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Category Archives: Accounting

Why is getting the CPA license so good?

As Adam Greene has mentioned this far, becoming a Certified Public Accountant has its perks: CPAs are often seen as figures of prestige and respect amongst professionals, colleagues, customers, clients and people. Although it takes a lot to become a proficient CPA, it definitely pays off in the end; years of studying and making sacrifices — having to skip that night out with friends and peers; that movie date; etc. —; years of understanding lots of technical terms aside the ones related to standard accountancy will end up allowing future CPAs to achieve a much higher level of expertise in the matter.

Why is getting the CPA license so good?

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Greene has also insisted that being awarded the CPA license allows CPAs to survive in the current highly competitive marketplace. It is not a secret that most careers lack the capacity of fulfilling today’s market needs by themselves: it has become almost mandatory to go further and get a complementary degree in something valuable. In this sense, the CPA license provides CPAs with the stability they need, as they will not be affected by the ongoing market changes, moreover, accountants, and specifically CPAs, are always in demand. Since most professionals are currently short in experience, and lack the specific knowledge that is required for most jobs, passing the CPA license test is a good way for accountants to always be the perfect candidate for their job, thus, they will always be standing out from their competitors and a company’s potential future employees: CPAs not only are highly trained in their field, but also demonstrate that they are highly committed and determined professionals. Today’s companies value the fact that their employees are capable of demonstrating leadership skills at a managerial position, and here is where CPAs stand out. Within companies, being CPAs highly talented assets capable of carrying out their duties in the most proficient way, they can work on different areas as long as they involve a financial scenario, and, since nowadays economy is constantly evolving, almost every company will need the services of a CPA at some point.

And it gets even better! Since the United States will be adopting the International Standards, those with a CPA license will be able to seize the opportunity to have more job opportunities even around the world, which is obviously a greater step towards one’s own personal development.  

These benefits aside, readers might wonder how much do CPAs earn in comparison to their colleagues who do not have the license. Well, being a credited accountant allows CPAs to earn up to 15% more than their non-credited competitors. Moreover, CPAs get promoted more often due to their highly valuable set of skills. In this sense, CPAs are more likely to achieve their career goals in a shorter period of time than standard accountants.

It sounds wonderful, right? Well, in order to enjoy the perks of being a CPA, readers must first pass the CPA license test. Since readers might already be familiar with what the test is about, there are other valuable tips and recommendations and guidance:

Since the CPA test is rather challenging as readers might already now, it is vital to be well prepared before attempting to take it. It would be also advisable to study up to three months or more before the first part. If readers are already working, it would be wise to widen that lapse even longer. It is of high importance to know how to use time properly and avoid every possible and plausible distraction in order to increase the chances of passing the test greatly.

But, what if readers fail? Surely they will feel miserable first and even more surely they will feel like abandoning it all, or that they are not astute enough to both pass the test and be a CPA. Failing the test might even get readers to hate the profession. Nonetheless, even though these kind of emotions are real at some point — they actually felt them —, nothing compares to the joy of having passed the test. Some people end up failing the test as a consequence of the lack of proper time management: as almost every aspect in life, wanting to become a CPA is easier said than done. Being committed to studying with plenty of days of anticipation, getting serious about what readers are about the face in accordance to their career goals will suffice.

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Almost everyone with the will to succeed will end up passing the test successfully. There is no magical trick aside from studying, committing and eliminating all kinds of distraction — and stop procrastinating — from study times. Picturing oneself as a more qualified professional in this evolving and changing economy is the best motivation that exists. Everyone is smart enough to achieve it.

So you have decided to become a public accountant

If you are reading this then you must have decided to become a public accountant. Experts like Adam Greene have stressed out the importance of CPA as a vital career within the corporate world. The magnificence of this noble job is depicted on a daily basis and moreover, it has its perks: growth potential, independency, profitable, etc. However, if one were to mention the not-so-funny part of CPAs it would be the road to becoming one.

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Although certified accountants are more likely to earn more than non-certified ones, becoming one demands lots of study hours and dedication. And of course passing the certification exam — but it certainly pays off in the end —. All the time invested in the certification will provide the CPA with a vast field of opportunities, however, it is important to mention that the exam is rather challenging.

Many people surface the Internet looking for insights on the exam; Adam Greene has shared his own advices on the CPA certification exam in hopes of helping readers to achieve this important milestones.

As readers may have heard before, the CPA certification exam consists of four parts (ARS, LEJOS, REG, BEC). So, what is advisable here is that if readers are not previously familiar with all sections, they should decide which section they want to deal with first, since the remaining sections will be affected by how well readers do in the first one. Making the wisest decision on which section should be approached first will result in increasing the likelihood of successfully passing all four sections.

Take the hardest section first… said no one ever!

The CPA certification exam is more like a marathon rather than a sprint race. People often wrongly suggest approaching the most challenging section first, as if doing so resulted in the rest of the test being much easier. This not only is not advisable but also wrong at so many levels: just because any of the sections might appear more challenging than the others does not mean that in reality it is. There are plenty of testimonies on the Internet where people who have already taken the exam thought they had signed up for the tougher section and ended up attaining their highest score. Readers must bear in mind that even after taking the first section there will be no easy path afterwards. Every section is challenging enough and will require plenty of study hours as well as full dedication. Besides, believing that one of the sections might appear easier than the others might also result in that section being a really challenging one and applicants might end up scoring lower than they initially expected. Simply put: no single section is going to be much harder or much easier than the others. Although applicants might possess different skills — or might have a much more developed skill in regards to the test —, it is foolish to believe that every section will demand different amounts of dedication and hard work for it to be successfully completed.

 

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Applicants might think that, logically, by choosing the so-called easier section first their chances of attaining a higher score increase, when in reality what they are really doing might be undermining their final score. It is advisable to treat each section equally and dedicate enough time to complete it successfully.

There are, nonetheless, several tips for choosing the best way to approaching the test: Applicants should feel confident that they are familiar with the terminology and that every section has the same probability of being successfully taken. Therefore, it is advisable for readers to take the section they feel most confident with or, if applicable, the section more related to their future work field. For instance, REG might seem more appealing for those in charge of taxes, FAR might draw the attention of those in charge of the books, and so on. If applicants recently graduated college, they should start by taking the section related to the class where they scored the highest or performed best. If this is not the case, then readers can also start by taking the section related to the last lecture they took since the information will still be fresh and mentally reachable.

Passing the first test will provide applicants with confidence and motivation to approach the remaining three. As readers progress towards the end of the tests, they will realize that the time they spent during the preparation as well as all those times where they had to prioritize and skip a much more appealing plan starts to pay off. Do not fall into despair and do not let others influence your gut: trust your knowledge and dedicate enough time to each section equally without disregarding the others. Attaining a solid scored in the first one is the first step to completing the other three as good as the first one.

4 things that await a certified public accountant

Certified Public Accountant (CPA).  Boy does that sound nice, especially after all the effort it took to receive your license.  It probably took many long nights and social sacrifices.  And let’s not forget cramming day in and day out.  All the hard work paid off and you now fill at least the basic requirements of a CPA.  Congratulations.  You are now part of one of the most important professions that have ever existed.  Companies literally could not exist without a CPA checking the books and crunching the numbers.  What’s next?  What’s out there waiting for you?  These are just two of the many questions that might come to mind for newly-certified accountants.  One of the most important questions a CPA must ask him or herself is the kind of employment to take on.  Self-employed or for a company?  Whatever the choice may be, a public accountant has to assume certain responsibilities and duties in order to get the job done.

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1 . Ethics and morals above all

Public accountants handle extremely important and sensitive information.  They might find themselves in a situation where they are encountered by a client who wants them to cheat a little on the books.  A little double bending the numbers in a certain direction, ignoring other numbers, or even making up numbers.  These are just some of the most unethical yet common requests CPAs are constantly faced with.  While they are strongly frowned upon, it’s very common to see them being committed.  Just because something is typical does not make it right (here’s where you hear your mom’s nagging voice saying, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you follow suit?”).  As a certified public accountant, it is your duty to make sure a company’s figures are presented by the books and without any information that could raise suspicion later on.  It’s important to turn down any such requests and not fall under pressure from a client.  The right path to take may be the most difficult but your conscience will thank you in the long run.

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2 . Mediation between companies or individuals and the government

Governments take tax collection extremely serious and so should you as a CPA. Companies and individuals don’t have the expertise (unless they are an accounting firm or work for one) to face the government in tax related proceedings.  That’s where a licensed public accountant steps in to save the day.  A CPA has the knowledge and tools to help businesses and people solve any questions or respond to any comments government agencies might have concerning tax records and declarations.  Additionally, accountants are trained to present and explain tax documents, such as tax returns, that may be required by tax collecting agencies.  Tax season is a busy season so get ready for some work to come your way.

3 . Audits of a company’s figures and processes

Auditing is a huge part of a certified accountant’s responsibilities.  They are constantly being hired by state agencies and companies to make sure everything is on the up and up.  Governments will often bring on a CPA to go over a business’ books and check that everything is legit or if there is something that needs to be looked into; for example, fraud and misleading figures.  On the other hand, companies will seek accountants so that the can review company records to approve the annual balance sheet or give recommendations on how to improve bookkeeping practices.

4 . Consulting for startups

Finances are one of the most difficult things for any entrepreneur to handle.  As a start-up business, there are often other things that occupy the founders mind and accounting and the numbers is not usually one of them.  Start-up companies will frequently hire a certified accountant to give them sound advice on how to go about basic book keeping practices so that they can have control over the company’s finances. Furthermore, CPAs can help new businesses gather all the financial documentation that is needed to convince investors to inject some capital into the business.

Receiving a license in public accounting comes with great responsibilities and duties.  CPAs play a huge role in a company’s financial situation; to the point that they could bring a company down under some circumstances if it is not doing things properly.  As such, it’s important to take the different roles that can be had seriously and ethically.  An accountant who is known to follow sound practices will surely receive more return business in the long wrong than someone who has no problem taking shortcuts.  Finally, being a certified public accountant is a dignified occupation, it makes all the hard work that was done to prepare, take, and pass the CPA exam worth it.

Make sure to keep coming back for more recommendations from Adam Greene related to certified public accounting and for tips on how to prepare and ace the CPA examination.

Questions CPA candidates have before taking the exam

Everybody gets nervous before taking any type of exam. Even for your driving test you get very nervous, even though you already have been driving your parent´s car for almost 2 or 3 years. Taking exams is scientifically proven to cause feelings that make you feel anxious and stressed.

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In the case of the CPA exam, things get worse. The CPA exam is a test that will give you certification in order to be a certified accountant in the United States. The whole test can be taken in 12- 18 months and it is taken by sections. It is long and expensive and it is hard to pass.

So, what questions do CPA candidates have before they take the test? More importantly, what are the doubts that everybody could have before even thinking about becoming a CPA accountant?

Adam Green will try to address some of those questions that are more common among CPA candidates that are seriously thinking about taking the next step towards their future.

Question #1:
Should I wait to get my exam score before I schedule my next exam?

People tend to think that if you pass the first test the rest of them will be easy. Each section has its own difficulty so that argument is not valid. You should make a plan to take all four CPA Exam sections within 12 to 18 months. Maybe the money issues could affect your plan, but if it is possible you should schedule everything in advance. Plus, scheduling your exam sections in advance is a great way to commit yourself to studying.

Question #2:
Is it a good idea to take the exam if I work full time?

We have seen this topic in previous posts and the answer is yes. Even if you work full time, you should still be able to find time to prepare for and pass the exam over 18 months. You really have to commit and design a plan where everybody, even your dog, helps you out passing the test. For example, you can commit to studying two hours a night after work. If you miss one day, you can make up for it another day. Use lunch hours and transportation hours, in a bus or in your car with audios. It will take some scheduling and effort but it is quite easy to study more or less between 10 to 15 hours every week if your really are organized.

Question #3:
What are the techniques for the last week before the test?

The idea is to focus on everything until the last day. If your study plan allows some day of rest before the test, use them to review and to read things that will keep your mind active on the topic. Don’t focus solely on MCQ. Instead, do a high-level overview of everything you’ll be tested on, including SIMs. Identify the areas where you are weakest and do your best to focus on sharpening those skills in the last days of studying.

Question #4:
Will a past bankruptcy (Chapter 7) or a DUI prevent me from getting the CPA license?

As for the first part of the question: that would be a decision for the licensing agency in the state in which you intend to license and or sit for the exam. As for the other part of the question, does a DUI fine affect my CPA license application?: The CPA test has a part where they want to know if the candidate is morally competent. In other words, the state board requires candidates for a licensee to have “good moral character”.  This good moral character is demonstrated by the lack of a history of dishonest or felonious acts. I can bet that many people pass this test with DUIs or other minor traffic offenses. Applicant’s moral character and DUIs are not considered misdemeanor driving offenses.

Question #5:
I did not get my degree in the US. How do I know if my coursework fits the educational requirements?

For the CPA exam, a bachelor degree in a 4-year university is the minimum requirement to sit for the exam. If you are in the United States and studied here, there is no problem whatsoever. But for international students, this can be tricky as they aren’t sure whether the degree from their local countries is qualified. Foreign candidates will need to select the state in which to register for the exam because each state has its own list of approved evaluation agencies and it is important to pay for a recognized report; and because each state board has slightly different qualifying rules so the agency needs to know which rules to apply to when reviewing the transcripts.

Take a look at this amazing article on tips to pass the CPA test

14 tips to ace that CPA test

So you think you’re ready to take that CPA exam. You want to get the best results on the first try, since this is an expensive test. All four parts of it. There are several different ways to prepare in order to take the CPA test. Let’s take a quick look at several different approaches and techniques that will hopefully be useful.

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  1. Take a look at the topics related to the section that you are preparing to take. Remember that the sections are Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, Auditing and Attestation, and Business Environment and Concepts.

  2. Consider taking the part of the exam that you enjoy the most first. If you are looking for good results, focusing on something that you like will probably yield those results.

  3. It is recommended that you study between 260 and 390 hours, total, if you really want to master the topics that will be evaluated in the CPA exam. You will clearly spend more time in certain topics than in others, but it’s likely that you will spend about 50 to 90 hours on each section. The number of hours you spend studying will be directly proportional to the amount of points that you’ll get in the end.

  4. When it comes to actually studying for the test, it’s not recommended that you study every day, since you will get tired and your preparation won’t be efficient. What you want to do is maximize the productivity of the time that you spend studying. It’s okay to take a couple of days off every week without thinking about the exam. Get some rest, get your mind off of it, entertain yourself, take a walk, do something different that you enjoy. This way of preparing will surely help you increase the amount of points that you will get on the test.

  5. It’s also a good idea to exercise a little in order to keep yourself stress free and in good physical and mental shape. You don’t have to be perfect, as long as you get a sufficient amount of points to pass the test. It’s not worth it to wear yourself out, there’s no point in doing this.

  6. When it comes to deciding the amount of time that you will spend studying each day, you should be realistic about the number of hours that you can dedicate to this endeavor without exhausting yourself.

  7. If you have a study guide, read the questions, take notes that are short and easy to understand, use memory cards or flashcards, and simply keep on doing this until you have accumulated a sufficient number of hours. Don’t waste your time planning how you’re going to study, just do it.

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  8. It’s important for you to keep track of how much time you have spent studying, so you can decide if your progress so far has been good or if it needs to improve as the date of the exam approaches.

  9. Beware of procrastination. Don’t put off the parts of the test that you find hard to study or understand. Stick to your schedule and manage your time appropriately. Don’t do things later if you can do them now. This is why it’s important for you to have a schedule.

  10. The goal of the CPA exam is not to answer all of the questions with absolutely perfect answers, but to answer enough questions in order to actually pass the test. You don’t have to know everything, every single little detail. What you have to do is make sure you study as much as you can to cover as many topics as possible, and just keep moving from one topic to another.

  11. Another advisable thing when it comes to preparing for the CPA test is to trust yourself, be confident. This is often overlooked. The exam may be hard but it’s not impossible to win. If you are willing to organize your time and your energy and make up your mind to pass the test, you will accomplish it. All you need is some effort and a positive attitude.

  12. While studying for the CPA exam, it’s very important for you to take notes. This will allow you to remember the information when the time comes to actually answer the questions on the test. You can always review your notes during the time that you’ll spend studying for the test. Read them over and over again, this’ll help you learn everything you need in order to pass the test.

  13. Keep in mind that your grade on the CPA exam depends on the value of the questions that you get correct, which is why you should never leave blank answers.

  14. When preparing your study schedule, it’s recommended that you set goals for each week, in order for you to be able to keep track of them and see how you are advancing -or not- over time.

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Read Adam Greene’s How to study for a CPA test while working full time

Some of the best universities to study a master’s degree in Accounting

Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 at Flickr.com

If you want to be a good and recognized CPA, you have to study and get academic formation for a great part of your life, according to Adam Green. A CPA course is enough, but if you really want to play in the big leagues, a master’s degree is the next obvious step.

Earning a Master’s Degree in Accounting is a crucial step towards becoming a CPA and developing a lasting career as an accountant. In the United States, in 2016 only, there will be 1,442,200 accountants and auditors by 2022, an increase of 13% from 2012. This number is the highest rate of growth for any career and across all job categories in the United States. The decades are helping this trend get even bigger as people that were called baby boomer will be retiring and will lead to a significant increase in new hires by 2022.

This type of master degree has many names including the Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in Accountancy and an MBA with an accounting concentration. A Master’s in Accounting (MAcc) would suit best managers that will be hired for important positions as the employers require all staff in senior positions to hold advanced degrees. At the moment, more than  40 states require CPA applicants to complete 150 higher education credits which will make people aim for higher education after taking the CPA course.

Master degrees across America include programs such as financial accounting, accounting theory, tax and business strategy, auditing, consulting services and forensic accounting, as well as courses designed to prepare the student for the CPA exam. After taking any of these master degree courses students will be able to cover middle to high positions within companies and will be able to pass the challenging CPA exam which will give them more competitive advantages over other accountants out there in the market.

Here are some of the best Accounting master’s degrees and their respective university:

Capella University, MBA – Accounting

The Master of Business Administration in Accounting program at Capella University is designed to offer students management, leadership, and financial accounting skills that will help them advance in their career and in their current positions.  In order to apply for this master degree, students must be interested in developing their financial and accounting skills as well as foundational knowledge of business management. For students under 24, completion of 2 years of college or an active military status is required. This university offers students a focus on accounting theory, the role of accounting information in organizational decision-making, accounting for global organizations, partnership accounting, and mergers and acquisitions accounting.

Walden University, MS in Accounting – General

Students that enrol into this university will get to see courses on managerial accounting for organizational performance and legal and ethical issues in accounting, among other topics. This university is dedicated to teach current trends in accounting standards, effective communication for the accountant, financial management tools for decision making, managerial accounting for organizational performance, and legal and ethical issues in accounting. This master course includes courses for the self-designed program of study which include three to five accounting courses and up to two management and leadership courses.

Kaplan University, MS in Accounting- Tax

This course at  Kaplan University is aimed at understanding the global issues on taxation. Also, the MS in Accounting with a specialization in Tax program is intended to provide students with an understanding of global taxation principles that affect individuals and organizations. The previous requirement for this master degree is that students need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business management, or a related field that can give them the basics to start learning about taxation without going back to old concepts.  The curriculum provides students with knowledge in the fields of accounting codes and regulations, field-specific ethical issues, economic fundamentals, business reorganization strategies, and asset management methods.

Image courtesy of Steven S. at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Steven S. at Flickr.com

By studying this master degree, students will have the opportunity to really analyse and understand taxation principles for U.S. residents working domestically or abroad as well as explore income taxes and corporate levies imposed by other countries. In addition, they’ll have the opportunity to explore issues specific to joint property, estate taxes, will and trust preparation, and monetary gifts.

To be a CPA certified accountant is one of the most important certificates an accountant can have. Master degrees are another step to become a good professional with a good amount of work or working for companies. These 3 master degrees in accounting will give the CPA accountant more tools to do their job in a more professional way. Even if you already have the CPA certificate, a master’s degree in accounting will give you the knowledge you need to play in the big leagues with the big players.

Check out some of the best CPA review courses here

Basic requirements you need to know in order to get a CPA license

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Requirements for becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) vary from one state to another. The CPA license is issued by the board of accountancy of each of the 54 U.S jurisdictions (50 states and 4 jurisdictions). A candidate becomes eligible for the exam by meeting a list of specific requirements which are determined by the board of accountancy of the jurisdiction where it is applying from.

In this article, Adam Greene CPA will share a list of requirements that every candidate should keep in mind when taking the CPA exam.

1  . Academic Requirements

In the U.S every state has a Board of Accountancy, which is in charge of issuing the license that certifies public accountants (CPAs) who are going to practice in that one state. Every single Board of Accountancy has its own rules and parameters in order to issue a CPA license. In some states, having a 120-credit bachelor’s degree in accounting is enough, but as a general rule, most states now require to complete a 150-credit college degree program in accounting to earn the right to sit and take the CPA exam.

Some general requirements that almost every U.S. state demands, in order to be suitable to take the test, are listed below:

  • A 150-credit college or university degree whose accreditation is accepted by the state’s Board of Accountancy.
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
  • A specified number of accounting and business courses.

You can find a detailed list of requirements for each state by clicking here.

In some states you can still take the CPA exam by having a bachelor’s degree in accounting, however, based on recent changes in the general requirements for taking the exam, you will be more likely to become a certified accountant if you have coursed the 150-credit program. Keep in mind that there are some Colleges and Universities with high-quality accounting degree programs that offer both options – the one with fewer credits and the one with the 150-credit program. Choose wisely if what you really want is to become a CPA.

2. Grading standards.

In order to become a candidate to take the CPA exam, you should keep in mind that you will be expected to have above average grades in your accounting courses. Most of these courses are difficult and require you to understand and work with often complex financial concepts. Statistics show that less than 50% of students who enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in accounting actually earn a 150-credit degree in accounting and make it to the CPA exam.

If by all means, your main goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant, you should start preparing while still in high school. Many high school offer alternatives to start a “College Track”, you can enroll in more than one Advanced Placement (APs) or Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO). Taking one of these options will definitely give you an advantage over other candidates.

3. Academic Requirements Exceptions

Sometimes the State Boards of Accountancy allow a measure of flexibility when it comes to coursing the 150 college credits needed in order to sit for the CPA. Below you can find three examples of some of the most common exceptions:

  • If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a college or university known for its outstanding undergraduate program and you attended another prestigious institution to earn an MBA degree.
  • If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a college or university known for its outstanding undergraduate program and you attended another prestigious institution to earn a graduate degree in taxation.
  • If you finished you 150-credit degree in less than four years because you earned some credits in high school due to the AP or PSEO.
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4. Taking the CPA Exam

Usually, you should sit for the CPA exam as soon as you meet all the state Board of Accountancy academic requirements. The main reason to this is that you still have all the information from your accounting courses fresh in your mind.

As a recommendation, you should take a review course before taking the CPA exam, this will help you be better prepared. Remember that the CPA Exam is infamous for its low pass rates with a success rate average below 50%.

5. Other requirements

Ethics: After successfully passing the CPA Exam, every applicant must take an ethics course and/or exam in order to get its CPA license is issued. This requirement also changes from one state to another. It is recommended that you check your state’s ethics requirements at the State Boards of Accountancy.

Work Experience: The amount of time required for earning the CPA license also varies from one state to another. Nevertheless, in each state you should find an accounting position that can provide you with the experience required to get your license issued.

Renewing your CPA License: In some states, you can be required to renew your CPA license every one or two years. Usually, most states require accountants to take Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours to maintain a CPA license.

How to study for a CPA test while working full time

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As a certified public accountant in Melville, Adam Greene knows that becoming a US certified accountant may be one of the hardest things you will need to face during your accounting career, especially when you have a full-time job that already consumes most of your days and have to take a CPA exam, that will most likely force you to study at least 400 hours within 18 months.

Many people ask themselves if they will be able to keep their jobs while studying or –most important- to pass the CPA test while they are still working a minimum of 8 hours per day. The answer for those who doubt is Yes. For everyone, it should be obvious from the beginning that studying and keeping one’s job requires sacrifice and self- discipline. But don’t worry, evidence shows that thousands of people have been able to pass their CPA test while still working full time.  The degree to which you can succeed depends entirely on you.

In this article, you will find a set of useful pieces of advice intended to help you to successfully pass your CPA test while you still have a full-time job.

1  . Schedule the date in which you will take the test:

The CPA test is composed of four parts. You will need to take 4 different tests to complete each part. Decide what part you want to take first, sign up and set your exam date. This simple step will start the clock, forcing you to study because that exam date is coming whether you study or not. It is recommended to schedule your test 2-3 months prior to the test date, that way you will have enough time to put all your things together and prepare yourself.

2. The early bird catches the worm:

Try to wake up early in the morning and study for at least 2 hours. This guarantees you will be completely focused on what you are doing. Probably it is not going to be easy at first to wake up at 4 in the morning, but you will for sure get used to it.

Try to reread at night the concepts you learned during the morning, without staying up late night. This will get you into the rhythm you need to fully understand the test contents.

3. Make the best you can out of your weekends:

During the weekdays, your routine is going to fluctuate between your job and the time you will need to spend studying. You will need to perform at your job and retain all the information you learned for the test. Leaving no space for social life. It is recommended to study only a few hours on the weekend, that way you will keep things balanced without neglecting your social life.

4. Organize your time:

Once you take the first part of the CPA test, you will have 18 months to complete the other three parts. This will force you to organize your time and study harder during those months.

It is recommended, though, to schedule the remaining parts with a 5 week – or less- difference between each. This will allow you to study at least 100 hours while you are still working and yet remember most of the contents you need to know for each part of the test.

Try to keep in mind that presenting the test in a short window will most likely give you the chance to have fresh information in your head, since the CPA test requires to memorize and retain lots many different facts.

5. Use vacation days:

Try to use two or three vacation days before the exam and use them to study like it was a full-time job. You will be able to work on the most difficult areas with a fresh mindset. Try to take practice exams during these days.

You could set the exam days on Fridays, that way you will have a long weekend after the test, to let your mind rest before you start preparing for the next test.

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6. Keep a clear mind

Like most fighters do, you should rest on the fighting day so your mind is clear enough to face the upcoming challenge.

On the exam day, get up and eat a good breakfast. Exercise to release endorphins. If you still have some doubts about specific concepts, briefly study them, without dwelling on anything that could potentially block your brain.

7. Have a positive mindset

Repeat constantly to yourself that you are going to kill it. Don’t discourage yourself if there is something you don’t understand. Remember that a positive mindset is always a good thing to have.

8. Start with the most difficult section

Try to start with the part that you know is going to be a nightmare for you. Since you only have 18 months to complete the test, try to kill the section that comes harder on you that way you will continue with the confidence that the remaining sections will be comparatively easier for you.

You can read more about CPA sections here.

9. Get an Online Certification

If by any chance you definitely need more flexibility with the time you have available , you can always get an online certification. You can read more about this in the post on How to get a CPA certification online.

What if you don’t pass on the first attempt?

If by any chance you don’t pass a section, sign up and retake it in the next testing window while the information in your head is still fresh. If you do pass sign up for the next section and follow all the previous tips and pieces of advice.

Some of the best review courses for the CPA exam

Study techniques are widely known around the world. Maybe they focus on exams that are a bit more common than the CPA or a bit more official. But the study techniques apply the same. As for the course, finding a course for a common topic is easy, but what happens when you have to study for a test that is very specific? What can people do? Apply the same techniques? Look for help from other people?

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Well, there are many courses that can help you achieve your goal and score in the test. But, which ones are the best? Which one is the best for me? We give you some of the best CPA courses, with their description, advantages and some disadvantages so you can decide which course best suits your needs.

The Roger CPA course

This course is very well known around the CPA world and the internet. Many reviews on this are available and easy to find, they rank it as the best and the second or third best, but never such bad reviews that can affect the course or its reputation. If you lose focus easily and lose concentration when you see something as minimum as a flea, this course is for you. This amazing course mixes the best teaching style and useful mnemonics that any course could have and its videos are considered the most engaging video lectures in the market that have the unique ability of turning boring CPA exam textbook materials into a format that will interest you and make you have a little fun while you study for your future. Also, and it is a unique feature in this course, it is the most suitable for any type of learning style and it works for the largest number of CPA candidates.

The weaknesses for this course are that there aren’t any more live classes. Yes, the screen can replace the person, but having a face to face class is very different. Roger CPA stopped offering live classes since Feb 2013 and they sacrificed the entertainment part of the course. Also, Roger CPA purposely wants to skip the non-critical part of the exam content and some die-hard fans don’t like it that much. Some students can have a hard time catching up.

Gleim CPA Review Course

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This course is designed specifically for students and professionals who are looking for a lot of thousands of multiple choice questions to practice, the best and the highest number of simulations, a Personal CPA Counsellor, and need full access to the course until they pass. Additionally, in 2015, Dr. Gleim and his team introduced video classroom lectures for all four sections of the CPA exam. With this new feature and many more things the course has, you will be getting a $3,400 course for a third of that price

This course is best suited for self-study people that can get motivated and engaged without the supervision of a teacher or a tutor and that would love to do it themselves rather than having somebody pushing them around.

As for the disadvantages, this review from a happy customer, and very objective one, that purchased the course can sum it up “Gleim Instruct now includes 100+ hours of video however their dashboard is still limited by the fact that there is no side by side video and e-textbook. I hope that this feature will be added in the future to make it easier to us”. Other disadvantages include that some features are only for premium customers. With the launch of the premium course, some of the features are no longer available in the traditional course. Also, books can be overwhelming and very detailed. So, while some readers enjoy the comprehensiveness, others seem to think it’s too lengthy.

Surgent CPA Review course.

This course promises almost the impossible: to study for the CPA in a very short time with amazing results. Actually, it is almost there. We can’t say that it is 100% effective, but it is an approach where you can get all the concepts, information and tips with 50 hours less than the other CPA courses. They claim to be able to do this by using adaptive learning technology that will create a customized learning experience unique for every student based on his or her previous knowledge of the accounting materials. Liz Kolar, CPA (25 year CPA exam prep instructor) and Jack Surgent, CPA (leading CPE course provider) are the masterminds behind this course that has given a good way out for people that don’t have enough time to study for the test.  As for the disadvantages, it is just better suited for PC-based learners. So if you like live support or taking notes and keeping them in notebook, this course is not for you.

3 courses that will definitely help you pass this exam that requires a good amount of hours to study.

How to get a CPA certification online

CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. It is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English speaking world. In the United States they will have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and will have met additional state education and experience requirements for membership in their respective professional accounting bodies and certification as a CPA.

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Those who have passed the exam but have not either accomplished the required on the job experience or have previously met it and who have lapsed their continuing professional education or have requested to be converted to inactive status are, in many states, permitted the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs who are licensed, are able to provide to the public attestation opinions on financial statements. The exceptions to this rule are Arizona, Kansas, and North Carolina where the “CPA” designation and the practice of auditing are not restricted.

Some states prohibit the use of the designations of “Certified Public Accountant” by a person who is not certified as a CPA in that state. As a result, in many circumstances, an out of state CPA is restricted from using the CPA designation until a license or certificate from that state is obtained. Texas additionally prohibits the use of the designations “accountant” and “auditor” by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a nonresident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out of state CPA firms and practitioners. Many other countries also use the title CPA to designate local public accountants.

Certified Public Accountant online certification

There are multiple options to get the title of CPA. After passing a CPA test and having the on the job professional experience needed for the certification, you could handle the finances, the accountability of the companies and you budgeting.

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Those interested in getting the certification must have the professional title, study 150 hours per semester, approve a test and have the amount of experience.

The growing innovations on the Internet have allowed the consolidation of online learning as a quality option to improve the knowledge. There are a number of online programs giving students the possibility of obtaining the needed abilities to prepare for various test for undergraduate degree.

First, you need to decide for one of the accredited schools that are allowed to teach the CPA courses. Here are some of the best:

Colorado State University Global Campus

It offers a fully online Bachelor’s in Accounting that can be specialized with a number of options (21 in total), ranging from data management, to organizational leadership, to marketing. CSU is currently the 121st ranked national university by US News. With an average estimated program price of $42,000–the 11th most affordable school of those surveyed–CSU is slightly pricier than other highly ranked schools, but makes up for it through quality instruction, flexibility, and tons of specializations.

Old Dominion University

This one offers a fully online Bachelor’s in Accounting degree that won’t break the bank, yet still provides the academic quality of national university. Through +ODU students may attend local or online community colleges to complete core requirements (for less), and then earn guaranteed acceptance into Old Dominion to complete their accounting degree. Estimated average program cost for Old Dominion’s Bachelor’s in Accounting is currently $36,780, making the program the 6th most affordable of program surveyed.

Auburn’s online Accounting degree is actually a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in Accountancy, but still functions to prepare students for the CPA exam and accounting roles in the work world. The B.S.B.A. in Accountancy is the first online undergraduate degree offered by Auburn, and offers live streams and recorded videos of lectures from the traditional program. While Auburn’s program is the second most affordable in our rankings, costing an average estimated total of $23,325, it should be noted that the program is really a degree completion program, and only requires 30 hours. Auburn is currently the 103 ranked national university by US News.

After deciding for a school, and completing needed credits in it, you can apply for the national CPA test. The test has 4 parts that you must approve in less than 18 months:

  • Auditing and attestation
  • Business environment and concepts
  • Financial accounting and reporting
  • Regulation

The test cannot be taken online but there are multiple authorized centers in the world.

The experience requirements for obtaining a CPA license are determined by each state’s board of accountancy. Before 2006, if someone had successfully passed the CPA Exam the odds were great that the person could easily find a job that provided the required professional accounting experience. Since 2006, finding an accounting position that provided the required experience may be more challenging.