My One Regret as a CPA

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My one regret as a CPA

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be able to attend the swearing-in ceremony for new CPAs in Texas.  I was attending as a representative of the TSCPA Executive Board.  Several hundred professionals had qualified to become new CPAs.  It was a joy to see them cross the stage to officially receive their certificate.  Most were handed their certificates by a member of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, but several that had family members that were also CPAs chose to have the certificate given to them by their family member onstage.  It was a special moment for all.

This was the first swearing-in ceremony I had ever attended.  Believe it or not, I didn’t even attend my own.  I remember at the time, when I was in my mid-20’s, thinking that I just wanted to get on with my life and that walking across stage to receive my CPA certificate was something that I could afford to skip.  While I have thought a few times over the years that it would have been nice if I would have attended the ceremony for the memory if nothing else, I can’t say that I ever truly regretted not attending until that day.  My father was a CPA, and so when I saw the new CPAs that were receiving their certificates from their family members, a feeling of regret came over me.

When I was 20-something, I just wanted to get on with my life and I saw my father practically every day at that point.  However, now that my father has passed, I realize what a special memory it would have been if I would have attended for no other reason than to let my Dad hand me the certificate.  It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime chances to form a memory that would have lasted forever.  I regret not attending the swearing-in ceremony and allowing my father, very proud at the time I may add, present me with my CPA certificate.

The lesson learned…

Writing this caused me to think about what advice I would give to another new CPA that is considering not attending their swearing-in ceremony.  It is simply this…

There are many special occasions that you may choose to skip because they come along often.  Christmas celebrations, Thanksgiving get-togethers, or even birthdays.  Deciding to put other priorities ahead of them is usually a mistake, but at least you have the opportunity to celebrate the next one when it comes along.  However, there are some occasions that may not seem as special, but that truly are once-in-a-lifetime events.  They may seem trivial at the time, but consider how you may feel a few decades later.  When you look back, will you be OK with the fact that you chose to do something else?  It helps you put the importance in perspective when you consider how your older self may feel.  Today when I look back at my decision to skip the swearing-in ceremony, I know that I missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a memory.  I regret not taking that opportunity.

I know this is a heavier topic than we usually cover, but I hope you have found some truth or insight in it for yourself.  Until next time and as always, I wish you the best in your career.

Mark Goldman, CPA

Son of Clark Goldman, CPA