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     The uniform CPA exam is regarded as one of the most difficult professional exams, with a passing rate around 50% for all of the sections. However, attaining a CPA license will give you many opportunities in your career. The requirements for the CPA license vary by state, but they all include education (150 credit hours with basically a major in accounting), examination (it is the same exam for all states), and experience (1-2 years). You need the education (or at least a couple of months away from getting it) to sit for the exam, but you do not need the experience portion to sit for the exam. The sections of the CPA are: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Audit (AUD), Regulation (REG), and Business and Economic Concepts (BEC). Thankfully there are many CPA review courses that will be extremely helpful to you as you prepare. Becker is the standard in the industry (the one I used), but it also the most expensive ($3,400). There are a lot of similarities in... read more

In Accounting there are plenty of formulas, theories, and equations, but by far the most important is the following: Assets = Liabilities + Equity First, I will describe in layman’s terms the three variables within the equation above. An asset is a resource that will be used to operate a business (e.g. inventory, plant, machinery). A liability is a creditors right to the resources within the business (e.g. loan, accounts payable). Equity is the owner’s interest in the business (e.g. stock, retained earnings). Home ownership is an easy way to understand the relationship between the three variables. The house itself is an asset because it can be used to generate revenue from rent or a business can be ran within the home (e.g. daycare, tax preparation). The mortgage on the home is a liability because a mortgage is a loan from a bank. The home is collateral for the loan, so if the owner cannot pay back the loan the bank will be able to take ownership of the... read more

I’ve been asked many times, “what is the best learning tool that an accounting student has in their arsenal”. When I’ve proposed this question to other modern accountants, they generally list out the programs they utilize most, Quicken, Excel, or the Intuit program du jour; all are cited as the best learning tools for the future accountant. My own response to this question may surprise anyone that has become an accountant post-1995, but would not shock the pre-computer group. While I am a member of the older crowd (by age), I am a new accountant in that I was not accounting professionally prior to 2000. So what tool is most important to me? What one piece of equipment is in my arsenal and is the most dangerous weapon in the accounting world? An abacus? Though I can use one and suggest everyone learn, not the most important tool. A Burroughs Sensitronic with magnetic tape to store ledger cards? Close, but again no. What, what, what apparatus is so important?          ... read more

As accountants how do we teach the young/new learners coming into our field the evils of unethical behavior? You would believe that the recent examples of Bernie Madoff and the Enron executives are the best cautionary tales to someone making the choice between fraud and honesty, but the reality is different. Most swindlers never consider themselves criminals and many perpetrators of fraudulent acts start small, as did Madoff, and justify their actions through rationalizations. Over time the deceit grows to a size that the criminal can no longer hide. Enron did not start out with the hundreds of Special Purpose Entities (SPE’s) they collapsed under; they began with one and grew. Scholars have dedicated vast amounts of time trying to answer my initial question. Colleges offer courses in business and accounting ethics in an attempt to keep new entrants into the white collar world ethical, yet the problem of business fraud continues to grow. Perhaps it is not the education that is failing,... read more

Make your New Year's Resolution to increase your study habits.  That might include a qualified tutor who can help you get through the land mines of unfamiliar territory.  I taught accounting for 22 years at college level and would be glad to work with you during the spring semester.  My specialties are the first two accounting courses, managerial accounting, and cost accounting.    My goal is to recruit students who truly want to learn the subject matter, then to assist those students in achieving the highest possible grade in the class.    Please be a serious student; some have expected me to do their homework for them, but that is not what an outstanding tutor does.  I will help you walk through difficult problems and reach their solutions.  I will help you navigate but I won't drive the bus.    I enjoy working with community college students and four year school students.  My rates are reasonable... read more

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