If you plan to or are in the process of obtaining your CPA license, you probably heard of or used Becker, the professional CPA review provider who prepares students to sit and pass the CPA exam.
On Tuesday, March 31st, Ms. Stephanie Opalinski, Account Manager, visited campus on behalf of Becker to discuss what Becker offers and some of the most concerned issues students have regarding the requirements and process of sitting for the exam. If you missed the event, below are some of the key points she mentioned.
· As most of us know, the CPA exam covers four major aspects of knowledge, including Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, Regulation, and Business Environment and Concepts. The AICPA requires that a candidate pass all sections of the exam within a rolling 18-month period.
· To fulfill the requirements to sit for the exam in New York State, a candidate needs to have 120 semester hours and must have taken at least one course from each of the following.
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Cost or Managerial Accounting
- Auditing and Attestation Services
In order to obtain the CPA license, one has to have 150 semester hours, which include 33 semester hours in the professional accounting field, and one year of full-time experience (or the part-time equivalent) providing accounting services.
Stephanie emphasized that all of the credit requirements are evaluated based on letter grades, which means that you do not fulfill the credit requirement if you are still taking the class and have not received an official grade.
· So far, Becker uses three formats to help students prepare for the CPA Exam, including self-study, live classes and online classes.
- Self –study: Students have the most freedom to learn at a flexible pace that fit their own schedules
- Live classes: Courses are held in a classroom environment with experienced instructors and set schedules
- Online classes: Students have the flexibility to study weekly lectures according to their school and work schedules
Sometimes different formats of study can be combined upon a student’s request. Students should make a plan and wisely use Becker as a tool to fit different schedules and learning styles.
· FAR and Audit are generally considered the most difficult sections of the CPA Exam. While most students usually start from conquering the hardest, professionals suggest that one can get the easy sections over with if he or she just finished the class that covers the subjects.
Together with Stephanie, Mr. John Claros came to the event as a guest speaker. John is an expert in the accounting industry, who has experience in both taxation and real estate. He emphasized that having a CPA license opens the door for people to understand how different industries work. John walked event attendees through some direct questions from the Becker software and shared some tips on how to solve different types of questions.
Here is one final important note shared by Stephanie and John:
Starting January 2017, both the content and structure of the exam will be a lot different than today. Currently with the exception of Business Environment and Concepts, the approximate weighing of the types of questions is 60 percent multiple-choice and 40 percent task-based simulations. The AICPA is working on changing the formats of the exam, and will shift towards more task-based simulations, making it a 50-50 format. So if you can study for the CPA exam now, do not wait until later.