I happened to bump into a person that was eek!! studying for the CPA exam in a public place this afternoon. I couldn’t help but ask a few questions, and the person showed me the website that they were using to study for the exam. Holy hell…..some things about the exam seem to be the same, but others are so radically different it would stun you. Besides outlines, notes, and flash cards now they have MCQs which are multiple choice samples which are licensed from AICPA. So I went over to the AICPA website to check out what they had to offer and guess what: they still aren’t aware that some of us actually use Macs….but for those of you that would feel more comfortable, Windows XP is still an acceptable choice. Let’s not dwell on that back to the site I was looking at its called www.another71.com/ [I have absolutely no relationship to or affiliation for the site, this is not a plug for it, though I did think it was pretty amazing.
Due to being stuck where I was [at the hospital again] I spent a couple of hours, yea you guessed it, trying the exams questions to see how much easier the exam must have become since I took it in May 1982. If you believe that,,,,repeat after me, BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT. My sense is that the scope of what is covered on the exam has increased by 400% both in terms of accounting topics, and other things a candidate has to know. If you aren’t comfortable with technology…good news …you are screwed. AICPA seems to have done a really good job of updating the exam to make its topical coverage relevant to the changes that have affected professional practice.
It was actually very satisfying to see that just sitting down cold, over roughly 450 questions with a sampling of each section, my results track scoring in the mid-80’s on all four parts, NOT THAT I would ever wish to have to sit through the CPA exam again.
What I will share is that I have taken an number of certification exams for software over the last couple of weeks including Xero Accounting and Payroll and WorkflowMAX. One thing is very clear, the software certification exams are a walk in the park relative to a real exam. It really reminds me that the emphasis needs to remain on being able to ascertain if the person you might hire is actually capable of thinking on their own and deploying rigorous inductive thought process to arrive and a conclusion where the answer isn’t SALY. If you aren’t familiar with SALY you need to ask an old CPA….and while you are at it, you might ask them if they know what “paper assholes” are.
I can’t believe it has been 34 years since I sat for the exam. But, that is perhaps the best part of this, I have lost all memory of how miserable I was studying for the exam, and I have this guy hanging on the wall in my office.