Posted July 1, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: Frugal Living

Many people say that FAR is the most difficult section of the CPA exam. For me – whose academic focus has been financial reporting and assurance – that was not the case. I walked out of FAR feeling like I had passed it. And, thankfully, I had.

But when I walked out of REG today, I had no such feeling. Not even close. I mean, I may have passed, but if I did, it won’t have been with flying colors. Not even close.

That’s okay, though! All I need is a 75! Come on 75! Big money, big money, big money . . . (apparently, in my mind, it’s a lot like gambling, which, btw, is includable in gross income while gambling losses are only deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction up to the amount of the winnings, but I digress).

The one thing I feel comforted by, having just begun studying for BEC today, is that there seems to be some overlap of the things I studied for REG on BEC. And like I always say, any overlap is good overlap.

I’d complain about the long wait time for my REG score, but considering all the other things I have going on (selling my house, finding a new apartment, finishing classes, studying for BEC and then AUD, etc.), I probably won’t worry about it too much. If I have to retake the beast, I’ll retake it.

[My actual inner dialogue? “Please, oh please, be a 75! Don’t make me take the beast known as REG again!”]


I Passed FAR!!!

Posted June 25, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: Frugal Living

Couldn’t be happier about it!

REG has me worried, though, and I’m taking it in 6 days! No time for worries — back to the books and practice problems I go.

Wish me luck!

FAR Down, AUD, REG, and BEC to Go!

Posted June 11, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: Frugal Living

At least I hope so. I don’t actually get the FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting) results for something like a month, which seems like quite a long time to me. But that’s not as long as CFA takers have to wait (more like three months, so I’m told) for their results, so I won’t complain.

I’m not supposed to say anything about the test content, but I can say it didn’t seem incredibly difficult. I studied quite a bit, went through all of the Becker Review materials, memorized the flash cards, and did a healthy portion of the practice problems – many of them multiple times. So I felt prepared, went in there swinging, and came out feeling like I passed. We’ll see relatively soon if that truly was the case.

In the meantime, I’m taking my last few classes before graduating, and I’m also studying for REG, which is a bit shorter than FAR, and not quite as all-encompassing. Then again, it has a bunch of regulatory material that I’m less familiar with since I’ve only taken one business law class back in the day. Fortunately, Becker has come to my aid again by organizing and presenting the material in an easy-to-digest format. I promise I’m not a Becker marketing guy, I’m just really grateful to have review materials to guide my studies and make my review more effective and focused. Plus, you can’t beat FREE stuff. Many thanks to my future Big Four employer for footing the bill.

There is one thing I’ll mention about studying: It’s often difficult for me to stay focused and to keep pushing through review materials. After a few hours of studying (sometimes after only an hour), I get tired of it and want to stop and do other things. But I take courage in knowing that passing all four of the exam sections this summer will be a huge blessing to my future self’s life, and I’ll kick myself if I don’t take full advantage of the time I have now to prepare thoroughly for each section. I doubt I’ll ever have as much “free time” to study like this, and I know I won’t feel like studying after long days at work in the future.

So now is the time to push through the material and pass these exams (I’ll watch the 5th DVD lecture for REG as soon as I publish this post). Best wishes to any others out there studying! Here’s an excerpt from CPAreviewforFREE that strongly resonated with me (I like to dream, but I also recognize that real work is what accomplishes goals and makes dreams come true):

“There is something exciting about planning to win. There is something stimulating about envisioning the winning score and the glory of being the champion. However, at some point, you have to switch over from dreams to reality. That usually means doing some hard work and doing it on a very consistent basis.

Dreams are fun. Hard work can be tedious.
Dreams feel good. Hard work can be very uncomfortable.
Dreams can get you excited. Hard work is best done at a slow and meticulous pace.

But, dreams alone GET YOU NOTHING.

I love dreams and I always encourage everyone to dream. At some point, though, dreams can be addictive and lead to nothing. You have to break through and push yourself to actually achieve success.”

What? I’m Not Special?

Posted April 8, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: CPA Exam Prep and Progress

I’m still waiting to get my notice to schedule to be able to schedule my CPA exams. For some reason I thought it would be a quick turnaround time despite the 6-week expectation set by the NASBA website. I guess I’m not special after all.

I have a friend who just finished passing all four sections of the exam. I’m very happy for him. I want to be him. At least to the extent that I’d have already passed the exams. He told me that the CPA exam (as a whole) is not as difficult as the GMAT. I found that interesting because the CPA exam requires you to know much more specific, detailed information. It’s also encouraging.

In looking over the review books (I almost wrote “reviewing the review books” but decided against it), I noticed that studying for the exam is going to be a lot like just reviewing everything I’ve learned as an accounting student. The books are laid out as outlines of all of the most fundamental (and sometimes advanced) accounting information under each topic matter. Interestingly, I actually look forward to reviewing most of what I’ve learned. It’ll be a nice way to kind of top off my educational experience and have everything at the forefront of my mind when I start work as a Big Four associate.

My study program begins next Monday (the Becker software helped me set up a strict study schedule based on my proposed exam dates). For now, I’m purposefully limiting my blog posts to CPA exam-related material to avoid it becoming a distraction. Once I finish my last exam I’ll continue blogging about all kinds of things.

As far as current major career and educational goals go, finishing my grad program and studying for the CPA exam are it.

Waiting for My NTS

Posted March 20, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: CPA Exam Prep and Progress

Last week I sent off my CPA exam application, and now I’m waiting (the estimate is not longer than 6 weeks) to receive my NTS (Notice to Schedule), which will allow me to schedule the four parts of the exam.

I’m planning to do Financial at the end of May, Audit at the beginning of July (every third month is an off month when nobody can take any of the CPA exam sections), Business and Economic Concepts toward the end of July, and Regulation mid-August.

I’ll be taking a few last classes over the summer, too, so I’ll be one busy studier. But from what everybody tells me, it’s definitely worth getting the CPA exam finished before you start working full time.

I’ve cracked open my Becker review materials and have been impressed by the content, the organization, and the way it’s very much catered to helping people develop and stick to their own self study program. That’ll be the key for me – sticking to a well-developed self-study program, even when I’m starting to feel burned out.

Monday marks the beginning of my self-study program. Wish me luck!

Just 30%

Posted March 4, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: Frugal Living

If you were to put $1 in an investment with a 100% return on your money each period, how many periods would it take for that $1 to become $1 million?

Period  $             1
1  $             2
2  $             4
3  $             8
4  $           16
5  $           32
6  $           64
7  $         128
8  $         256
9  $         512
10  $      1,024
11  $      2,048
12  $      4,096
13  $      8,192
14  $     16,384
15  $     32,768
16  $     65,536
17  $   131,072
18  $   262,144
19  $   524,288
20  $1,048,576

Now, let’s tax those returns by 30% every year. How much of a difference would that make by the end of the twentieth period?

Period  $             1
1  $             2
2  $             3
3  $             5
4  $             8
5  $           14
6  $           24
7  $           41
8  $           70
9  $         119
10  $         202
11  $         343
12  $         583
13  $         990
14  $      1,684
15  $      2,862
16  $      4,866
17  $      8,272
18  $     14,063
19  $     23,907
20  $     40,642


I found that to be an interesting comparison.*


*I’m not making a political statement of any sort, but since you asked, I admit that the money-loving side of me is feeling rather ill at the moment.

Less Can Be More, Right?

Posted March 2, 2009 by frugalcpa
Categories: Frugal Living

Since I joined the blogging community one month ago, I’ve been observing the various styles of blogging and trying to decide what my approach should be. I’ve decided that I can best contribute to the blogosphere by posting and commenting when I really have something worthwhile to say, not just for the sake of posting itself.

That said, I recognize that it takes effort to come up with good content, and so my plan is not to just wait until ideas hit me, but rather to actively seek interesting post ideas and then spend sufficient energy to produce posts that I can read later and be at least marginally happy with.

From now on, I won’t try to post every day or even every other day. I’ll post when I’ve had a chance to write something worthwhile. That’ll give me more time to study for school, to study for the CPA exam, and to comment on your posts.

In other words, I have more exams this week. Fun times!