There are millions of reasons that people go into the financial services. Job opportunities in this field abound, and careers in finance can promise stable employment and high compensation rates, especially when compared to other industries. Those that go into accounting are a certain breed: great with numbers, possessing fantastic analytical skills, and determined beyond belief. When it comes to career advancement, many accountants set their sights on the prestigious CPA distinction. Becoming a certified public accountant isn’t only a title of prestige, however; this allows accountants to practice their services publicly and fetch much higher wages—many find themselves drawing in six figures after pursuing and receiving their designation. In fact, CPAs on average make about 27 percent more than their non-certified counterparts. Plus, this career offers a measure of stability you may not find anywhere else; a simple look at CPA jobs at SearchAccountingJobs.com can show you the opportunity that awaits. However, the path to this designation is anything but simple. Candidates must fulfill a variety of requirements, the toughest of which being the CPA Exam. This 14-hour test questions candidates on a vast array of accounting knowledge, and consists of four parts.
Don’t Tell Everyone You Know
For many accounting professionals, finally deciding to sit for the CPA exam is exciting, and a milestone of sorts in their career. However, it’s important not to get caught up in the excitement and tell all of your family and friends that you’re preparing for the test. Why? While their support is probably more than welcome, the expectations this brings will also add more pressure to an already stressful situation. It’s not easy to pass the various portions of this test, and if you find yourself failing the first time around, know that you’re in good company. However, the well-meaning family members and friends that ask about your results may serve to discourage you. When taking the CPA exam for the first time, keep it to yourself, or tell only a select person or two. This will help you avoid adding more stress to the situation, and save you the breath (and frustration) of explaining if you don’t pass on your first go around.
Purchasing Study Materials
Walking into the CPA Exam blind is almost insuring failure, so it’s important to glean everything you can from every resource available. There are numerous review courses that you can take online in your own time or attend in person. Check out a company like Beat the CPA — they offer study materials that include everything from guides to mock exams. You can even find audio guides that you can listen to as you run errands, do laundry, or work out. When purchasing these study materials, make sure you do so with plenty of time. Most find they need several months to fully prepare, and the review courses can be just as rigorous themselves. Taking a mock exam is going to be the best study tactic you can employ. Get up, drive to a local library, and set a timer. Try to act as if the mock exam is the actual test. This will help you schedule your time and give you an accurate idea of what you can expect on the big day.
Drawing on the Experiences of Others
Most candidates find they must retake certain parts of the exam, sometimes three or more times. If you’re in this faction, you’re not alone. Everyone learns different things from their first go around with the CPA exam, and you can use this to your advantage. Drawing on the experiences of others can help you better prepare for the test. Join an online accounting forum and ask any burning questions you might have, or take it a step further and start a study group where you can meet up, study together, and talk about certain portions of the test people may struggle with.
Passing the CPA Exam means opening yourself up to a vibrant career filled with employment opportunities. If you’re looking to take the next step in your accounting career, keep these study tips in mind and pass the CPA exam with flying colors.