February 15, 2018 at 10:42 pm #1714351
Question for current CPA's: how much of this FAR and other material you actually do that's not related to income tax (e.g. consolidations, hedging, and currency translations)? I'm not really into income tax, but if most work boils down to tax at CPA firms, then I may need to re-consider this whole exam thing.February 16, 2018 at 5:54 am #1714382Me.Participant
I work as an auditor in State Government. FAR knowledge is helpful for auditing. Without a CPA promotions are limited. There are plenty of jobs in Government that require a CPA. The CPA gave me an immediate 5% raise and my next promotion will be 10% on top of that and that will be by summer. Where my coworkers without a CPA are at about where I am salary wise and have been here several years longer than I have. Plus it opens up a multitude of options I didn't have prior to passing. So it is not just for Public Accounting.February 16, 2018 at 7:58 am #1714412TimParticipant
Not a CPA yet, myself, but I'l chime in. The FAR material (along with all the other sections) is very relevant if you work in private at a higher level (senior management, controller, CFO). And like Me said the CPA opens a lot of doors and accelerates your career.February 16, 2018 at 8:14 am #1714415Go.For.BrokeParticipant
@Lemon I work as an assistant controller at a small/mid-size company (industry (used to work in public as an auditor)), and the material I studied for the exams helped me a lot – especially FAR. When I'm in a position to correct an error on the books, I have to think through what – for instance- the Journal Entry would be, and how it would affect the P&L or the B/S. I had to think through these things when studying for and taking the CPA exam, and so I think it was a good way to re-ignite my critical thinking. There was a 6 year gap between me graduating college (with a degree in Accounting) and sitting for the CPA exam, so I certainly needed to re-learn a lot of material in order to be successful in my career. You can re-learn this material other ways than taking the exam, but why not go ahead and learn it while obtaining CPA credentialing, which will boost your marketability?
Hope this is helpful!February 16, 2018 at 11:49 am #1714589MissyParticipant
I'm a CPA who never worked a day in public. I am a finance manager at a small us office for a UK based manufacturer and do everything from reporting, to analysis, to budgeting (and paying the bills, managing commissions to distributors, emptying the garbage, whatever.) Due to a restructuring of the company I will be the Financial Controller of a company 3x the size in about 6 weeks when I relocate to NY.February 16, 2018 at 12:29 pm #1714610Ne’OParticipant
Like Missy, I'm not in public practice.
I've been a senior trader / portfolio manager for decades. I've been taking over more of the CFO's role, though may totally leave in a year or two.
Yes, much of the FAR and BEC tax related stuff is relevant.
-Missy, for the record, I've often appreciated your continued participation in this forum.
Now a CPA myself, I will try and follow your example.February 16, 2018 at 3:46 pm #1714708DemhaParticipant
Yes, I too want to thank Missy for all of her insightful posts/replies.
Thank you!February 16, 2018 at 5:39 pm #1714775
Wow, thank you all so much! I appreciate your input.
I've been in ‘low and discouraged' phasee for the past few days and I simply can't figure out why my Wiley practice exams and real exams stay at 50's score. I really like this material and I get it, it makes sense to me. But, when I do these practice tests, as if they are ‘disconnected' from the videos or text. For example, they stress one thing and test another so you think you are focusing on important point, and they go with MCQ that has no connection to all important points. I failed two FAR's and I'm thinking is it me or it's maybe that I'm not matched to the right course? I am super disciplined, have no problem focusing on this stuff, but studying from book alone gave me higher score than these video lessons and practice tests, I just can't seem to learn from MCQ's! I don't get it, I guess it puts me even more down when I get wrong answer.
Anyway, I know I make it sound worse than it is, but I have so much more respect for CPA's after I started studying for it. I really do! It takes discipline, quick thinking, and attention to detail and I seem to be having only one (discipline) out of three and it's just not enough:-(
Anyway, sorry, it's Friday night and I have to go study and needed to vent:-(February 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm #1715018
LOL @ the people who call themselves CPAs and have never worked in public..YOU ARE NOT CPAS!!! HATE TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE.
As Far as FAR goes and anything else on the exam in the world of public accounting is the answer is …IT DEPENDS
Most of FAR you will not use for non public companies, the overwhelming majority of companies are LLC's and S-Corps that report under cash basis and only want Comps done..when you get into 990 clients they will need small non complex audits..The bigger corps you'll need it but 50 percent of FAR youll never use.
For Far you need to know Accounting..AJE's All the stuff pretty much through Intermediate 1 and the first part of Int 2.
Software calculates most things but you need to understand in order to make adjustments and double check things that they are accurate, and well for Auditing clients obviously verify the accuracy.
I'm a Sr CPA in Downtown Chicago.
You have 3 paths you can take in public, Tax, Audit and Staff work.
Tax at mid size firms is all tax compliance and plannings
Audit is comps, reviews and audits of all entities and benefit plans etc
Staff is a mixture of both.
Being you scored a 59 and have to ask the question about CPA firms tax work, I'd say find a new career, not to be mean but people like you are the reason Firms are Nazis on hiring entry level staff and hold down the pay for people who bust there asses. Why would you want to pursue a career you do not like? AS well as devote in your case probably 3+ years to passing a test.February 17, 2018 at 2:57 pm #1715020BourneParticipant
Lol Adam you've gotta be joking about your first sentence…….February 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm #1715158
🙂February 17, 2018 at 6:05 pm #1715186MissyParticipant
It's cool Adam you're entitled to your opinion. My state board says otherwise.February 17, 2018 at 9:34 pm #1715291jbergmann1Participant
Adam is right, face the facts Missy. But he is wrong in that there are so many combinations of tax, audit and staff. At my last job I was a “Senior Tax Accountant” but did no tax planning. Small firm; they weren't into planning. Go figure. I did do comps two plans for biz sales, etcFebruary 17, 2018 at 10:47 pm #1715299
Not joking at all. If you've ever worked on an audit, you can tell the CFO's and officers who worked in public accounting vs ones that did not.
And Very True I was speaking specifically of small to mid size firms, but yes you have all types of specialty paths out there..
Gov audits, Esop and 401k plan audits, 990's etc etc..
Salt tax, every industry specialize ion, sales tax, transfer pricing, international.. etc etc..February 17, 2018 at 10:49 pm #1715300
And no Missy your state board does not say otherwise, You are a NON-REPORTING CPA meaning you are not allowed to sign off on an AUDIT, therefore you are not a CPA!! Stick to HR and boosting your ego by giving 20's year olds pep talks on here.
But Hate to burst your bubble of delusions of Granjur.
To the OP I'm not trying to be a jerk, finance is incredibly brutal, and if you are incompetent or slow or not a top performer you will be fired, and will never see it coming.February 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm #1715302Sir IvalisParticipant
I'm in big 4 tax. What I can and can't do in my job was not impacted at all by any knowledge learned from studying for the CPA exam. For me, and I imagine for a lot of people in public, it's a lot more about upward mobility. For example, at any firm with a hierarchy similar to ours, you simply must be licensed (CPA/Attorney/EA) to make manager. I imagine job opportunities are more plentiful with those initials as well, and they remain so when you want to make that lateral move one day.
Regarding your discouragement with the exam, if you go and dig up one of my first posts, you will see that I started out scoring in the 20s on FAR. I was not an accounting undergrad and pretty much had to grind out Becker, some Roger, and some Ninja materials to understand the material enough to pass. It's tough work, but it can be done.February 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm #1715315
Thank you Sir Ivalis,
I appreciate positive thoughts. I think everyone added valuable input, thanks.
I think you all had good points.
Adam, I'm not a new college grad, I got my masters over 17 years ago and my job is too specialized so the reason I wanted CPA is to learn more and ‘broaden' my base. My employer doesn't pay for my CPA or cares if I have it because I don't need it. I have certification for my field. Getting CPA won't get me more money or promotion. This is just for me, believe it or not. Call me crazy but I truly enjoy some topics and I find all this number crunching in FAR interesting, it's just – I had to start all over with debits and credits, literally.
Another reason I started it is, I have 20+ years to work until retirement and CPA seems to provide a lot of options, companies merge and acquire left and right, it seems to be good ‘backup' plan for many different jobs in various industries.February 18, 2018 at 12:27 am #1715318jenpenParticipant
I currently work for a small CPA firm, and I’ve been there for almost 4 years. Just finally completed the exam and I’m waiting for my license. To answer your question and to echo a few other comments I saw, it really depends on where you land. A lot of the exam wasn’t relevant to my current position. We do a little of everything, but my day to day consists of a lot of payroll and bookkeeping. I want to specialize in tax, so right now it’s like Christmas for me. I’m looking to move to a larger firm to focus in more, but I won’t make any moves for a few more months. I do audits and reviews, also, but they are not something I enjoy. We do some planning for people throughout the year, but my boss handles most of that. If you don’t want to do tax as a career, there are certainly plenty of positions in public that don’t work on that side. Just suffer through the exams and learn what you can. There’s no telling what knowledge you’ll need in the future. Good luck!February 18, 2018 at 7:39 am #1715338TimParticipant
“But Hate to burst your bubble of delusions of Granjur.” Only person with that here is you. And it's grandeur.February 18, 2018 at 7:47 am #1715344BourneParticipant
A non-reporting CPA is pretty self explanatory, still a CPA. I'm not disagreeing that it's great to have public experience, but to say a CPA isn't a CPA just because they do not have public experience is incorrect. They're still considered a CPA lol having public experience is not a requirement for the license.
I have about a year public experience, but now work directly under the CFO at a real estate investment firm in NYC and you can tell he used to work in public, not disagreeing with you. However, if you have a great mentor/boss to show you the ropes, you are definitely at an advantage and having no public experience but still being a CPA will not hurt your opportunities within a firm.
Don't base your expectations off of what people say on this forum. Take the advice, see what you can do with it, but realize that no one path is the exact same. You can get to the top with a variety of roles but the key is – find a great mentor to learn from.February 18, 2018 at 9:13 am #1715374
Good morning everyone,
Thank you. Bourne and Jennifer, you tied it up pretty nicely, it totally makes sense.
I didn't want to cause tension in this forum by having discussion on public vs non-public, I think we all work hard and we use different skill set.
Enjoy your day everyone.
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