Introducing Women in Accounting: Kaylyn Rolle
How many women in accounting have you met during this past year, the time of virtual commitments of Zoom meetings?
You might not have met any other women in finance. Or, you may have had your fair share of virtual lunch and learns or wine tastings.
Now that we're nearing the end of 2020, get ready to add one more Lady Boss to your list.
But, before we get into it: who is Kaylyn Rolle?
Kaylyn Rolle is an accounting professional with over 13 years of experience in accounting, a Client Service Associate at Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, a graduate from the University of The Bahamas—and, as of just a few weeks ago, a licensed CPA.
Kaylyn has been tracking her years-long journey obtaining her CPA license on Instagram—follow her!—so The Lady CPA Network decided to sit down and chat with her about her experience studying for the CPA exam, her journey as a woman in accounting, and what she’s learned.
When did you decide to pursue a CPA certification?
"I decided I wanted to become a CPA somewhere between graduating high school and beginning college. As much as I hated not being able to get my balance sheet or trial balance balanced in high school, I enjoyed the process of figuring it out—I believe this is what sparked my desire to further pursue forensic accounting. I’m not necessarily a numbers person, but for me, accounting fulfilled me in a way that the other subjects in school didn’t.
And because of that, I decided to pursue one of the highest designations in accounting.
Once I began my Bachelor’s degree, I’d already had my career life planned out. At least I thought I did! I knew I wanted to take the path of becoming a CPA and working in a Big 4 accounting firm. I’d already decided what state I wanted to be licensed under, which firm I wanted to work at, and I started taking the steps to make it happen.
I chose to become a CPA because it covers every aspect of accounting and isn’t just focused on one area. It would open me up to a vast array of opportunities.
I remember coming across Matthew 24:13; I liked how it sounded, and I connected with it for some reason, not knowing it would represent the journey I was beginning."
Tell us about your journey studying for the exam.
"Preparing for the CPA exam was not the smooth process I thought it would be. I thought studying for the CPA exam would be easier than college but it turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster for me!
This is where Matthew 24:13 was tested in me.
In total, I bought 28 NTS and I think I used 25 of them sitting an exam. I started the exam in 2016 and got my first pass in the summer of 2017. Fast forward to 2019, and I lost both REG and BEC credits because FAR and AUD gave me such a hard time.
I took REG seven times and passed twice. BEC six times and passed twice. AUD six times and passed once. FAR seven times and passed once."
Which section was most difficult for you? The easiest?
"AUD was the most difficult for me to study because it requires a certain mindset. There’s no alternative or “common sense” way to audit. I always answered with the opposite of the correct response!
No section really felt easy, but REG became my most liked/preferred section. Also, the most interesting for me to study."
What did your exam strategy look like?
"I’m a visual learner, so my studies consisted of watching lectures and then doing the test bank.
At first, I started with an in-class review, but that proved not to work for me. My scores started improving when I started self-study with Gleim and Wiley.
So, I’d study in the mornings before work, on my lunch break sometimes, and then after work. I also used audio notes and focus notes as much as I could."
What helped during your studying process?
"I found my greatest moments or breakthroughs with understanding concepts came when I studied first thing in the mornings and planned out my sessions rather than just studying without focus.
Creating schedules and to-do lists helped me accomplish more, use my time better, and study more effectively."
What hurt you during your studying process?
"Repeated failure. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong.
I knew I was putting in the work, but I didn’t understand where I was going wrong."
Did you have a mentor or reach out to anyone for help? Why or why not?
"I had and still have a supportive group of friends who have been and are still on this journey.
Deciding to blog my journey on Instagram has been very encouraging and uplifting—and it also helps keep you accountable!
Though it hurt to post about my failures, it was always encouraging watching others on the journey succeed. And a lot of times, their posts encouraged me to push even harder."
Tell us about the moment you found out you passed the exam.
"When I passed my first exam, I cried.
I recall opening my score report with my heart racing and I ran to my mom and told her I finally passed. I embraced her and just cried.
When I found out I passed my final part last month and I was officially done, I was in complete shock and speechless. I was soooo scared and irritable waiting on the score; when it finally came through, all I could say was 'Mom, I’m done.'
She screamed and called everyone! I did a video call with my sisters and they were so happy for me, they were jumping and screaming and praising. I just sat there with the phone in my hand, staring, just in shock.
No words came to me, but a feeling of relief is what ran through me."
Now that you have your CPA certification, what are your plans?
"My plans are: catch up on sleep!
But really, to gain the necessary experience to become licensed hopefully at a Big 4 and then begin my pursuit of Forensic Accounting.
While doing all of this, my heart’s desire is to also become a wife and mom.
I want to live a happy, fulfilled life."