A requirement for all accounting majors should be a class in how to prepare, apply, and sit for the CPA exam before graduation (with credit, of course!) but until accounting programs in Universities across the country step up and start offering this, CPA exam applicants will continue to have lots of questions about the process. Don't worry, we're here to help!
So now that you've got that degree and are all ready to start CPA Review, now what?
1. Contact your state board of accountancy (or NASBA) to apply for the CPA exam. To see a handy list of states and get contact information for your state, check out this guide on our website.
FAQ: Q: I live in California but want to be licensed in Illinois. How do I do that? A: Simple! Because the CPA exam is a uniform examination, you can sit for any state's exam (as long as you qualify) in any other state. Just go through the application process in the state that you would like to pursue licensure in and you will be able to schedule your exams in your home state through Prometric.
2. Wait patiently to find out if you have been approved to sit for the exam. This is sometimes the hardest part (especially in CA where exam applications are taking 10 - 12 weeks due to heavy applicant volume at this time) and a good opportunity to start planning out your study time. You can usually start cracking open the books a few weeks after you've submitted all your paperwork as long as you are fairly sure you'll be eligible to sit for the exam.
FAQ: Q: I sent in my application four weeks ago and haven't heard anything, who do I call? They cashed my application fee check already. A: Depending on your state, you can either check with NASBA or your state board on application status but chances are they won't tell you. Just because they cashed your check doesn't mean you are approved, it just means they received it and are processing. Sit tight, you'll hear back shortly. How's that study plan going?
3. Figure out which exam parts you would like to take for your first NTS. We suggest you do not plan to take all four parts with your NTS as you can always reapply and get a new NTS for your additional exam parts.
FAQ: Q: I paid for all four exam parts and won't be able to take them before my NTS expires. What do I do? A: Sit for the exam anyway if you can as you won't be able to request a refund. Even if you aren't prepared, you've basically forfeited the money you paid for those exam parts so you might as well go and see what's on the exam so you're extra prepared when you do actually sit for it. And hopefully you will have learned your lesson for next time.
4. Prepare for and PASS the CPA exam! Okay, we shouldn't even list that as a step but sometimes CPA exam candidates overlook that important "prepare for" part. You wouldn't go into your college final without having attended a single class all semester and you shouldn't tackle the CPA exam that way either
FAQ: Q: Which order should I take the exams in? What's easiest? A: Well first of all, there is no such thing as an "easy" part to the CPA exam. If there were, we'd all be CPAs! While there is no "magical" order to the CPA exams, we suggest that you start with the part that you think will be most difficult for you since your 18 months starts ticking from when you sit for and pass your first section. That way if you get stuck, the clock hasn't even started, allowing you to get that one out of the way before you move on. Remember that FAR is no harder than AUD or REG just because it is larger - all sections should be digested in smaller pieces over time regardless of how large or small that particular section is.
And for our final, bonus FAQ: Q: Why is Roger CPA Review so awesome? A: Because we've always been so awesome and will continue to be as long as there are unlicensed accountants working hard to realize their CPA licensure goals.
We sincerely hope this helps but if you have specific questions about the CPA exam, CPA licensure, the application process, or studying, leave us a comment and let us know what's on your mind!