The CPA Exam: What You Need to Know

The CPA Exam- What You Need to Know | Vishal CPA PREP

The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is a professional licensing examination for individuals who want to become licensed CPAs in the United States. The exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is designed to assess the knowledge and skills required to practice as a CPA.

Here are some key things you need to know about the CPA exam:

  1. Exam Structure: The CPA exam consists of four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). Each section is a separate exam, and candidates can take them in any order. The exam is computer-based and is administered at authorized test centers.
  1. Exam Content: Each section of the CPA exam covers specific topics. The AUD section focuses on auditing procedures, professional responsibilities, and ethics. The BEC section covers business concepts, economic concepts, financial management, and information technology. The FAR section covers financial accounting and reporting standards. The REG section covers federal taxation, business law, and ethics.
  1. Exam Duration: The CPA exam is a time-limited exam. Each section is a four-hour exam, except for the BEC section, which is a three-hour exam. Candidates are required to answer multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and written communication tasks within the allocated time.
  1. Exam Scoring: The CPA exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 99. The passing score for each section is 75. The AICPA uses a complex scoring process that takes into account the difficulty level of each question and the performance of all candidates who took the exam.
  1. Exam Eligibility: To be eligible to take the CPA exam, you need to meet specific requirements set by the state board of accountancy where you plan to become licensed. Typically, you need to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution and complete a certain number of accounting and business-related courses.
  1. Exam Preparation: Due to the rigor of the CPA exam, most candidates engage in extensive preparation. Many candidates enroll in review courses provided by various educational institutions or utilize self-study materials. Popular CPA review courses include Becker, Wiley CPAexcel, Roger CPA Review, and Surgent CPA Review.
  1. Exam Administration: The CPA exam is administered by the AICPA in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). You need to apply and register for the exam through your state board of accountancy or the jurisdiction where you plan to become licensed. The exam is offered during specific testing windows throughout the year.
  1. Exam Retakes: If you do not pass a section of the CPA exam, you can retake that section. However, there are restrictions on how many times you can retake each section and the time frame within which you must pass all sections of the exam. These restrictions vary by state, so it's essential to review the specific requirements of the state board of accountancy where you plan to become licensed.

Passing the CPA exam is a significant milestone in becoming a licensed CPA. It requires dedicated preparation, in-depth knowledge of accounting and related topics, and strong problem-solving skills. The exam is challenging, but with proper preparation and perseverance, you can achieve your goal of becoming a CPA.

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