Chasing many goals and dreams, both personally and professionally driven, Wael Abouzeid, Bilingual Coordinator, moved to the United States with his family in 2012 and soon after, landed a position at NASBA. Abouzeid began his career at NASBA by working with international candidates, and eventually moving into a role where he works with mainly domestic candidates. Abouzeid spends his days “putting himself in candidates’ shoes” as he is very familiar with the highs and lows of the CPA Exam process. He said, “Maybe I have a better understanding of what CPA Exam candidates go through because I had a similar experience applying for citizenship, which is a very long process and can also be confusing.” We recently interviewed Abouzeid to learn more about how he got to where he is today, why he can relate to CPA Exam candidates’ struggles, what candidates have taught him, and much more.
What goals are you currently working toward?
In 2012, my family and I moved to the United States from Egypt. We had two goals for moving to a new country, the first being to obtain a great education for my kids as the education in the United States is far superior than so many other countries. The second reason is that I just wanted to move to a country where everyone is equal, and you can make money based on what you do, not where you’re from.
Accomplishing our first two goals has allowed me to have additional dreams, such as buying a house and I am working toward that. But, I now have a career-driven dream that is related to my bilingual skills. I hope to one day have my own business for translation services. I can read, speak and translate Arabic as well as English, and I am always looking for ways to get involved in the translation services community.
How were you first connected to NASBA?
I had a friend recommend NASBA to me and I applied through LinkedIn. After interviewing, I found out shortly after that I didn’t get the job. But, two days later, NASBA called me back and said there was an opening in a different department, NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES), which they thought I would be better suited for. So, I accepted the offer, and I started as an international evaluator in NIES.
What was it like to mainly work with international candidates in the beginning of your career at NASBA?
It was a very rich experience. Why? Because you are working with people from all over the world who are applying to the CPA Exam. Not only did this give me experience in what I was doing, but also experience with the different minds and cultures you deal with. Because the cultural background plays a part in communicating with people, I try to be as helpful as I can be to all candidates. I especially appreciate it when I receive positive feedback emails from candidates who I worked with in the past, after they were officially a CPA, thanking me for my assistance in the process.
Currently, I am an examination coordinator/state board liaison for domestic evaluation (Pennsylvania and New Hampshire). Essentially, I determine eligibility for CPA Exam candidates, and whether or not they meet the requirements for each state board. I am also in charge of New Hampshire candidates for licensing. Once my candidates’ requirements are met, I approve their license. Because of the nature of my position, I communicate regularly with the boards and the CPA Exam candidates.
What question do you get most from CPA Exam candidates?
The question I get asked most is, “What is the status of my application?” This question has made me wonder what else we can do at NASBA to help candidates understand their status. Whenever I change anything in their application, they automatically receive an email about status updates. They can also check their status on CPA Central. When I receive this question, I must remind myself that this is a long process and it can be confusing.
What resource do CPA Exam candidates have access to that are underutilized?
The Candidate Bulletin is definitely underutilized. This resource is very, very detailed, and I mention the Candidate Bulletin almost every day, but the candidates seem to have no idea about it. The Candidate Bulletin will assist candidates from the time they decide to apply for the CPA Exam until they get their license.
What is one thing candidates have taught you?
Patience! Yes, I know most things about the CPA Exam process because I work here, but I try to think like a candidate, and what their needs are and how confusing it may. Maybe I have a better understanding of what CPA Exam candidates go through because I had a similar experience applying for citizenship, which is a very long process and can also be confusing.
If you could tell CPA Exam candidates one thing, what would it be?
I would advise them to be patient because getting your CPA license is not an easy process. Take the time to read and research all necessary steps before you take any action. This license will change your future and that’s why it’s worth the effort.
To connect with Wael Abouzeid, find him on LinkedIn.
Interview By: Jenna Elkins, NASBA Communications and Digital Media Specialist
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