Preparing for the CPA Exam can be both time consuming and a significant expense. Don’t be taken in by the myth that you must have an accounting degree to successfully pass the CPA exam. You don’t! In fact, a lot can be said for applicants who bring a more diversified background to the profession.
Your State will issue you a Notice-to-Sit after you pass all of their prerequisites. Once that is accomplished, the applicant should investigate the details in each of the four sections that will be tested and determine which parts they are comfortable with. The four tests are Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, Regulation and Business Environment and Concepts. All four tests must be successfully completed with a score of 75% or greater within twelve months.
The Business Environment and Concepts exam discusses risk management and information systems, including inventory systems and financial reporting systems. Another very big topic is corporate governance, including the role of the CEO and the Board of Directors. In recent years, many companies have outsourced functions overseas. The globalization of business is tested as well.
The Financial Accounting and Reporting exam includes both U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the International Financial Reporting Standards. Wise test-takers will be able to identify the significant differences between the two. This section will also cover reconciliation, consolidating and eliminating journal entries and financial statement analysis that includes variance, trends and ratios.
Most people think of taxes when they think of a CPA. The Regulation exam is where personal and corporate taxation is covered. Details will include gifting, educational benefits, and several types of retirement plans. Not surprisingly, the AICPA’s Statements on Standards for Tax Services is also tested. There are several free CPA sample questions online that can help assess your mastery of this topic.
One of the most important jobs that a CPA is eligible for is to be a financial auditor. The Auditing and Attestation exam will ensure that the candidate has a mastery over topics such as the International Standard on Accounting, the U.S. Auditing Standards, and the various types of auditing and attestation services available. This is probably one of the most important roles of an accountant as shareholders rely on unbiased reports and assessments to make investment decisions.
The exam grading process is not straight-forward. Not every candidate will take the same tests and each test will vary in difficulty. Most applicants leave the testing facility thinking that they did not do very well. Remember though, you only need a 75 to pass! Before spending thousands of dollars on CPA exam reviews, check out the following free resources to help you prepare for this challenging license.
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