Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

CPA Certificate

Why obtain a CPA license?

 

A career as an accountant is a highly respected profession. Contrary to popular belief, accounting is a very people-centric profession. The benefit of a CPA license is the increase in income potential. With the CPA designation, salaries are really limitless and you can lead a very comfortable standard of living. From a career standpoint, the biggest benefit is the endless opportunities that exist for CPAs. Many different professions are attracted to employing a CPA. It is an exceptional foundation for almost anything you do in life.

Why become a CPA?

A CPA understands the business language of accounting and in turn can use that information to make influential decisions in the business world. Three important reasons to become a CPA now:

  1. Help strengthen the financial markets that the global economy relies upon.

  2. CPA designation makes you more valuable on the job market.

  3. If you intend on becoming a CPA, it is better to take the exam earlier than later. Since the CPA exam’s inception, the exam has become harder and harder. In 2011, major changes will be coming to the CPA exam. This is the first major change to the computer based test (CBT) since its inception in 2004.

 

What EXACTLY do I have to do to earn my CPA license?

  • Though the CPA exam is a uniform exam, meaning that all exam applicants take the same CPA exam, each state maintains their own requirements for licensing.  Generally, the CPA license requirements involve (1) educational and (2) work experience requirements. To find out what the requirements are for your respective state, consult the AICPA list of State Boards of Accountancy.

  • The AICPA has a step-by-step guide of what is required to become a CPA that you can visit here

 

When should I take the CPA exam?

  • The Uniform CPA exam can be taken throughout the year, with one caveat.  For each three month quarter (e.g. January-February-March), the third month (e.g. March) is not open for testing.  In simpler terms, the exam can be taken during the following months: January, February, April, May, July, August, October, and November.

  • Additionally, exam applicants should be aware that you can only attempt to take each exam no more than once per quarter.

 

What order should I take the CPA exam in?

  • One approach is to take whatever exam you feel most confident that you can pass. Starting in 2011 the CPA exam format will be changing for the first time since the computer based test (CBT) was first implemented.  As such you should try to earn credit for whatever exam that you feel you are most confident with.

  • Another approach is to take the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) exam first since, currently, there is no simulation portion of the exam.

  • Note that some exams are longer in time allocations (e.g. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) is the longest test in terms of time allocation-4.5 hours). Many applicants take this exam first to “get it out of the way” since it is known to be the longest in time and study material. To see an overview of time allotment clickhere.

  • Historically, exam candidates have lower passing rates during the first and fourth quarter of the calendar year.  Respectively, this is due in part to accounting “busy season” and the holidays. For me, I aimed to take the exam during these periods in hopes that the historically lower relative scores of my peers gave me the best chance to pass.

 

What are the different parts of the CPA exam?

  • Regulation (REG)

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  • To find out what content areas are covered in each section see the AICPA outlinehere.

What CPA review and study material should I use to prepare for the exam?

  • Many sources could be used to pass the CPA Uniform Exam. The AICPA does not recommend any particular provider. The most common sources from my point of view are: 

  • - Becker.

  • - Wiely