CPA Exam Preparation Blog

Sign up for the latest CPA Exam news

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NEW CPA Exam Guest Blogger: Steven P.

We're excited to introduce our newest guest blogger, Steven! Steven is on his way to passing all 4 parts of the CPA Exam and we can't wait to get to know him better as he shares his journey with you.

My name is Steven and  I live in Morton Grove, IL. I enjoy exercising, sports, anything regarding computers such as the various programming languages from the perspective of a system's analyst, history, the fine arts, and coffee. I love to run medium-long distances and bike. I also like to read about the history of different countries and about different cultures. I have aspirations to help people start companies and design the structure of their businesses and look forward to working in the field as a CPA. I'm inspired by people and this gives me motivation.

This is my first blog post so I’d like to introduce myself with a quick overview of where I’m at in the CPA exam process and how I've gotten here. I've currently passed REG and FAR and an studying for AUD. I’ll now delve into the order of my exams and some insights that I've gained thus far regarding review courses.

I took REG first without ever taking any tax classes in college except for some really easy ones - they were easy but I didn't learn much. I graduated some time ago when there was a less comprehensive education regarding taxation in most curriculum. So I went to community college while I was working and took a few tax classes. I received A’s in both and was invited to the honors program there, but I already had my degree so I declined politely. I left feeling really confident with a solid foundation in taxation, one that I missed out on during college. So for all you out there who have been out of school for some time, you may not need to go back to school like I did for a few semesters, but don’t feel too bad about your situation, especially if you don’t pass right away. Stay determined and keep on paddling upstream. This is exam is worth the climb.

I took REG after taking some classes in taxation and blasted through the exam with a score almost in the 90’s. I noticed a pattern though after taking my next exam, FAR. The first time I took the exams, I didn't do too well, but the second time I performed very well...In the past I noticed it took me a long time to get through the lectures.  I think this was the reason why I didn't do so good the first time I took the exams - I always went in without finishing the review course but the review courses were so boring they put me to sleep every night.

It also took me two tries to pass FAR. My first score was abysmal for I’d only finished forty percent of the review course before I sat for the exam. My second score was something to be proud of, but I was looking to tweak my performance to pass on my first try or at least get a decent score.

This is where Roger enters the scene for me. I initially saw Roger by word of mouth on message boards - which paradoxically I don’t recommend visiting while studying. I watched his course on YouTube and promised myself that I would order his class if I didn't pass FAR the second time. Well I passed FAR the second time. I've been studying for Auditing and my goal for AUD is to pass with a great score on my first time; I am using Roger as the nucleus to my review regiment.

I have about 30 days until I take AUD and I've already finished all the multiple choice questions in the course. I was doing about 100 a day for a few weeks if I could. I recently purchased the new CPA Exam MC Question App for IOS as well and highly recommend using it. If you’re not using Roger then definitely consider getting an APP with questions to supplement your review anyways. I like Roger’s app because the user interface is streamlined and polished and real easy to use before bed or while you’re at the library and the explanations to the answers or why the answers are wrong is par excellent. I think I've reached my limit though so I’m going to sign off with this: remember that if you’re taking the CPA exam you’re in a great spot simply by getting here. Now climb a little higher and seize your destiny. If it takes a little longer, so what? Don’t let that be a reason to give up on an opportunity to grow and learn.

Related Posts
CPA Exam Guest Blogger Angela: Mind Over Matter 
Guest Blogger Philip: The CPA Journey
CPA Exam Blogger Daniela Studying for BEC

Are you studying for AUD too? Check out our free AUD videos in our tutoring center:

»»  READ MORE
Monday, July 21, 2014

Networking 101

Networking in the accounting industry is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of getting a job. When you network, there is an exchange of ideas, and that’s the value in networking. Did you know that 80% of people get their jobs based on connections? Being able to network in the accounting industry is crucial: there are many organizations that hold networking specific events. If you can take advantage of these events and successfully connect with others in the industry, you will build your network and your chances of landing that dream job will increase.

Why should you be networking? 

Besides the fact that it’ll most likely land you a job, networking is a great way to build your brand. We’re talking about the brand that you represent: yourself. Networking allows you to show off your knowledge and ideas on a very personal level and it’s your chance to make a lasting impression. This may sound like a lot of pressure, but it’s all about knowing yourself and getting that across. Take some time to really think about what sets you apart and pick some experiences you want to bring to the table. Don’t write a script, because each conversation is different. This is more of a reflective activity. Once you’ve got it down, networking can really increase your career opportunities! Landing a job is about who you know as well as what you know.

What are some of the most effective networking skills to have? 

Don’t blow your networking event by skipping some of the most obvious steps! Approach others with a smile, and be confident in your gait. Make eye contact, have a firm handshake ready, and most importantly, listen to people as they talk. The last step is the most important because it helps you dive deeper into the conversation and allows you to reveal similarities you and the other person might have. It also gives you a chance to ask relevant and appropriate questions.

What does a successful networking conversation look like?

Successful networking conversations are a two way street. You each have something meaningful to add to the conversation and will take away something new. After you’ve exchanged greetings, make sure you contribute to the conversation by asking questions, listening carefully, and avoiding negative topics.  Towards the end of the conversation, make sure to wrap up the conversation with an open door (“I’d love to follow up with you on this” or “Keep me posted on your progress”). Then, proceed to exchange business cards and after the event, follow up promptly! 

Do you have any more tips for networking? Share them in the comments below! 

Related Posts 

Stay up to date on all CPA Exam changes by watching our latest webcast:


»»  READ MORE
Monday, July 14, 2014

Toucan Pass the CPA Exam!

This may just be the push you need to drop everything you're doing and start studying for the CPA Exam. At Roger CPA Review, we believe that if you plan well, study hard, and follow through on your intentions to pass the CPA Exam, you will! This week, we're giving you the tools to do just that: the Premier Course is on sale for $400 off! This course package consists of the Flagship Course PLUS a 6 month extension and Offline Lectures- everything you need to prepare for the CPA Exam! This sale will last until 7/18. So now, the only question is: what are you waiting for?


»»  READ MORE
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Big GAAP vs Small GAAP Webcast

FAR Exam Changes

Are you up to date with the recent conversations happening around Big GAAP vs Small GAAP? Did you know that because early adoption is permitted, concepts mentioned in these conversations can be tested as early as the 4th quarter of this year (2014)? 

From July 9th to the 16th, tune in and listen to Mark Dauberman, our senior editor, talk about what the discussions around Big GAAP vs Small GAAP are all about. Learn about the three areas addressed by the PCC: goodwill, derivatives, and leases between related parties. Don’t know what the PCC is or why it was created? Find out in this webcast! Remember, these concepts may be tested on the FAR exam as early as this coming October, so don’t miss out on this special webcast.




»»  READ MORE
Monday, July 7, 2014

2015 Colorado Licensure Changes: Check the Facts

If you plan on sitting for the CPA Exam in Colorado, you need to be aware of the Licensure changes coming July 1, 2015. As of this month, you have less than one year left to meet “the 150 rule,” which requires 150 semester hours for licensure. There is still plenty of time to meet the current requirements, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

First of all, don’t forget the blackout months. June is a blackout month, which means you will need to have all four parts of the CPA Exam passed by May 2015. Secondly, there will be a flood of candidates sending in their licensure applications months before the deadline. We recently visited the Colorado Society of CPAs (COCPA) and talked to Susan Vachereau, the Member Services Director. She informed us that students should send in licensure applications early (January-February 2015) because as the deadline gets closer, the wait time to receive approval for your license is longer. 

For your convenience, we have provided two charts below to explain the changes before the July 1, 2015 deadline and the changes on or after July 1st.  


BEFORE JULY 1, 2015



Courses Above the Introductory Level
Total Hours

Degree
Accounting
Business
Accounting
Business
For Examination
Baccalaureate Degree or 120 Semester Hours
21 Semester Hours
12 Semester Hours
27 Semester Hours
21 Semester Hours
For Licensure
1 year of work experience (1,800 hours) OR education in lieu of experience (BA + 30 semester hours of non-duplicative study which includes a total of 45 semester hours in accounting subjects



 Requirements ON and AFTER July 1, 2015*



Courses Above the Introductory Level
Total Hours

Degree
Accounting
Business
Accounting
Business
For Examination
Baccalaureate Degree or 120 Semester Hours
21 Semester Hours
12 Semester Hours
27 Semester Hours
21 Semester Hours
For Licensure*
Baccalaureate Degree +30 Semester Hours
27 Semester Hours
18 Semester Hours
33 Semester Hours
27 Semester Hours
Source: (Colorado State Board of Accountancy)


In addition to “the 150 rule,” Colorado residents will not be able to use additional classroom hours/credits in lieu of work experience on or after July 1, 2015. Not only will you have to complete the additional 30 semester hours, you will also need to have 1 year (minimum of 1,800 hours) of work experience. For those of you who want to complete the current requirements before the changes, don’t worry- we’ve got your back! 

The first thing you need is a solid game plan. We have a 3, 6, or 9 month Study Planner to ensure that you will complete the CPA Exam before the deadline. Be sure to stick to your study plan! If you watch the video lectures, complete the homework problems, and practice with our Interactive Practice Questions, YOU WILL PASS! 

To keep you informed of the Colorado Licensure changes, we will be hosting a live Facebook chat in the coming future. This will be your chance to ask us any questions you have regarding the Licensure changes. Stay tuned for the details! 

Last but not least, we’re giving all our Colorado students a discount to help them achieve their CPA goals before the deadline! Use the code CO2015 at checkout for $200 off our Flagship Course. Offer valid through Friday, July 11th.

Explore our course by clicking the button below: 


»»  READ MORE
Monday, June 30, 2014

US GAAP vs. IFRS on the FAR Exam

The fact that the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) exam tests student's knowledge of American Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) is well known and to be expected.  However, many students have minimal experience with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), also covered by the exam.  

Despite any unfamiliarity, this should not cause undue concern; most questions will relate to GAAP. What's most important is understanding the key differences of financial statement preparation for IFRS, in comparison to GAAP. 

GAAP
  
In the United States, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) created the Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) as a rules-based set of standards governing all accounting activity. Standards are most frequently presented as clear-cut, well-defined procedural guidelines that must be adhered to when formally presenting recognition, measurement and financial statement data.  
GAAP-regulated disclosure of company expenditures is found in the footnotes of financial statements. These identify a firm's principle accounting policies and methods for booking revenues and expenses, as well as details about its assets and liabilities.

IFRS 

The IFRS provides accounting standards used in 110 nations, particularly the Europe Union (EU). IFRS is aligned with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), an independent accounting standard-setter based in London. IFRS accounting is more principles-based than GAAP's. In the view of many, this emphasis on process generates a more accurate report of financial transactions, in terms of actual cash-in/cash-out in corporate business activity. 

The FAR exam has been featuring questions contrasting GAAP and IFRS since 2011. Typical are these examples:
For instance, regarding the balance sheet, IFRS processes call for an income statement, changes in equity, cash flow statement and footnotes; in contrast, GAAP guidelines require these four items AND an accompanying statement of comprehensive income. Additional significant differences between GAAP/IFRS when preparing financial statements are represented in Table 1:


Table 1: Financial Statement Differences: GAAP/IFRS
TOPIC
GAAP
IFRS
Inventory costs
Either first-in/first-out (FIFO) or last-in/first-out (LIFO) estimates accepted
No LIFO
Balance sheet
Separation of current/noncurrent assets & liabilities a requirement
Separation of current/noncurrent assets & liabilities suggested
Intangibles
Recognized at fair value
Recognized only if measured reliability is demonstrated, & the asset possesses future economic value
Bank overdrafts
Recorded as a financing activity
May be included in cash if used in cash management
Write-downs
Reversal prohibited, once inventory is written-down
Future reversal allowed, if specific criteria met
Deferred taxes
Entered with assets/liabilities
Recorded on the balance sheet as separate line items
Minority interests -/\- extraordinary items
Recorded in liabilities as separate line items -/\- Permitted if they are unusual & occur rarely
Recorded in equity as separate line items -/\- Prohibited

 

These essential differences should provide the basis for preparation for the FAR, when studying differences between GAAP and IFRS financial recording.

You'll find far fewer questions about IFRS than GAAP, and the differences between their accounting and reporting rules are not exceptionally significant in most cases.  A good knowledge of GAAP will provide most of what you need to know.  The major diversity is essentially theoretical, and a matter of rules (GAAP) vs. process (IFRS), and you'll acquire the most important material through study.  Learn IFRS; don't stress about it.   Remember too, that there is some speculation the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may adopt the IFRS after 2015, at which time it may figure more prominently on the FAR.

Related Posts 
What You Need to Know about IFRS on the CPA Exam 
The 5 Most Difficult Topics on the FAR Exam
The CPA Exam: Let's Break it Down


Studying for FAR? Find more videos in our tutoring center:



»»  READ MORE