Public Accounting Tips

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The CPA Exam

Students must apply for and receive a Notice To Schedule(NTS) to sit for the CPA Exam. CPA Applicants receive the NTS through the NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) at www.nasba.org. After receiving the NTS, CPA applicants must schedule sitting for the CPA Exam. It is recommended that you schedule a CPA exam sitting at least 45 days prior to the exam date. The highest level of certification for an accounting position is found in the CPA - Certified Public Accountant. This accounting position involves expressing opinions on company financial statements, providing various consulting services, preparing financial statements, maintaining and summarizing financial data, and tax consulting/preparation - among other duties for this accounting position.

   

Public Accountant

Public accounting differs from the rest of the accounting profession due to the independence factor. Employees are not employed by any of the clientele businesses, but rather by the accounting firm. Accountants of public accounting firms can be either a CPA or non-CPA. The CPA is regulated by the individual State Boards of Accountancy. In addition, the CPA must keep current with CPE (continuing professional education) requirements. The public accountant provides clients with services ranging from progress mapping, monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of IT systems, risk assessment, to tax advisory services - amongst a variety of other services. The public accountant maintains independence from client businesses. The highest level of achievement a public accountant can obtain is the CPA designation.

   

CPA Firms & Licensing

Of all the positions within the public accounting field, the most esteemed accountant job is known as the Certified Public Accountant. Otherwise known as a CPA, this individual passes a rigorous professional examination and must meet licensing requirements.

CPA Requirements differ according to individual State Boards of Accountancy. Some states require working in CPA firms for a specific time period. Some states give options such as governmental agencies, nonprofit, and/or CPA firms. Usually they require some auditing experience be obtained.

In short, all individuals passing the CPA exam must work in certain industries for a specific time in order to apply for a CPA license.

Check with your local State Board of Accountancy for specifics. If you are uncertain about your State Board of Accountancy website address, visit NASBA for a link.

   
What is a CPA Firm?

CPA Firms & Licensing

A CPA firm is a company engaged in the public accounting field. The CPA firm must also have at least one licensed CPA in the title of the firm. This is regulated by individual State Boards of Accountancy.

Check with your local State Board of Accountancy for compliance issues regarding this legal requirement.
The largest CPA firms in the world are known as "The Big Four:"

  1. Ernst & Young
  2. PricewaterhouseCoopers
  3. KPMG
  4. Deloitte & Touche
This group mainly conducts audits of the Fortune 500 companies.

   
What is a Public Accountant?

Public Accountant

Public accounting is an accounting service field that provides accounting and tax advisory services - amongst other services - to a diverse client base. Clientele can range from large corporations, non-profit entities, governmental, to local firms and individuals. Public accounting firms can be either international (such as the Big 4), regional, or local.

Being employed in the public accounting field as a public accountant means providing clients with independent/outside services. Consulting, tax advice, financial audits, IT recommendations, are services offered by the public accountant (amongst a variety of others). Accountants working in the public accounting field who are not certified are known as public accountants.

   
CPA exam, scheduling CPA exam, CPA, CPA process, Thomson Prometric, NASBA, Notice to Schedule, NTS, CPA applicants

CPA Exam-Scheduling

In addition to proper review studying, there are steps that need to be followed to prepare for sitting for the CPA Exam.

First, CPA applicants (those wishing to sit for the CPA Exam) must contact the NASBA (National Association of State Board of Accountancy) to obtain a Notice to Schedule (NTS). These notices are valid for six months. Next, CPA applicants must schedule the CPA exam testing. This is handled via Thomson Prometric. It can be done either online or via the phone. Be certain to have your calendar on hand, since any change in test dates could result in an additional fee.

   
What is the CPA Exam?

The CPA Exam

The Uniform CPA Exam is an arduous, 14-hour, multi-part professional exam given quarterly by the AICPA. The Uniform CPA Exam contains three exam sections having four parts: AUD - Auditing and Attestation; FAR - Financial Accounting and Reporting; and REG - Regulation plus Business Environment & Concepts.

Each section of the CPA Exam has multiple choice and simulation problems. The four parts all test technical competence, written communication skills, and research skills.

The Uniform CPA Exam is prepared and graded by the Board of Examiners of the American Institute of Certified Accountants (AICPA). Appropriate passing standards are also established by the AICPA. The entire CPA exam is given via a computerized program at various test centers throughout the country.

   
How do I prepare for the CPA exam?

Studying for the CPA Exam

It takes extensive studying to prepare for the CPA Exam. There are a variety of ways to do this, luckily. Depending on your choice, preparing can be done via self-study (cassettes, DVDs, CDs, etc.), online courses, or in a classroom setting.

There are a variety of CPA Review Courses available to assist you. Gleim CPA Review Course is known for its thorough manuals and self-testing via software, books, audio and online study. Visit them at www.gleim.com for more information.

Becker CPA Review Course has been around for years and is known for its high success rate. In fact, all of the Big 4 have chosen Becker as their preferred review course provider. Becker students are known for passing the CPA Exam at double the rate as non-Becker students sitting for the Exam. There are more than 2,000 Elijah Watts Sells Award Winners (highest scorers on the CPA Exam) who have taken Becker. Becker is great due to its structured classroom setting combined with texts, live instruction, and assignments - in my opinion. Plus, students can converse with other students and instructors for reinforcement. For those not wanting such structure, Becker offers online classes and self-study CDs. I, personally, highly recommend Becker CPA Review Course. It is a 100% exam-based review course. The review coursework concentrates on relevant CPA Exam material. Visit Becker online at www.beckercpa.com for specifics.

Another area of study for the CPA Candidate is the CPA Exam testing software. Prior to actually sitting for the CPA Exam, CPA applicants need to become acquainted with the computerized testing software. Take some time during your studying to do practice tests online and familiarize yourself with the testing software. There is an online test tutorial located at www.cpa-exam.org. This is the official website for the Uniform CPA Exam.

Study, study, study and prepare for your CPA Exam success!

   
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