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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

6 CPA Exam Review Study Tips

As today's guest blogger, I've decided to share my 6 best stick-with-it study tips for those who are studying for the CPA Exam:

1. Find a CPA Exam review instructor that you like. I chose Roger Philipp, CPA, because of his teaching style.  If you end up on an early morning study plan like me, you'll want an instructor who is interesting, engaging and won't make you nod off. Even if you don't study during the early morning hours, Roger is still WAY more fun than other instructors I've seen.
2. Figure out your work/life/study balance.  It's important to figure out where studying fits into your schedule. I had to experiment a little bit but chose to focus on family in the evenings, so I  studied in the mornings. I also made sure to study during my lunch breaks and right after work, before I drove home.
3. Be realistic about your time frame to take the exam. If you are able to cut out everything else from your life or are a super sponge of learning, you can cram like crazy and knock out all 4 parts of the exam quickly. I'm older and haven't been in school for awhile. I also have many obligations, so decided a year was more realistic for me.   I put too much pressure on myself to complete the CPA Exam faster, but I couldn't retain all of the information in such a short amount of time.
4. Find a way to make it fun. You're investing a lot of your personal time and energy into studying for this exam and you'll have a much better experience if you make it fun. Find a study buddy.  Text questions back-and-forth to another CPA Exam review student. Give yourself little rewards when you do well on a section.
5. PRACTICE! It can sometimes be a dreaded, but the principle behind the word is solid. Practice makes all the difference in the world. You retain more of what you DO so work the problems over and over and keep track of how you do each time. It's nice to be able see that you're getting better or where you need to spend more time.
6. Find a good support system. Even if it's just to keep you accountable so that you stay on track, it's important to have a good support system.  Supportive people in your life help keep you from throwing in the towel or getting off track.

Good luck!

- Kerry

Sometimes I Feel like I'm Climbing a Mountain
Studying for the CPA Exam? Practice Makes Perfect!
Sleep Deprivation, Working Full-Time and the CPA Exam
Studying Requires Some Sacrifice
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2015 Colorado CPA Licensure Changes Q&A Transcript

Did you miss the 2015 Colorado CPA Licensure Changes Live Q&A with Roger Philipp, CPA? Not to worry!  We have a transcript of the session below. (Download PDF)

Roger CPA Review: Our first few questions for Roger are from Eli who submitted questions prior to the event.

“How can internships count for either credit or professional hours towards CPA requirements?”

Roger Philipp
: Hi, Eli! Internships can count for both credits and for professional hours. For credits, you will want to check with your university and be sure that you and your firm are following the proper protocol for your internship to count for credits. Typically, that requires signed documents from a supervisor at your firm verifying the work you have done.

Professional hours towards your licensure are very similar. In Colorado, these requirements can be fulfilled before, during, or after the CPA Exam. In order to get your license you will need no less than 1 year (1,800 hours) of work experience, this can be done through internships! You will also need to make sure these hours are completed in no more than 3 years. All hours must be verified by an active CPA in good standing.

Roger CPA Review: Thanks, Roger Philipp! We have a few more from Eli that he submitted prior to the event.  Next question: “How do the rule changes affect the amount of professional hours we have to complete?”

Roger Philipp
: Good question! The rule change is not affecting the amount of hours required rather it is requiring students to get 150 semester units to obtain their CPA License. Currently, students can obtain licensure through two options:

  1.  A bachelor’s degree with 120 semester units and 1 year (1,800 hours) of work experience.
  2. A bachelor’s degree with 120 semester units and in lieu of work experience, an additional 30 semester units for a total of 150 units.
On July 1, 2015 students MUST have 150 semester units AND 1 year of work experience in order to get licensed.

Roger CPA Review: The next question is more of a general question about the CPA Exam.
“What is the normal sequence people take the exam in?”

Roger Philipp: I get asked this quite often and another good question! People generally take FAR, AUD, REG and BEC in that order. Some experts recommend starting with FAR because it can be tricky to pass on the first attempt and you don’t want to start your 18 month time clock ticking, have life get in the way and lose a section or two that you passed and then have to re-take. Yet others suggest you should start with the section you feel most confident/comfortable with, for example if you are an Auditing whiz, just completed an Advanced Audit course, you may want to start out with AUD! It is all about personal preference and how much time you can devote to studying.

Roger CPA Review: “How long is it recommended to study for each section?”

Roger Philipp: We recommend you study for a part, take a part. Our learning system has study planners for 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. That being said, it is VERY INTENSE to take on the 3 month plan. Basically the CPA Exam is your life for 3 full months, 8 hours a day 7 days a week. Realistically, 2-3 months per part is what most exam takers commit to. Remember, the AICPA recommends studying 300-400 hours for the entire exam, for every 1 hour of lecture time, plan to study on your own 2-3 hours.

Roger CPA Review: Last one from Eli.

“What are the sections people normally struggle with the most?”

Roger Philipp: FAR and REG tend to be the sections most people have a challenge with because both parts cover a lot of information and exam takers tend to run out of time on exam day. Time management and being able to utilize your memory aides and mnemonics is crucial to getting through these two robust sections. Thanks for the great questions Eli!

Eli from Fort Collins, CO : What are the most challenging subjects in the FAR section?

Roger Philipp: Government and Non profit because it is an elective at many schools or not offered at many schools. Plus it is 20% of the FAR section.

Ellen from Akron, CO: How many hours of experience are required for the CPA?

Roger Philipp: Hi, Ellen! You don't need hours of experience to sit for the exam.
Ellen: but you do need them to obtain the license? right?

Roger Philipp: Yes. You need at least 1 year (1,800 hours) of work experience and your work experience cannot exceed 3 years.

Ellen: How do we initiate the process?

Roger Philipp: Ellen – the process to become a CPA?

Ellen: Yes, starting with the exam portion.

Roger Philipp: Your work experience can be earned before, during, or after the exam. This includes working for pubic, private, or governmental accounting firms. So any work/internships will count towards your hours, as long as it is under a CPA in what they call "good standing."
There's a great breakdown on how to become a CPA starting with the exam portion on our Web site.

Sean from Aurora, CO: How proactive do you have to be with NASBA to forward a completed packet to the CO board of Accountancy? In other words, if everything is completed May-June time frame, does NASBA automatically send it to the board or do they need to be 'prodded'?

Roger Philipp: Since this change will affect many students you will want to get in your paperwork as earlier as possible. The COCPA is recommending that students try and turn in their licensure applications by Jan/Feb of 2015. As that deadline approaches more and more students will be sending in their applications to beat the deadline. This will cause delays in application processing.

Colorado offers pre-evaluation as an optional service. A pre-evaluation will identify any academic deficiencies in your education before you submit a first-time application for the Exam. For additional information and to begin a pre-evaluation application, visit

Sean: Sounds good. I take it the AICPA ethics exam can be completed quickly?

Roger Philipp: Yes. Generally, the Ethics exam is a take-home test that can be completed online. You buy a "course" essentially, and you will be tested at the end. You must get at least a 90% to pass.

Sean: That can be completed before all of the CPA exam sections are done?

Roger Philipp: The COCPA provides students with the AICPA's Comprehensive Course. It can be completed after all four parts are passed. I would also check with your state's society for more information.

Kathryn H.: What are the requirements to sit for the CPA Exam before July 1, 2015?

Roger Philipp: Hi, Kathryn! Good question! Before July 1, 2015 students need a bachelor’s degree with 120 semester hours:
  • 27 semester hours of non-duplicative coursework in accounting
    • 21 in specialized accounting courses
    • Of those 21 semester hours, students need at least a 3 semester hour course concentrating on U.S. GAAS
  • 21 semester hours of non-duplicative coursework in business

Additional resources:

If you have any additional questions related to the CPA Exam, Colorado education and licensure requirements, you can email Tyler Skelton, West Coast Representative, at or call our Customer Care staff at 877-764-4272.
Monday, October 20, 2014

AICPA Fall Council 2014

AICPA Fall Council 2014 is meeting from October 19th to the 21st. Important issues to be discussed during the meeting include, "management accounting, the CPA Exam and ethics and audit quality."

Arleen Thomas, CPA, CGMA, AICPA Senior Vice President Management Accounting and Global Markets, will analyze the evolution of the Uniform CPA Examination during the meeting.

Want to receive updates and follow along with Council action? If you're on Twitter, use hashtag #AICPAGC14 or view the live Twitter stream on AICPA's Website.
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Feeling CPA Exam Burnout? Consider This Tip!

I passed AUD on my first attempt. Now I'm starting BEC using the same review strategy.

I am finding it  difficult to begin the study process once again.  This is the last required part of the CPA Exam but I'm feeling very burned out.  However, the good news is that passing three of the four parts of the exam has given me a lot of confidence and motivation to persevere.  I  took the "hardest" part of the exam first so I  am hoping it's all downhill from here! 

I also realize that I shouldn't assume anything or start celebrating until I have passed all sections of the CPA exam.  I am aware of a few individuals who were overly confident and then failed the final part of their CPA exams.  I don't want that to happen to me so I have to dig deep for motivation to successfully make it through to the very end.

For me, exercise is the best way to clear my mind, stay motivated and prevent mental burnout. For instance, when I began studying for REG, I took up biking. When I was studying for FAR, I started running again for the first time in years.  For AUD, I stopped lifting weights and started jumping rope and doing agility drills and push-ups - I literally trained like a boxer to beat the exam.

Exercise clears the mind and improves blood circulation supplying the brain with much needed oxygen. It's  a win-win for your body and your brain - two areas that need to be fit during test time.   A growing body of evidence suggests that we think and learn better after some form of exercise.  If. you find yourself becoming weary and overly tired studying for the CPA Exam, go for a walk.  Go for a bike ride.  Lift a few weights.  It might just help.

- Steven P., Roger CPA Review Guest Blogger

More Posts from Steven:
Taking the CPA Exam? Stay Positive!

Waiting for CPA Exam Scores
Studying for the CPA Exam Is like Running a Marathon
The Art of Studying for the CPA Exam
Creating a Plan for AUD


Why Become a CPA?

It is 2 A.M. You've been studying for the CPA Exam for the last three hours and you have to be at work  early in the morning. Do you ever ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?"

Moments like this require reminders of why you are sacrificing so much of your time and energy studying for the CPA Exam to become a certified CPA. This list should help get you back on a positive thought process:

1. Prestige. The CPA credential carries enormous weight in the business and financial worlds. CPAs are considered trusted advisors and are viewed as having obtained a high level of success. Also, the CPA title separates you from others and allows you to count yourself as a member among one of the most highly respected and prestigious professions.

2. Financial Stability. CPAs almost always make more money for the same job than they would if they didn't hold the license. CPAs earn 10-15% more than non-CPAs working in accounting-related jobs. Other studies have shown the gap is as high as 41% between certified and un-certified CPAs. According to NJSCPA, major CPA firms will offer upwards of $55,,000 for CPAs who are right out of college. The Big 4 accounting firms will offer a junior partner an average of $300,000 a year and a CFO at a large company earns upwards of $350,000. The variation in salaries reflects differences in the size of a firm, the location, level of education and professional credentials.

3. Job Security. According to Forbes, accountants have Teflon-coated jobs that are strengthened by
social trends (aging baby boomers) and economic necessities (greening of the economy) as well as
educational and professional licensing and requirements. Even better, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
projects a 16% increase in job openings for accountants (190,700 positions) by 2020.

4. Career Options. The CPA certification opens up many doors giving you greater career paths from
which to choose. You can work internationally or locally. You may choose a large or small accounting
practice. You can choose to work in cost accounting, forensic accounting, tax accounting, auditing, financial analysis, business valuation, IT consulting and financial planning. CPAs have many options!

So, the late evening hours and weekends of study are worth it! Becoming a CPA might not be the easiest endeavor but with your sacrifice comes unlimited rewards and successes.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2015 Colorado CPA Licensure Changes

Are you a Colorado CPA candidate? Colorado’s CPA licensure requirements change on July 1, 2015. CPA candidates will be required to meet the following:

  • Requirements to sit for the exam: Bachelor’s degree with 120 semester hours. 
  • Requirements to obtain licensure: Minimum of 150 semester hours.

Have questions about these changes? Join Roger Philipp, CPA, for a live Q&A session to get your questions answered.  

Event Date/Time: 
Friday, October 17, 2014
4:00pm - 5:00pm MDT

Event Page:

Would you like an email reminder the day of the event or a transcript sent to you AFTER the event? 
Register here: