Become A CPA

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  • 1.Become a CPA A Solid Investment that Pays Great Career Dividends

2. Table of Contents Page Become a CPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Increased demand for CPAs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. A renewed focus on business ethics2. Business in a global economy3. New technologyThe CPA a multi-dimensional professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The 5 Core Competencies of the CPAWhat CPAs do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2What CPAs earn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3About the CPA license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Qualifying to take the Uniform CPA Examination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Applying to take the Uniform CPA Examination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5What to expect after you apply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Navigating the complex CPA Exam process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6The CPA Exam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Financial Accounting and Reporting (Financial) Auditing and Attestation (Auditing) Regulation Business Environment and Concepts (Business) Valuable resources for CPA candidatesExam format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Sample questionsExam challenges & solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Challenge 1: Lack of complete preparationChallenge 2: Time managementChallenge 3: The unique computer-based exam environmentChallenge 4: Lack of self-disciplineChallenge 5: Pre-exam anxietyAbout Becker CPA Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 3. Become a CPA Increased demand for CPAs Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) In recent years, three factors have combined significantly enhances both salary and advancement to drive a higher demand for CPAs. potential for young business professionals and can also open a variety of doors in all sectors of the business 1. A renewed focus on business ethics world public, private, governmental, and not-for-profit.The biggest contributor to increased demand is heightened corporate accountability. As a consequence of catastrophic accounting scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 mandated very strict governance requirements for corporations.Companies must now critically scrutinize their entire accounting process, and corporate leaders many of whom are not currently accounting experts must personally attest to the integrity of their financial statements. As a result, CPAs are now more highly valued than ever before. 2. Business in a global economy The proliferation of multi-national organizations has also fueled demand for CPAs both internationally and domestically. CPAs who can adapt to other Besides careers in public accounting firms, todays cultures and understand global business perspectives CPAs have a variety of other job options. These and regulations are extremely valuable. include white-collar crime specialists with the FBI,3. New technology experts testifying in courts of law on forensic CPAs with solid IT skills are needed to design, accounting findings, consultants helping families integrate, and implement advanced software plan for their childrens education, and Fortune 500 systems, as well as serve as consultants to link CFOs and CEOs. hardware/software solutions with sound Becoming a CPA is a step that sets one apart from business plans. the rest of the field. The CPA designation:Competition for CPAs at all levels is fierce. Employers Indicates a high level of educationhave raised salaries and added bonuses and other and mastery of a wide range of skills. attractive benefits to attract and retain these highly Is recognized and valued by prospectivevalued professionals. And many of these organizations employers because of the dedicationoffer internal promotions, providing a solid career path necessary to become a CPA. for those who exhibit loyalty while excelling in their roles. Signifies honesty, objectivity, and financial expertise. Is a key requirement for advancement in many areas of the accounting profession.1 4. The CPA a multi-dimensional What CPAs do professional CPAs typically begin their careers in public accounting As the traditional role of a CPA expands to includebecause it gives them the fastest and broadest exposure all aspects of business from performance to growth to a variety of businesses. Many CPAs move into strategy, the future for CPAs is bright. Todays CPAscorporate positions as they advance in their careers, are leaders as well as close collaborators in high-profile or pursue opportunities with governmental and organizational initiatives that require skills far beyondnot-for-profit entities. Others choose academia. number-crunching.In addition to the typical accounting functions, As critical members of cross-functional teams, CPAsthere are many specialty disciplines: must possess strong interpersonal and communication Audit and Assurance Ensuring that financial skills. Likewise, diplomacy and persuasion skillsstatements properly reflect the financial performance are necessary, as CPAs are frequently interpretingof the company. information and presenting it to non-financial audiences. Tax and Financial Planning Recommending The 5 Core Competencies of the CPA*savings, investment, and tax options to eliminate 1. Communications and leadership skillsdebt, control expenses, minimize tax burdens,Able to give and exchange information within aand optimize investments.meaningful context and with appropriate delivery Internal Auditing Assessing the effectiveness ofand interpersonal skills. Able to influence, inspire,an entitys control structure either as an employeeand motivate others to achieve results.or an outside consultant. These professionals are 2. Strategic and critical thinking skillsin high demand as a result of new corporateAble to link data, knowledge, and insight governance regulations.together to provide quality advice for strategic IT Services Designing, integrating, and implementingdecision-making.advanced software systems, acting as a bridge 3. Focus on the customer, client, and market between hardware/software and organizational goals.Able to anticipate and meet the changing needs Forensic Accounting Preventing, detecting,of clients, employers, customers, and markets betterand investigating financial frauds such asthan competitors.embezzlement, securities fraud, tax evasion, 4. Interpretation of converging informationand money-laundering schemes. Demand forAble to interpret and provide a broader context this specialty has grown significantly as a resultusing financial and non-financial information.of recent corporate scandals.5. Technologically adept International Accounting Companies adoptingAble to utilize and leverage technology in ways International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)that add value to clients, customers, and employers.need accountants to help reconcile IFRS with U.S.GAAP. Professionals with knowledge of U.S. GAAP *Source: CPA Vision, cpavision.org, and the American Institute who work well in an international environment areof Certified Public Accountantsincreasingly in demand. 2 5. Environmental Accounting Addressing how What CPAs earn companies can be both environmentally responsible Factors such as geographic location, years of experience, and profitable. This includes focusing on a variety level of education, and the size/revenue of an employer of projects like environmental compliance audits all play a role in determining the salary of a CPA. and managing and preventing claims and disputes. But in general, CPAs earn at least 10% more than Consulting Services Providing a variety of specialtynon-CPAs in similar positions. services for companies, including performance management, financial planning, and strategy 2006 Projected Non-CPACPA and operations planning.Accountant Salaries Salaries** Salaries (Large Firms*) Up ToUp To Financial Analysis Evaluating business data, Senior Manager/ identifying trends, and participating in the long-term $130,000 $143,000 Director strategy of a firm. Manager$95,000$104,500 General Accounting Processing journal entries, performing account analysis and reconciliation, Senior $75,000 $82,500 and preparing payroll, sales, and use tax, and other local tax filings. 1 to 3 Years $60,000 $66,000 The Academic CPA Regulatory changes have impacted the academic Up to 1 Year $52,000 $57,200community as much as the business community. Industry demand has business program enrollments increasingDerived from Robert Half International 2006 Salary Guide; at a time when a significant percentage of accounting Public Accounting, Audit, Tax and Management Services.professors near retirement. Many universities are suffering *Large public accounting firms = $250 million + in salesfrom a shortage of professors who are CPAs. Salary does not reflect overtime or bonuses which may be significant portions of compensation for these positions. Furthermore, colleges and universities must now offer **CPAs earn up to 10% over peers without professional designations. new courses in areas such as internal auditing, enterprise risk management, forensic accounting, and ethics.3 6. About the CPA licenseQualifying to take the Candidates must pass a rigorous, four-part exam called Uniform CPA Examination the Uniform CPA Examination that is prepared and Its important to know the prerequisites of the state or administered by the American Institute of Certifiedjurisdiction in which you will apply for the CPA Exam Public Ac