About Reduce Your CPA Exam Study Time
I am mostly an experience type learner and learn best by actively doing things like highlighting and writing all over my textbooks while I'm reading. My advice is to focus on the ways you learn best and spend the majority of your time on those.
So what did I do differently to increase my productivity and shave 45 hours off my total study time?
1.Skip the Video Lectures 跳过视频讲座
The lectures can be a great resource if you are primarily a visual learner but for me the instructors seemed to move through the material too slow which caused me to become bored and get easily distracted. The lectures introduce the section and go over the main topics, but this duplicated my study efforts as I would then have to read about the same thing in my textbook. I realized that I was not actually learning from the lectures but was actually learning from reading the textbook, taking notes, and doing the multiple choice quizzes. I quit watching the videos almost entirely and only watched the ones on sections where I felt weak and needed a little more explanation to fully grasp the material.
如果你主要是一个视觉学习者，讲座可以是一个很好的资源，但对我来说，教师似乎过材料的速度太慢，导致我变得无聊，容易分心。 讲座介绍了这一部分并介绍了主要内容，但这等于重复了我的学习工作，因为我必须在教科书中阅读相同的内容。 我意识到我实际上并没有从讲座中学习，而是从阅读教科书，记笔记和做多项选择测验中学习。 我几乎完全放弃观看视频，只观看那些我感到弱的部分，并需要更多的解释来完全掌握材料。
2.Don't Keep Retaking the Same Multiple Choice Practice Tests 不要持续的重新开始做相同的多项选择练习测试
While studying for my first exam I would retake the multiple choice tests over and over until I got at least a 90% before I moved on to the next section. Why? Because CPAexcel didn't give me "full credit" for completing the section if I didn't (Seems really lame now looking back on it). This benchmark is similar to the "Becker Promise" that Becker CPA Review offers which doesn't allow you to reuse their study materials free of charge if you don't complete each homework assignment with at least a 90%.
After my first test, I would review the answers I got wrong and retake the test. I found that I would start memorizing the answers just so I would score high on the next test even if I didn't fully grasp WHY it was the correct answer. On some of the longer tests I would sometimes have to retake them 3 or 4 times before I "passed"! This type of memorization is counter-productive to learning and focuses on getting a good grade which is NOT the goal of studying.
在我第一次考试的同时，我会一遍又一遍地重做多项选择题，直到至少达到了90%准确率我才会进入下一部分。 为什么呢？ 因为如果我没有完成该部分，CPAexcel不会给我已完成这部分的"完全信任"(现在回过头来看，我觉得自己真的很差劲)。 此基准类似于Becker CPA Review提供的"Becker Promise"，如果您没有完成每项至少90%准确率的家庭作业，则不允许您免费重复使用他们的学习资料。
在我的第一次测试之后，我会回顾我错误的答案并重新进行测试。 我发现我会开始记住答案，所以即使我没有完全掌握为什么它是正确的答案，我也会在下一次测试中获得高分。 在一些较长的测试中，我有时必须在"通过"之前重做3到4次！ 这种记忆方式会对学习起反作用，并侧重于获得不是学习目标的好成绩。
I decided to challenge the status quo of most CPA review courses and stop caring about my test scores and focus on learning instead. Here was my new routine: less cpa exam study time
It did not matter if I got a 50% or a 90% on the test I would stick to this same process every time. Instead of retaking the test and seeing 80% of the same questions I already answered correctly, I focused solely on the 20% I missed and was amazed at how much more I was actually learning. This type of studying forces you to actively engage your mind rather than switching it into auto-pilot and will save you a ton of time.
如果我在测试中得到50%或90%并不重要，我每次都会坚持这个相同的过程。 我没有重新考试并看到我已经正确回答的80%相同的问题，而是专注于我错过的20%，并且对我实际学习的内容感到惊讶。 这种类型的学习迫使你积极参与你的思维，而不是将其转换为自动驾驶，并为你节省大量的时间。
CPA Exam Hacks and Shortcuts
These two simple strategies saved me 45 hours of my life and regardless of how you learn best there are ways to refine your studying habits and do the same. If you have been using a CPA study materials that aren't aligned with your personal learning preferences then I highly suggest you take a new materials that will increase your chances of passing.
Audit CPA Exam Tips
Auditing concepts can be difficult to understand, because an audit requires a different set of skills than posting accounting transactions or generating financial statements. To succeed on the Audit CPA exam (AUD) you need to put yourself in the shoes of an auditor, and understand the tests performed to issue an audit opinion.
Use these CPA Audit exam tips to better understand how to navigate the most difficult questions and topics and pass your upcoming exam!
Adjusting entry 调整分录
The accrual method of accounting requires companies to use the matching principle, which matches revenue earned with the expenses incurred to produce the revenue. This rule applies, regardless of the timing of cash inflow and outflows.
When you see questions on adjusting entries, remember that the entry requires one balance sheet and one income statement account. Assume, for example, that you owe $3,000 in payroll for the last week of December, and that payroll will not be paid until January 5th of the following year. Here is the adjusting entry:
Debit wage expense $3,000
Credit accrued wages payable $3,000
(To post wage expense on 12/31)
Wage expense is an income statement account, and accrued wages payable is a balance sheet account.
Here is the entry when the wages are paid on January 5th:
Debit accrued wages payable $3,000
Credit cash $3,000
(To pay wages on 1/5)
Asset valuation 资产估值
Most assets are valued at historical cost, or the purchase price of the asset. Accounting principles use historical cost, because the purchase price can be easily confirmed. Fair market value and other methods are not widely used to value assets.
Audit opinions and fraud 审计意见与舞弊
An audit opinion states whether or not the financial statements are free of material misstatement. Because an audit opinion does not state that the financial statements are free of all errors, the auditor can perform test work on a sample basis. CPAs use statistics to determine the required sample size, and the results of the sample can be applied to the entire population tested.
Here's the deal 交易是这样的:
Performing an audit may not uncover fraud, which is defined as willful intent to deceive. Fraud is particularly difficult to uncover if two or more employees collude and work together to avoid internal controls.
If a business suspects that a fraud has occurred, the firm may engage a CPA to test every transaction in a particular account, in order to uncover fraud.
Every AUD exam includes questions regarding confirmations, and confirming information with a third party is considered more reliable the documentation provided by the client. An auditor may send confirmations to a bank to confirm an account balance, or send confirms to customers who have a large balance in accounts receivable.
Engagement letter 聘书
The engagement letter is a written agreement between the client and the CPA firm performing the audit, and some components of the engagement letter may be confusing to exam candidates.
An auditor uses judgment when selecting the audit procedures to be performed, and there is not one set of procedures performed for every audit. The client is responsible for implementing a system of internal controls, but the auditor must comment on any internal control weaknesses noted during the audit. Finally, the financial statements are the responsibility of management, and not the auditor.
审核员在选择要执行的审核程序时使用判断，并且没有为每次审核执行一组程序。 客户负责实施内部控制系统，但审计师必须评估审计期间发现的任何内部控制缺陷。 最后，财务报表是管理层的责任，而不是审计师。
Inventory count 库存盘点
The best way to confirm the existence of inventory is to perform a physical count, and most auditors require that a count take place before issuing an unqualified audit opinion.If you haven't participated in a physical inventory count, some aspects of the count may not be familiar to you. Here are some important components of an inventory count.
Access during the count: No inventory can move in or out of the area where inventory is stored during the count. Inventory counts typically take place in a warehouse or retail shop, and the access to the location should be restricted during the count. This ensures that the count is performed using the most recent inventory listing from the accounting system.
Obsolete inventory: Keep an eye out for obsolete inventory, or items that have been in inventory for a long time and are not selling. Obsolete inventory should be expensed by writing off the value of the inventory to cost of goods sold. Every inventory audit program requires the auditor to ask company managers about obsolete inventory.
All tags collected: Every physical inventory item is tagged, and the tag lists the number of items, a product description, and the cost of the items tagged. If you're a sporting goods retailer, for example, you might carry a box of 50 baseball gloves in inventory. All inventory tags generated from the accounting system must be placed on inventory and checked during an inventory count.The AUD test includes several questions on inventory counts, so make sure that you understand these concepts.
Materiality is defined as a dollar amount that is large enough to be relevant to a financial statement reader, and there is not a set dollar amount that is considered material for every audit. The most important aspect of materiality is a misstatement of net income, because net income is a key metric used to value a company.
But here's the kicker:
During audit planning, the audit staff will decide on a level of tolerable misstatement for each account balance. If, for example, the balance of accounts receivable is $2 million, the auditor may decide that any misstatement greater than $500 is material, which means an adjusted entry should be posted.
Sales and receivables 销售和应收账款
When an auditor performs an analytical review, the accountant compares balances in the financial statement to see if the relationships are reasonable. This analysis includes a review of trends from one year to the next. It's very likely that you'll see questions on the relationship between credit sales and receivables.
当审计师进行分析性审查时，会计师会比较财务报表中的余额，以确定关系是否合理。 该分析包括对一年到下一年趋势的回顾。 您很可能会看到有关信用销售和应收账款之间关系的问题。
Credit sales are transactions that are not immediately paid in cash, and credit sales increase the accounts receivable balance. If your firm increases credit sales to new customers, you may find that new customers don't pay as quickly as your existing client base.
What's the bottom line?
If the accounts receivable balance grows at a faster percentage rate than credit sales, you may not be able to generate enough cash to operate each month. Growing credit sales by 10% will increase profits, but if the accounts receivable balance grows by 30%, if may create a cash shortage.
Sampling is defined as applying an audit procedure to less than 100% of the items in a population. Keep in mind, however, that if exceptions are found as samples are tested, the auditor will expand the audit work by testing more items.
Assume, for example, that an auditor pulls a sample of client checks with a dollar amount of $1,000 or more. The client's internal controls require two signatures on every check of $1,000 or more, and the auditor selects 50 checks for test work. If the auditor reviews checks that do not have two signatures, the sample size will be expanded. An auditor cannot rely on a sample that contains errors, because the same error rate may apply to the entire population.
例如，假设审计员提取的客户支票样本的金额为1,000美元或更多。 客户的内部控制在每次1000美元或更多的检查时需要两个签名，审核员选择50个检查进行测试工作。 如果审核员检查没有两个签名的检查，则将扩展样本量。 审核员不能依赖包含错误的样本，因为相同的错误率可能适用于整个人口。
Search for unrecorded liabilities 搜索未记录的负债
Auditors plan the engagement so that each account in the balance sheet is audited, and auditors are concerned about overstatement of asset accounts and liability accounts that are understated. This auditing concept is based on the balance sheet formula: Assets – liabilities = equity
审计师计划参与计划，以便对资产负债表中的每个账户进行审计，审计人员担心资产账户和低估责任账户的多报。 此审计概念基于资产负债表公式：资产 - 负债=权益
If an asset account, such as accounts receivable, increases, the firm's equity balance also increases. On the other hand, a decrease in accounts payable (a liability account) also increases equity. The auditor's goal is to audit each balance sheet account, to ensure that each account is materially correct.
如果应收账款等资产账户增加，公司的权益余额也会增加。 另一方面，应付账款(负债账户)的减少也增加了股权。 审计师的目标是审计每个资产负债表帐户，以确保每个帐户在实质上是正确的。
The search of unrecorded liabilities is a procedure that confirms accounts payable. The auditor scans large checks written shortly after the fiscal year end and reviews the accounts payable detail. An auditor wants to see if the check is paying a liability that was posted to accounts payable.
Assume, for example, that a company has a December 31st fiscal year end. A $5,000 check paid to a vendor on January 10th was not listed on the December 31st accounts payable detail. If the client was incurred the expense before year-end, the $5,000 should be added to accounts payable by posted an adjusting entry.
搜索未记录的负债是确认应付账款的程序。 审计员扫描财政年度结束后不久写入的大额支票，并审查应付账款明细。 审计员想知道支票是否支付了应付账款的负债。
例如，假设一家公司在12月31日的财政年度结束。 1月10日支付给供应商的5,000美元支票未列入12月31日的应付账款明细。 如果客户在年底前支付了费用，则应通过发布调整条目将5,000美元添加到应付账款中。
Segregation of duties职责分离
Segregation of duties is a concept that applies to many audit procedures, and every accountant must understand this topic. This concept is the only way to reduce the risk of fraud, particularly fraud committed by workers within a business.
You might be wondering:
How can I protect my firm from fraud? To protect yourself, make sure that you understand the three types of duties that must be segregated among different employees:
Physical custody of assets: One worker should have physical custody of assets, such as the checkbook, or the keys to the warehouse.
Authorization: A second person, usually the owner, should have authority to move assets. An authorized check signer, for example, has the ability to move cash by signing a check.
Recordkeeping: If possible, a third worker should be responsible for posting accounting activity. That would include the task of reconciling the bank accounts, for example.
Ideally, three separate people should handle these duties. The Audit CPA exam asks many questions on this topic, so make sure that you're clear about segregation of duties.
Invest In Your Audit Exam Prep 投资你的审计考试准备
The AUD exam can be difficult, particularly if you haven't worked as an auditor for a CPA firm. While this test does not have as many calculations as other sections of the CPA exam, you still need to invest a great deal of time to study for it.
The best way to supplement your studies and ensure you don't fall short of a passing grade is to do a ton of practice questions, over 1,000 multiple choice practice questions and answers covering all topics on on the AUD exam.
FAR CPA Exam Study Tips
The FAR CPA Exam section is the "number-crunching" part, and many students struggle with the number of calculations required on this test. In order to move through the test materials as quickly as possible, you need to understand some key concepts. Use these tips to understand the most important FAR topics and pass this section of the CPA exam on your first try!
Accrual Basis Accounting 权责发生制会计
Every FAR test covers the accrual basis method of accounting, which is required by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and this method instructs accountants to use the matching principle. CPAs must match the revenue generated with the expenses incurred to produce the revenue, regardless of the timing of cash inflow and outflows.
Some exam candidates have trouble with the adjusting entries that are required by the accrual method. To keep things straight in your mind, remember that an adjusting entry involves one balance sheet account and one income statement account.
Assume, for example, that you owe $5,000 in wages on December 31st, and that you will process payroll on January 5th of the following year. Accrual accounting requires you to post an entry for the wage expense before the end of the year, so you record this adjusting entry:
Debit wage expense $5,000
Credit accrued wages payable $5,000
(To record wages owed to employees on December 31st)
Here's the entry recorded when payroll is processed:
Debit accrued wages payable $5,000
Credit cash $5,000
(To pay wages owed on December 31st)
Accrual accounting matches the revenue produced in December with the wage expense incurred in December.
Bond Premiums and Discounts 债券溢价及折扣
Accounting for bonds is often poorly explained, particularly if the instructor does not have experience in the financial services industry. Financial professionals have to explain bond premiums and discounts to customers, and answer questions if the explanation is not clear.
Here's the deal:
For starters, bonds are typically issued at a face amount (par amount) of $1,000, or a multiple of $1,000. Since bonds are traded on exchanges, bonds can be bought or sold at different prices. If a bond is purchased at $1,100, the purchase price is a premium (more than par), and a bond purchased at $980 (less than par) is a discount price.
The bond purchased at $1,100 has a $100 premium, and the premium is an additional cost that is reclassified into bond expense over the remaining life of the bond. If the bond matures in 10 years, for example, the annual expense may be ($100 premium / 10 years), or $10 a year.
On the other hand, the bond purchased at $980 has a $20 discount, and the discount is additional income that is reclassified into bond income over the remaining life of the bond. If the bond matures in 10 years, the annual income may be ($20 premium / 10 years), or $2 a year.
A bond premium creates more expense for the buyer, while a discount creates more income for the buyer.
Capital Lease 资本租赁
If a business owner leases a vehicle or a building, the lease can be treated as an operating lease or a capital lease. CPA candidates need to know the specific criteria that must be met for a capital lease.
An operating lease means that no asset is created when the owner enters into the lease agreement. If a business owner leases a car for $400 a month, the lease payments are immediately expensed as incurred.
A capital lease requires the owner to post an asset for the leased item. Using the same $400 car lease, the owner would set up a lease liability account for the required payments and post the leased vehicle as an asset. If any one of these four criteria is true, the lease is treated as a capital lease:
Ownership: The lease transfers ownership of the asset to the lessee (the business leasing the asset) at the end of the lease term.
Bargain purchase option: The lease contains a purchase option that allows the lessee to purchase the leased asset at the price that is less than fair market value.
Lease term: The term of the lease is greater than 75 percent of the asset's useful life.
Present value of payments: The present value of the minimum lease payments is greater than 90 percent of the fair market value of the leased asset.
Keep these rules in mind as you study for the FAR CPA exam section.
Consolidated financial statements are difficult for exam candidates, because the topic is so complex. Creating a set of consolidated financial statements may require dozens of accounting entries, and it may be difficult for you to understand the process.
But here's the kicker:
You can answer consolidation questions if you understand these key points:
"What if" financial statements: Both the parent company and each subsidiary maintain a separate set of financial statements. The consolidation presents the combined financial statements as if all the entities are one combined company, but each business operates separately.
Intercompany transactions: A parent company may have financial transactions with subsidiaries, but the financial impact of those transactions is eliminated in consolidation. Consolidated financial statements only present transactions that are with third party customers and vendors. If a subsidiary sells inventory to the parent for a $5,000 profit, the subsidiary's profit is eliminated in consolidation.
These points should help you understand the consolidation process.
Depreciation Methods 折旧方法
You'll encounter several different types of depreciation questions on the FAR exam, so keep these points in mind:
Total depreciation: The total dollar amount of depreciation is the same, regardless of the depreciation method chosen. If you purchase a $30,000 truck, for example, and assume that the salvage value of the truck is $0, total depreciation expense will be $30,000, regardless of what method you choose.
Timing: The differences in depreciation methods relate to the timing of the expense. An accelerated method, such as double declining balance (DDB), will post more depreciation expense in the early years and less in later years, while the straight-line method records the same amount of expense each year.
Net income: The depreciation method selected will impact net income. An accelerated method will post more depreciation expense in the early years and less net income, and net income will be higher in later years as depreciation expense is reduced.
Want to know the best part?
Since total depreciation is the same using each method, you can check your expense calculations to verify that the asset has been fully depreciated.
Use these tips to check your answers and confirm your understanding of depreciation methods.
Diluted earnings per share (EPS) 摊薄每股收益(EPS)
Earnings per share (EPS) is a key metric used to value a company's common stock, and EPS is defined as (net income available to common shareholders) divided by (weighted average common stock shares outstanding). While this basic definition may be clear to you, many CPA candidates are confused by diluted EPS.
What's the bottom line?
When something is diluted, it is spread out, and diluted EPS means that the same dollar amount of earnings is "spread" over more common stock shares. A business that generates $2.50 of EPS is less valuable than a firm producing $4 of EPS, so dilution can lower the perceived value of a company's stock.
Diluted EPS assumes that any security that can be converted into common stock is converted. If the CEO owns stock options that can be converted into 1,000 shares of common stock, for example, diluted EPS assumes that the 1,000 additional shares are issued to the CEO.
Indirect method of cash flows 间接现金流量法
While most CPA candidates understand the categories in the statement of cash flows (operating, financing, investing), many students are confused by the indirect method of cash flows.
The indirect method is only used for cash flow from operations. This method starts with net income and makes adjustments to arrive at cash flows from operations. To reconcile between net income and cash flow, you remove the non-cash income statement activity. Depreciation expense, for example, is a non-cash expense that is added back in the reconciliation from net income to cash flow.
If you see a question on this topic, remember that you reconcile from net income to cash flows from operations. Think about the income statement transactions that do not involve cash, such as depreciation expense and amortization expense.
Inventory Valuation 库存评估
The FAR exam covers several methods that are used to value inventory, but all methods operate using the same set of assumptions:
Total cost: The total cost of inventory is the same, regardless of the method used to value inventory.
Units purchased and sold: All inventory methods use the same number of units purchased and sold.
Timing of costs: The difference between inventory methods relates to the timing of costs. The first-in, first out (FIFO) method, for example, assumes that the oldest (usually cheapest) units are sold first, and that the more expensive items are sold last. As a result, the FIFO method generates a lower cost of goods sold (for the cheaper units) and a higher value of ending inventory. The last-in, first out (LIFO) method assumes that the newest (usually expensive) units are sold first, which produces a higher cost of goods sold. Eventually, the entire cost of inventory is reclassified into cost of goods sold, and that process is true for each inventory valuation method.
Net Present Value 净现值
Present value is used to analyze the cash inflows and outflows generated by a particular asset or company project. If you purchase a machine for $20,000, for example, and new machine may be able to produce more units and increase profits.
It gets better:
As an accountant, you can measure the annual increase in profits generated by the machine.
Say, for example, that the machine increases profits by $6,000 a year for 10 years. You assume 5% interest rate and discount the payments by the 5% rate to calculate the present value of each payment. The present value of the $6,000 in annual cash inflows is ($6,000 X 7.722), or $46,332. The present value of the cash inflows and outflows is ($46,332 – $20,000), or $26,332.
Net present value is defined as the interest rate (or discount rate) that would produce a $0 value when the cash inflows and outflows are added.
比如说，这台机器10年的利润每年增加6,000美元。 您假设5%的利率并按5%的利率对付款进行贴现以计算每笔付款的现值。 年度现金流入6,000美元的现值为(6,000美元×7.722)，即46,332美元。 现金流入和流出的现值为(46,332美元至20,000美元)，即26,332美元。
There are two basic types of pensions, and understanding the differences can really help you answer pension questions.
Defined Benefit Plan A defined benefit plan requires the employer to pay a specific dollar amount of pension benefit to a worker. If the earnings on the invested dollars are not enough to make the payments, the company is liable for any remaining balance.
Defined Contribution Plan A defined contribution plan, on the other hand, requires the employer to contribute a certain dollar amount into the pension plan. In this case, the company is not liable for a specific pension payment. The pension payment is based on the earnings generated by the investments, and the employer has no further liability to make additional payments.
When you read a question about pensions, be sure to remember these two definitions.
确定的福利计划 固定福利计划要求雇主向工人支付特定金额的养老金福利金。 如果投资资金的收益不足以支付，公司将对任何余额负责。
定义的贡献计划 另一方面，固定缴款计划要求雇主向养老金计划缴纳一定的金额。 在这种情况下，公司不对特定的养老金支付负责。 养老金支付基于投资产生的收入，雇主不再承担额外付款的责任。
Subsequent Event 后续事件
Definition: A subsequent event is a transaction or event that occurs after the balance sheet date but before the financial statements are issued. Typically, a business does not issue financial statements until a several weeks or even months after the end of the fiscal year. During that time, the accounting department prepares the financial statements, and an audit firm may also perform work.
A type 1 event existed on or before the financial date, and type 1 events may require an adjustment to the financial statements. Assume, for example, that your firm was involved in a legal matter that was unresolved as of December 31st, your balance sheet date. If the case is settled on January 10th of the following year, you may need to post an adjusting entry for the dollar amount of the settlement.
You may also see type 2 events on the test, which are events that did not exist as of the balance sheet date, but existed before the financial statements are issued. A type 2 event may require footnote disclosure, but no adjusting entry is required.
Stay on Track and Pass The FAR CPA Exam 保持跟踪并通过财务报告CPA考试
The FAR section of the CPA exam can require hundreds of hours of study time, and this section of the CPA exam is historically the most difficult (lowest pass rates). Use these tips to stay on track as you study for FAR. If you understand these heavily tested concepts, you are much more likely to pass FAR.
The best way to supplement your FAR exam studies and ensure you don't fail is to do a ton of practice questions, over 1,000 multiple choice questions covering all topics on on the exam.
注册会计师考试的财务报告部分可能需要数百小时的学习时间，而CPA考试的这一部分在历史上是最困难的(最低通过率)。 在学习财务报告时，请使用这些提示保持正常。 如果您了解这些经过严格测试的概念，则更有可能通过财务报告。