Did not get the accounting promotion because I studied too hard on CFA

I work in public accounting firm, and the firm demanded a lot from me during the busy season. I did all the required hours but I did not do a lot of overtimes. I spent those hours into studying CFA level III. I started preparing CFA level III since January, and the course load as well as the overtime killed me. I have requested a week off using my own vacation time before the CFA exam, but the firm did not allow me to take the vacation because it was still technically busy season for the firm. I did reinforce my time-off request and I eventually got it.

Luckily I passed the Level III with the first attempt, but I did not get the job promotion because HR believed I spent too much time preparing for the exam. But the fact was I did all the required hours with dedication, but I just opt not to take overtime to cater the toxic work environment. I did understand the firm’s position on this situation, however, the HR in accounting firm did not value the CFA designation, nor my personal eager to achieve a better person.

Recently, I’ve been asking myself: if given me the same situation, will I choose to spend that much time to take the CFA? The answer is a definite “Yes”. I will be a CPA and CFA within short period of time, and I do intend to look for career more incline toward financial institution instead of in Public Accounting firm.

I just need an outlet to express my current frustration, and find those folks who value CFA designation.


Both you and your firm did the right thing.

You knew you don’t wanna stay in public accounting, hence you chose to study for CFA and not let work getting into your way.

Your firm knows that too, so why would they waste a promotion on someone that’s not going to stay long?

No hard feelings it’s all business, and over with it and move on.

Thanks for the analysis, the true hard fact took me about a day to swallow and accept. Time to move on!

same opinion.

I have learnt it’s best not to tell everything you are doing to your employer to advance your career, share what will help you in your job.

you dont owe your employer everything…

Very true, however in my situation, in order to have time off to study, I need to tell the employer the reason why I need time off during busy season, or they will not let me off without valid reason. Thanks for the comment!

promotion to senior or manager?

Supposed to be promoted to Senior

So, why you still working there then? Get the hell out dude. If they fail to see the value and utility in continuing education then GTFO.

YEA I know dude, I’m actively looking for other job opportunities, but meanwhile I still need to have salary to buy the bread for the family. Trust me, move is on the way :slight_smile:

That sucks bro. If you don’t get a promo, at minimum, you should get explanation from your boss and not HR. What does HR know about your work product? More generally, did anyone at your firm pass CFA exam AND get a promotion? This is a temporary setback, but to make it suck less, you need to be honest with yourself and learn from it.

op i’m sure you are much smarter than your peers/even your managers. don’t let this disturb you because this is natural when you are climbing up


So in our local office (a small to medium size office), nobody attempted CFA. The boss valued CPA (which I took as well) but not CFA. In his perspective, CFA is only a course that normal people could pass easily. What else can I say lol.

I know, that’s the wake up call I had to determine to change a new job and new firm.

Your boss sounds like an idiot.

So you are an auditor in an accounting firm. I can relate, been there, struggled to get my accounting qualification during busy seasons over the years, but I did it! Now I am studying for my L3, and I am out of these firms currently, so hopefully I can nail L3 in June (started my own firm on the side though!).

Are you applying for the experience soon? Please let me know, I’d like to get some insights from you since we come from a similar background and I plan to get my experience approved before I attempt L3.

Hello, do you mean getting CFA experience verification? I do need to change a job in order to get valid experience for CFA, as my background is purely auditor now. So it’s gonna be a while before I apply for CFA experience verification. But keep in touch as we have very similar situation. P.s. what kind of firm are you thinking about having? I’m very interested to know :smiley:

Ya I’m mopping what you’re spilling. At least you’re in that “IDGAFOS” mind set.

Look at your career from long term perspective. In short run letting go a promotion is definitely okay. If you are eager to switch your career into investments, it does not even matter.

Scenario 1: the aforementioned

Scenario 2: you get the promotion but fail to clear LIII

Which makes you happier? There is always a tradeoff.