The In-Betweens

Grad pic - Aljes Reyes 1“While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

True. Anything is within your reach if you only know how to strongly grasp to your dream. Not even a thing can hinder you from achieving great things. If you let faith drive you, you become unstoppable. But good as it is, you should not let God take it all alone, we must do our part. I believe I’ve done mine. So, this…is my CMA journey, the realization of the dream that was once impossible.

I first heard of the CMA title during our freshmen orientation in college. It was the time that CPA and CMA were new to my ears. It was cited that BSA degree is to CPA (Philippine License) and BSMA degree is to CMA (International Certification). It is quite ironic, passing through a tight screening to be retained as a BSA and passing the CPA examination gives you a national license while being shifted to BSMA and passing the CMA examination gives you an international one. This impression is in fact not true because anyone with a college degree can be a CMA. In the end I realized that BSA and CPA are neither superior nor inferior to CMA and BSMA. They have their own merits which can complement each other. In that instance, I subconsciously dreamed the impossible to be both a CPA and CMA.

The opportunity came when IMA Philippines and Insights Financial Review launched the 1st National CMA Quiz Bowl. I joined the regional elimination and the national competition wherein I earned my CMA scholarship. I placed 4th in the regional elimination but didn’t imagine placing 3rd in the nationals. It was a blessing from above indeed. And it would really be impossible without the help of my professors and Bicol University who shouldered the cost of joining the competition. I was also very lucky that Sir Angel Secerio granted us full CMA program scholarship instead of the partial scholarship initially awarded. I think that’s part of God’s plan for me to pursue my CPA-CMA dream which I will be deeply grateful forever. But before every success is our share of mishaps, pain and hopelessness. Countless challenges lie in taking both the CPA and CMA exams in the same month of October 2015. The preparation for both was never so easy. The grueling demands of each exam were nearly unbearable. How did I do it? Balance. There’s no perfect formula for this because each of us has our own. But I will tell you this, if you know how to prioritize and manage your time, you can save yourself from a lot of frustrations and I-think-I-cannot-do-it mindset. It is matter of sacrifices and maybe a little bit of escape and absence from your social life and spends more time to your long-time books and handouts.

The 2-Part CMA exam itself is relatively different from the CPA exam. It includes both a multiple choice section and an essay section. The essay section is actually out of my comfort zone compared to the pure multiple choice Philippine CPA exams. The coverage for both exams somehow overlapped. The CMA exam tackles advanced topics in management services, basic topics in U.S. GAAP financial accounting in contrast with IFRS, U.S. GAAS auditing, internal auditing and some international laws.

The review was full of ups and downs. I knew that I was not in my full capacity during the exams and I was still far from my limit. But I told myself that I was never giving up. Still having a month before my D-Day, I took the risk of cramming for both, a 2-week marathon for the CPA exam and a 1-week marathon for the CMA exam. I doubted myself in passing both exams. But what else can I do but to trust myself and to do my best.

The CPA exam came last October 3, 4, 10 and 11. In God’s grace, I passed the CPA exam and earned the 20th place. That gave me a boost to be more eager to study for the upcoming CMA exam. Then the CMA exam came last October 28 and 29. The 2-part exam was nerve-wracking. It was grimly challenging. But luckily with the support of Insights, my professors, family, relatives, friends and the one to whom I promised to do my best, I also passed both parts of the CMA exam. In a matter of weeks, I am now both a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA). This only proves that the difficult CPA journey takes time and the impossible CPA-CMA journey takes a little longer. If you want it, believe you can. Claim it and it’s all yours.

To CPA and CMA dreamers, always have your “Can Pass Attitude” and “Can Master Attitude” with you. But remember that as much as it is important to focus on your goal, forgetting to enjoy the journey offsets the feel of success. Remember that what make you strong are those things that happen to you on the way. What made you the person you are now is the journey itself. You’ve grown not only because you battled with an aim, not only for you to win, but also because you tried battling and winning even after failing and falling countless of times. You see, it is never easy to start. You become fretful, unsettled and anxious. Beginnings give you worries and for an instance, endings make you sad, but do remember it is the “in betweens’ that give you extreme emotions you never ought to forget.

 

About the author:  Aljes O. Reyes is a magna cum laude graduate from Bicol University with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. He garnered the 20th highest score from among 13,317 CPA candidates who took the CPA examination last October, 2015. He scored 440 in CMA Part 1 and 430 in CMA Part 2 exams, with just under 12 days preparation. Aljes is currently an audit associate in a Big 4 auditing firm based in Makati.

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