Yesterday, as I was going through my Facebook On This Day notification, I was reminded that I became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) five years ago. The first thing that came to my mind is, “Whoa, time does fly so fast I didn’t notice that it has been five years already since the time I made it through the grueling CPA board examinations!”. It is such a surreal feeling, and I can barely resist and look back to journey that was, and what it has been, so far.

An Impasse

I’ve always been a competitor since grade school. However, the trophy isn’t mine. The green medal is mine though 🙂 

Ten years ago, I found myself at yet another crossroad. I just graduated from high school and I was not sure on what degree to pursue, which road to take. On one side, I am constantly badgered by my family to take a degree that would eventually lead to a legal degree, like accountancy or political science. On the other side, I wanted to pursue something that I really wanted. But the thing is, I wasn’t really sure either what I wanted.

I was so unsure that even during my enrollment I didn’t have a solid decision on which degree to take. But ultimately, I enrolled in the Accountancy program, halfheartedly relenting to my family’s endless prodding. It was not totally about giving in to their wishes but rather it is more on wanting to test the waters first before going full throttle.

June 1, 2007. That was the first day of a new chapter in my life. I am finally a college student. Unsure as I was still of my choice, there was somehow a feeling of excitement about this new endeavor. Aside from the learning and the experience, I am looking forward more on the possibility of meeting and gaining new friends.

Although initially I didn’t have an iota on what an accountant does, I was cruising through every trimester, passing every subject, even the major ones. In all honesty, I was surprised, a lot, that I’d cruise through every subject. I even passed some with flying colors! Maybe this is a sign, a sign that I am on the right track. Maybe accounting is in me. But the ride was rarely ever smooth. There were times I had to sail on rough waters and there were days that made me reevaluate my choice.

Of Failures

The CPA licensure examination is adjudged as one of the most difficult licensure examinations. As a result, schools offering accountancy degrees have taxing programs, and the University of the Cordilleras is no different. Failures are common place. Even I have failed some of my subjects, three to be exact, one during my undergraduate and two review subjects. On the other side of the spectrum, stories of success are also abundant.

Wherever you may go, always hold high the torch, because “Yes, UCan!”

I had a friend who failed a major accounting subject on our first year. But instead of giving up, it only fueled his desire. The next trimester, he studied with jest and passed that very subject with colors. He didn’t fail another subject after that. His grades were so outstanding that he was eventually tapped as a future board topnotcher. He passed the board, although not as a topnotcher, and is now a successful audit manager in a major auditing firm.

I also have another friend who never gave up. She kept failing her major subjects but her indomitable spirit never wavered. There was one subject she failed at least four times, making her professors doubt her capabilities of make it through the board exams. But she proved her naysayers wrong. Though it took quite some time, she graduated and passed the board examinations, on her first try!

Even I had my doubts. On my last trimester, I nearly failed one subject. I was dispirited because I really wanted to graduate on time. I was inconsolable for a few weeks. But by His gracious blessing, my prayers were heard. My professor gave me a passing grade. I breathed a sigh of relief later on. Had it been otherwise, I am not sure I would have come back.

Failures are part of life. But at the end of the day, it is still up to us if we want to give up, or if we want to keep battling on. The choice is ultimately ours. We may cry and breakdown, but still we must learn to pick up the pieces and move forward. I have finally surmised why “failure” is in the dictionary. It is a manner by which we learn.

In spite of the challenges, I’ll always be proud of being a part of one of the largest accounting firm in the country. 

The Ultimate Test

Graduating from college was just the first step. The real test was just about to commence. A year after leaving the gates of UC, I finally found myself facing one of the toughest examinations I’ve ever had. It is not just about the difficulty of the examinations that I was taking into consideration but also its implications to my future. This is it, finally, all those years of studies is about to conclude on this four-day grueling examinations.

During the first day, I was nervous but I had to conquer my nerves if I were to make it through. The first three subjects were smooth sailing. This helped me settle myself down. However, the worst came in the form of the fourth subject, Auditing Theories (AT). I had difficulty discerning the questions. When the grades came out, I wasn’t surprised that AT was my lowest mark.

The last three subjects were my most challenging. I wasn’t fond of computations, especially Practical Accounting 2 (P2). Auditing Problems (AP) was the first subject I failed in college although I fought my way to proving that I can excel in this subject. Lastly, I am really confused between Practical Accounting 1 (P1) and AP, resulting in me applying AP principles in P1.

During my AP examinations, I had to erase some of my answers. This discomfited me for the next few days before the results were issued. It made me seethe in nervousness. Erasures are highly discouraged during the examinations. I was seriously considering the probability of failure.

Wherever you go, choose to excel in what you are doing.

May 22, 2012. Two days after the completion of the May 2012 board exams, the results were finally released. I was shaking in both anticipation and nervousness. Alas, I’m finally able to breath a sigh of relief when a friend texted me that I have passed the board exams. It felt so unreal that I immediately went looking for a computer. Imagine my frustration when the PRC site was lagging due to the influx of internet traffic. Lo and behold, I was finally able to enter their site, and there, there is my name, Batnag, Carl L! Wow, I am officially a Certified Public Accountant!

I was in cloud nine the rest of the day, accepting words of congratulations and simultaneously replying my gratitude. I was feeling so incredulous that that I kept looking at the PRC site in case there were changes. Thankfully my name is still on the list. But man, this is all so surreal!


After the passing the examinations, people keep on asking me on what I did to achieve just that. There is no clear formula on how to achieve success in life, and that includes passing the Accountancy program, and the CPA board examinations. For me, it was all a conglomeration of various circumstances and people that finally led me to the podium finish I so longed for when I firmed up my decision to be a CPA.

Here are the things that I believe were the key. This is a rough sketch of my Testimonial Dinner speech I made two months after the board examinations. This was impromptu and I cannot recall everything clearly.

And here I was, fresh off the board exams, trying to inspire aspiring CPAs. 

FAMILY. My gratitude will always extend to my family who saw me through every ordeal and endeavor. I must say that they have supported me all the way, through the triumphs and tribulations, through every victory and every failure. They were my rock and their unwavering support.

ACQUAINTANCES. Aside from my family, the other set of people I am thankful for are my friends, especially the ones who I rode the ride with. My surviving the Accounting program wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for them. They were the reasons I kept pushing in spite of the odds. The healthy competition amongst us was another reason that I strive to keep on getting better.

INSPIRATION. Let’s admit it, attaining something in life would be difficult if one has barely any motivation. Having the right set of inspiration, may it be a person, a thing or a dream, makes us achieve things we initially thought were impossible. Inspiration is a great driving force in achieving one’s dreams.

TRUST. Trust in yourself and in your own abilities. As much as the journey is about the people who help you along the way, it is still about you and how much you trust yourself in achieving things you set your heart for.

HOPE. Even in the darkest corners, and the most challenging of obstacles, hope will always spring eternal.

But above all these things, the most important thing is FAITH in the Lord. Never forget that all things are possible through Him. He will guide you to where you will be or should be. He will see you through every challenge. Always pray and thank the Lord for every blessing. But don’t pray just for yourself, pray for everyone, even those who wish you harm. His wisdom is beyond you.

The Waiting Game 

The waiting game can be very excruciating. To the May 2017 CPA board takers, find ways to occupy your time so that it won’t be bothered by the thoughts of the licensure examinations. You have done your best, let the rest do their jobs. It is no longer in your hands. Take a deep breath and just have faith.

Let me extend my warmest congratulations to the ones who will pass the May 2017 CPA board examinations. I am wishing you all the best on your next endeavors. For those who will not pass the board examinations, never lose hope. There are no words to express how saddened I am by your failure but do know that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. You might feel like your whole world has fallen apart, but again, never lose hope.

I was reminded of a scene in college when a friend failed a subject on what was supposed to be her last trimester. Our professor was trying to console her but he said, “I won’t ask you if you’re okay because I know you are not.” It would be hypocritical to say otherwise. Things will work out in the end, just learn how to have faith in yourself and in Him. He has plans for you although it may not always seem clear. Instead of drowning in misery, pick yourself up and study, study harder so that when the time comes, you’ll be able to seal the deal, and finally have that three-letter extension to your name.

The road to becoming a CPA is indeed fraught with challenges. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy but believe me when I say that it’s all going to be worth it. And with the right mind and the right attitude, and with His guidance, one can conquer all, attain all, and obtain all. All it takes is FAITH.

“Do not just dream it, work it. It takes a lot to transform a dream into a reality but it will be rewarding.”