commonwealth University, and she said shortly after she started writing her blog, she began to record her videos on YouTube because she had so much to say about certain topics. She now shares her content across a variety of social media channels and said her audience never has a shortage of questions – especially when it comes to the CPA exam. 

She said it’s particularly meaningful to her when those taking the exam reach out and thank her for sharing her experience. 

“I'll have people say, ‘Thank you for making this video. I was going to quit and now that I see this video that you posted of you passing, it just motivates me to continue trying,’” she said. “And messages like that make me feel like it's all worth it. Really, it blesses me, it makes me feel like I'm working within my purpose.” 

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