Monday, January 18, 2010

How to become a CPA

How do you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)? Below are the steps needed to become a CPA:


1. Figure out this is the path you want to take.
2. Go to Fall in love with this website, this is where you will check your scores eventually.
3. Click 'Exams'.
4. Click 'CPA exam'.
5. Click on your state (jurisdiction).
6. Click on 'First time application'.
7. Now you have several options: The only two you need are 'First-time application' and 'School code list'. You will have to find your school code to write on the application to apply your appropriate school to your application.
8. Print both of those forms out. Fill out the 'First-time application'.
9. Make sure an include the correct payment, then mail to CPA Examination Services-SC, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN 37219 per the instructions of the application.
10. You have just applied to be able to sit for the CPA exam. Woo... what a relief, you feel productive, you feel like this is a good choice!

Well, you are probably wondering, ok... so I applied, what do I do now. You wait, could take up to 6 weeks to hear anything. Upon hearing something, usually by a letter from your state board of accountancy listing your eligibility such as the amount of classes you need to take in order to obtain the required minimum credit hours. Not long after that letter, typically, you receive your NTS (Notice to Schedule) by email... this is the bread and butter document of the CPA exam. The testing center (prometrics) uses the NTS to verify your eligibility to sit for the exam.

The Exam:

1. You need to get yourself some study materials (guides) to prepare for the CPA exam. Becker, Wiley, Gleim, there are various study materials for the CPA exam. This test is done entirely on the computer... get yourself as many practice questions via the computer as possible to simulate taking the actual exam!
2. Study
3. Study
4. Study
5. Study
6. Depending on your study habits, you need a good 60-100 hours of hardcore studying to make a reasonable score (hopefully above 75, that is all you need!) on the CPA exam.
7. Procrastinate studying because you want to blog as you think to yourself... hey... I have 34 days to study for this... its going to be easy peasy... no problem. *headdesk* DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. This exam is built around not procrastinating... there is so much information that if you try to cram the material your head will explode (not really, but you will freak out). See #8.
8. Buckle down a week before the exam as you freak out realizing you know nothing about the material... this is your cram period. I would NOT recommend this tactic. It usually leads to burnout and freak out of the individual. You use this tactic, go into the exam and slam your head on the computer keyboard hoping you hit some coherent answer that might happen to be right... not a good tactic.

Day of the Exam:

1. Realize that you cannot learn anymore that morning after staying up for 3 days straight in order to cram.
2. Drink some Orange Juice (stimulates the brain)... get some caffine for optimal concentration.
3. Eat a good breakfast
4. Pray
5. Go into the exam with an attitude such as, "It doesn't matter if I pass or fail, I did my best." However, if you did NOT do your best... most people don't, then you cannot say such things can you? Haha, kidding... BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITIES.
7. Struggle through the exam (that's what it is designed to do). Don't worry once you completed the exam, just hope you did good enough for that magical 75.

After the exam:

1. Party time, relax, eat something since you haven't in the past 48 hours due to studying. Breathe.
2. Do all of #1 till you realize you took one part. There are 3 more parts and they are always harder than the one before them!
3. Freak out again.
4. Give yourself a few hours/days to relax before jumping into another subject matter such as Financial Regulation, Auditing, Business Environment and Concepts, or Regulation.
5. Realize that depending on your state you might need to work under a CPA for 2 years before you can qualify for licensure as a CPA.
6. Hope that your pet animal hasn't died due to neglect from studying. Poor fluffy...
7. Smile, this is all just a process to having, "Insertyournamehere, CPA" and making copious amounts of money with that credential.

Above are the BASICS of obtaining licensure as a CPA.

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