You’ve worked so hard to earn your bachelor’s degree and are so close to your dream of becoming a CPA (certified public accountant). All you to do is pass the CPA exam, which you’ve heard can be difficult if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips on how aspiring CPAs can best prepare for the CPA exam.
What is the CPA Exam?
To be a CPA, a candidate must meet three requirements, which are known as “The Three E’s” – Education, Examination and Experience, according to American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The CPA exam, also known as the Uniform CPA Examination, is one of those three E’s. While education and experience requirements may vary by state, the examination is uniform and the only one of its kind to be accepted in all jurisdictions in the United States. In all states, the exam consists of four parts. While the applicants do not need to finish all four parts at one time, they must complete all four within 18 of passing the first one.
What About Work Experience & Education?
The National Association of State Board of Accountancy (NASBA) reports that prior to taking the CPA exam, candidates must have satisfied the education and work experience requirements. Since these requirements vary from state to state, individuals pursuing a CPA career should learn what the requirements are in the state in which they plan to work and take the exam. At the very least, individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, although many choose to complete a master’s degree program. Baccalaureate degree holders must also complete additional hours of college study to meet the required 150 hours, according to the AICPA. Many states also require at least two years of work experience before the exam can be taken.Even after passing the exam and obtaining licensure, CPAs must complete continuing education to maintain licensure.
How Do I Prepare For the CPA Exam?
The majority of the preparation for the CPA exam exists in completing the education and work experience requirements. The AICPA is a great resource for individuals planning to take the CPA exam. It offers a Content Specific Outline that details what to expect on each part of the exam. It also features a CPA exam tutorial that indicates want resources will be available to the candidate at the time of the exam and also teaches them how to navigate through the exam. Candidates are advised to familiarize themselves with the word processing and spreadsheets that are include in the exam. Aspiring CPAs are expected to be familiar with the content and format of the exam and to know what to expect prior to arrival at the test site.
Employment Outlook for CPAs
Taking and passing the CPA exam can be the start of a rewarding and lucrative career for potential CPAs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors should see a 16% employment growth during the 2010-2020 decade. Accountants who earn and maintain a CPA license should find the best career options, according to the NASBA. If you enjoy working with numbers, having a rewarding career and earning a good salary, you may want to check into becoming a CPA.