With touchpoints across all areas of NASBA’s Customer Service Department, Elizabeth Goodowens, Customer Service and Resource Center Manager, has a unique position that allows her to be involved with many different stages of the CPA licensure process. Because of her position and longevity at NASBA, Goodowens knows the ins and outs of all things related to the CPA licensure process, including the CPA Exam, which makes her a valuable resource to NASBA, her team and CPA Exam candidates. We recently interviewed Goodowens on what advice she has for candidates, what her biggest career accomplishment was, what CPA Exam candidates have taught her, and much more.
How were you connected to NASBA?
Originally, I started at NASBA in January 2002, with Professional Credential Services (PCS), a former subsidiary of NASBA. Someone I went to college with worked at NASBA and connected me with Patricia Hartman, Director of Client Services, who started me as a temp with the PCS call center. On the PCS side, I held many positions, working as a coordinator and eventually making my way up as a supervisor. Throughout the past 16 years or so, I’ve left NASBA for various reasons, one time I moved to a different state, but I keep coming back! In January of 2018, I applied for the perfect position for my return, and I officially started with NASBA, in CPA Examination Services, in January 2018.
What has you returning to NASBA? What is your favorite aspect of the workplace?
There is a lot I like a lot about NASBA. I like the culture and the environment we have here. Specifically, our benefits, such as healthcare, casual dress, Sunshine Days, which are large gatherings with all the employees where we share a meal together, things like that. It’s a very family-friendly work environment.
Describe your current role.
My current role is manager of the Customer Service Department, which includes the call center team and document processing. We take calls and process mail for CPA Examination services, Licensure, NASBA International Evaluation Services, and the National Candidate Database group. I make sure our team stays within reasonable mail processing times while keeping call wait times low, work on improving processes by making them more streamlined and efficient, collaborate with the other managers and directors, and troubleshoot issues for candidates.
Having worked at NASBA for many years, what advice do you have for CPA Exam candidates?
I have two pieces of advice:
1. When CPA Exam candidates reach out to NASBA, they should make sure they are contacting the right place. Many candidates don’t realize that there are multiple partners who work together on the CPA Exam process: the AICPA, NASBA, Prometric, and the state boards. Many times, candidates don’t understand who does what, so I’d advise them to do their research on which partner is best to call!
2. When candidates register for the CPA Exam, sometimes they register for all four sections at the same time, not realizing that they have to sit for all four within a certain timeframe. My advice to candidates is that when they apply online, only sign up to take what they can realistically sit for before their Notice to Schedule (NTS) expiration date.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in your role?
I would say my biggest accomplishment has been streamlining the process for incoming mail and cutting back the processing time. We transitioned to a more paperless environment last spring, and each incoming document is now scanned, named and uploaded to the candidate file. Our processing time for all new mail is now less than one week.
In your department, what questions do you get most from CPA Exam candidates?
The questions we get most are, “What’s my status?”, “What are you missing?”, and “What do I do next?” Most questions we get about next steps can be answered by going to the CPA Exam page of the NASBA website. Here, candidates can find instructions and details for each state board.
What resource(s) do you wish CPA Exam candidates would use more?
The Candidate Bulletin is an essential resource to the CPA Exam journey, as it hosts critical information about the CPA Exam and the application process. A lot of great information is packed into this document, and the good news is that you can search for key words (Ctrl F) to easily find the answer to your question. The Candidate Bulletin walks you through the process, from applying for the Exam to receiving your scores.
For future CPAs, what is one critical piece of information candidates should know about while starting the CPA licensure process?
Make sure at the beginning of the CPA Exam process to start with the end in mind, meaning review the requirements for licensure for your state board before you start the Exam. There are the Exam requirements needed to take the Exam, and then there are the requirements to receive your CPA license. For example, some candidates end up passing the Exam but don’t realize their state-specific requirements for licensure require more credit hours, so they have to take more classes to become licensed after taking the Exam.
What have CPA Exam candidates taught you?
I’ve learned a lot about the candidates by observing our new CPA Exam Candidates Forum on Facebook. This is a private NASBA Facebook group that is only for those who are CPA Exam candidates. From what I’ve observed, they all work really hard to study and pass the CPA Exam and they are so supportive of each other. It’s so cool to see them help each other with questions and celebrate together when scores are released. They seem really excited to have this place where they can bond together and work through this long process.
To connect with Elizabeth, find her on LinkedIn.
Interview By: Jenna Elkins, NASBA Communications and Digital Media Specialist
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