Getting to CPA

I am a 33-year old accounting major, with the goal of becoming a CPA. Being older than my classmates, I sometimes wonder if there is anything I am less aware of than they in becoming a CPA or just being successful in business.
— S. Pomelia , Via the Internet

Your success is not predicated on when you start the process — it’s how you navigate the journey. What matters is not the age of your classmates, but the relationships you develop today that may be mutually beneficial in the future.

What you should focus on is developing a network and establishing resources that will keep you informed. Legislation introduced in 42 states in 2005 requires CPA candidates to have an additional 30 hours beyond a traditional bachelor’s degree in college coursework. So it’s important while you’re completing your degree to take a variety of internships. Aside from gaining course credit, internships are an invaluable learning experience.

Also, consider being an active participant in a professional organization such as The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (www. You should also consider the National Association of Black Accountants ( Less than 1% of CPAs are black, a point noted in a book you should review called A White-Collar Profession: African American Certified Public Accountants Since 1921 by Theresa M. Hammond (Scholarly Book Services Inc; $24.95).

Mail your career development questions to Since You Asked, BLACK ENTERPRISE, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 or send an e-mail to