In this special series of blog posts, CPA couples discuss how they supported each other through their CPA journeys.
Adrian Serban CPA, MBA, Corporate Accountant at Wolf Midstream Inc., and Sarah Larsen CPA, Controller at CB Process Instrumentation and Controls (pictured above).
How is your love story tied to accounting?
Adrian Serban (AS): Love blossomed in accounting class. Sarah and I met in university and took most of our accounting classes together. We almost worked at the same firm, and we went through the CPA program together.
Sarah Larsen (SL): I was in my second year of university when I met Adrian. Our relationship started in accounting class and continued to be connected to accounting after we graduated. We both started CPA PEP, and although we took different elective modules, we wrote Capstone 1 and 2 together, and the CFE at the same time in 2016.
It sounds like you had a lot of the same experiences. How did you support each other through the process?
SL: Our shared experiences helped us understand what the other person was going through. We supported each other by making sure we stayed on track towards our shared goal of passing the CFE. We set expectations and mutually agreed that we would focus during study time, but we also made sure to take weekends off to relax.
AS: We both wanted to be successful and not have to write the CFE again, so we took it very seriously. We marked one another’s cases and held each other accountable. If one of us got a bad score, the other would give more feedback and more improvement points. At the end of the day, we knew we could rely on one another for encouragement and motivation. I cannot recall a time Sarah wasn’t there for me when I needed somebody to help or just listen to me. The same goes for Sarah. Whenever she needed support, I was right there for her. We were on the CPA journey together, and we were going to successfully pass the CFE together.
It sounds like setting expectations was super important for you. Does anything else come to mind when you think about how you supported each other?
SL: Because we took different electives, we were able to guide each other in our respective depth areas. This was especially helpful for the CFE Day 3 cases. Because we were so comfortable with each other, we were able to give feedback easily and we didn’t have to be nice about it—we could say what we were really thinking.
AS: We had a routine of going to Mount Royal University to study from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Being on the same page about our schedule and expectations reduced unnecessary pressure on our relationship. If we had been in relationships with different people, it would have been hard to explain what we were going through and why we were spending so much time studying for a test. Luckily, we both had the same goal in mind. We didn’t have to have conversations about spending more time together because we were equally busy studying for the same exam.
The support you gave each other must have been invaluable. We hope that CPA candidates will follow your lead by setting expectations and in giving honest feedback to their partners and study buddies.
The CPA Alberta Employer Relations Team hopes you enjoyed reading our special series on CPA power couples! Please reach out to EmployerRelations@cpaalberta.ca if you want to be featured in a future series.