It seems like after all these years together, we've answered just about every question possible. Plus, with the addition of Open Items, you can now post your questions directly and have them answered immediately by the GC faithful versus sitting in our inboxes for however long it takes for us to get around to it. […]
Big news in the CPA exam world today: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a global provider of content and workflow solutions supporting research; professional development; and education, announced today that it has acquired Efficient Learning Systems (ELS), Inc, an e-learning system provider in areas like professional finance and accounting, for $24 million. For the fiscal […]
Finally, a reader question. I've been so hard up for emails from you guys that I've actually considered trolling myself. If you have a CPA exam question, please (and I mean PLEASE) hit me up. Dear Adrienne, I am an avid reader on hiatus while imprisoned for crimes against God and man (taking the CPA). […]
If there was no Newt Becker, I probably wouldn't be a CPA (inactive) and neither would you and GOD KNOWS we wouldn't have had the pleasure of knowing the sound of Peter Olinto's voice. From Brian Tankersley, a Becker instructor, at CPA Technology Blog, is the email sent by Becker Professional Education President John Roselli: […]
This comes via Yahoo Answers: How to start a CPA exam review company? I have some spare money on my hand, and I would like to start a CPA(certified public accountant) exam review company. Can someone give me some advises about the procedures, or anything that would help me get started. How would I distribute […]
With GE slowly but surely shipping most of its important business over to the People’s Republic of China, this could work out to be quite the lucrative deal for the folks at Becker.
Becker Professional Education announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with GE China to provide, through its licensee in the People’s Republic of China, its complete, four part CPA Exam Review course to GE employees in the People’s Republic of China. Becker will also be providing extensive assistance with the CPA Exam application process to GE China employees.
“This partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for Becker to expand our leading international position with a strong partner in GE China,” said Matt Kinnich, Vice President, International and Business Development of Becker Professional Education. “We will be able to help a great number of GE China employees achieve their career goals through our quality course offerings.”
What this means, in simpler terms, is that some guys in China will be authorized to teach out of Becker books, likely using Becker’s own “lesson plan” text which all Becker instructors receive to teach from. I wonder if they’ll edit out some of the written-in jokes to translate for a Chinese audience?
Becker already offers live courses in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
I Pass the CPA Exam was asked if a $799 “Becker” program being sold online could possibly be legit. After asking the owner of the site peddling the stuff, Stephanie asks Becker directly if they allow affiliates to sell their product wholesale to other retailers so they, in turn, can cut the price. Something about this just doesn’t seem right, why would Becker want to get ripped off on its own product, which it routinely sells for $3,000 (give or take)?
When in doubt, maybe you should ask the review course:
I continue my due diligence and ask Becker directly whether the serial number from CPApassmaster would indeed verifiable at their site. This is their answer:
“The only legal site for Becker material is www.becker.com.”
Well, I would appreciate if Becker can just be a little bit more helpful in terms of explaining this further, but knowing how Becker is (big and institutionalized with little “real” customer service), this is probably the best we can get.
Then, I heard from industry sources that in fact Becker is trying to stop this offering via an injunction, and supposedly Becker can render all their materials with serial number from this reseller unverifiable if / when they are allowed to do that.
Interesting. I agree with Stephanie’s assessment that whoever she spoke to at Becker is probably just some hack in a headset who barely knows what the CPA exam is, let alone is high up enough to actually comment on their policies.
It would be interesting to hear this directly from, say, a Becker high up. Hint, hint. Perhaps a qualified Becker manager would like to get in touch and clear the air.
UPDATE: Becker spokesperson Molly Tarantino wrote me last night to clarify Becker’s policy on unauthorized dealers. Please consider her comments before going for a cheap review course that is NOT offered directly from the company:
Becker Professional Education does not support materials purchased through unauthorized dealers. Only materials received directly from us are guaranteed to be authentic. Unauthorized dealers, such as CPAPassmaster, are either in violation of their license with Becker or selling counterfeit materials. Counterfeiting is illegal and purchasing counterfeit products supports this illegal activity. This type of activity is especially troubling since it is occurring within a profession whose foundation has always been and always will be based on ethics and integrity.
Side note: I’ve never seen anyone use double periods in a sentence like this..So it goes without saying that the following has been edited and please, don’t do that on BEC. Here’s a tip: if you are looking for more written communication practice, try it on lazy, F-bomb-obsessed bloggers or even in emails to your mom. That’s all the AICPA is looking for; you don’t even have to be correct, just on topic. They make up 15% of your BEC score so get in the habit of pretending like random communications are being graded by a machine. It’s an undervalued commodity in your professional l ubmission from the mailbag was close to correct (a beginning, a middle and an end, somewhat on topic) but needed a little work to be aesthetically pleasing to the CPA exam robots. Working on our emails would be a good supplement to whatever CPA review materials you bought, and I don’t say that to be mean.
I am just about to begin the grueling process of the CPA exam..
I have been debating whether to take BEC or FAR first before starting work in July. Because I have more time to study now than I will for future tests I want to take the hardest one first. For me I feel like this will be BEC because this seems like it has the most new material and I did pretty well in Intermediate accounting. However it sounds like no matter how much studying some people do, they just can’t get prepared for BEC because it has recently changed. Should I just play it safe and use all this time I have to get prepared for FAR or should I take a shot at BEC?
Also, my firm only supplies me with Gleim self study books. Have people done alright on BEC with just these? How should I supplement these?
Already freaking out
First, stop freaking out. You haven’t even started yet. Start and then let me know if you are still freaking out. You might like it. Get words like “grueling” out of your head now but you’re more than welcome to pull it out later if your experience proves to be exactly that. Until then, try to stay neutral on how much of pain the next 6 months – 2+ years of your life will be.
Second, we’ve discussed CPA review plenty, you can check the CPAnet forums for comments from actual review students who are taking whatever you bought or are looking at buying and any combination thereof. My experience has been that BEC is pretty hit or miss and that no review course covers it in as thorough detail as FAR, AUD or REG. That doesn’t mean they don’t do that section well, it just means I tend to hear the most complaints across the board regarding various review courses’ inability to truly cover BEC.
Don’t blame that on the new exam; that complaint goes back several years. It isn’t fair to compare the last version of computerized testing (CBT 2004 – 2010) to this one (CBT-e) as they are different exams, it’s too early to judge whether review courses and candidates promptly catch up to the new material, along with the AICPA. They have been clear about this being an improving work in progress for 2011, therefore it would be equally unfair to make a call at this time. Don’t say everything is “because of the change” as if you’re a Boy Scout with a flashlight under your face trying to scare everyone around the campfire. Was it this bad when the exam went from paper and pencil to blips on a screen and digital fingerprints?
Third, don’t get high on study drugs while studying for BEC or you might really be freaking out.
I always tell candidates to start with the section that will be hardest for you as that’s when your 18 month timeframe begins so your plan sounds good. If you bomb a section a few times, the clock isn’t ticking. Of course, this also leads to procrastination if you continuously bomb, which is an entirely different problem. Not to make you freak out.
As anybody who has done even remedial research on CPA review materials knows, exam prep doesn’t come cheap. The major review programs run from $1,500 to $3,000, and usually come with access limits anywhere from 9 months to a year. The larger review courses don’t guarantee a pass and often include hidden fees for administrative costs (what is that, anyway?), so-called free repeats and updates to books. There’s no doubt that CPA review is a big business, and you can trust me on that because I used to be in it.
That being said, CPA review doesn’t have to cost you a metric shitton of cash you don’t have. Here are a few ways to save some money if you’re not one of the lucky few getting your course paid for by either your employ ent parents.
Look for discount codes – CPAnet often has discount codes posted on CPA Exam Club, whether you are looking for cram courses, a full review or just Wiley materials. Check out their discount page for more details.
Avoid supplemental products like flash cards – Flash cards are an easy way for review courses to make a few extra bucks. Save the $100 or more dollars, buy a $2 pack of index cards and make your own. You’ll learn more that way and have more money your pocket when all’s said and done, which you might need if you end up having to retake any exam parts.
Call or email the review course to ask about discounts – They’ll probably tell you no and try to sell you into their bundle CPA review/masters program for $125,000 but hey, can’t hurt, right? Like any other business, CPA review programs sometimes run special deals so pick up the phone and ask.
Order through someone other than the review course – CPA Review Materials sells verified products at a discount and includes free shipping on orders over $400 – something you can’t get if you buy from the review course directly. As a trusted vendor, you know you’re getting what you’re paying for since the site deals directly with the review courses to provide products to candidates. But this brings us to our next point which is…
Do NOT buy from unsavory sellers – When you buy second-hand CPA review materials through eBay or Craigslist-type sites, remember you are taking a risk that the “book” you think you are buying is really just a photocopied binder full of outdated, pirated material. Products you purchase from individual sellers are not covered under review courses’ policies, and in many cases it is a direct violation of these courses’ copyrights to buy or sell materials. But CPAs would never dream of breaking the rules, right? If you are absolutely broke and in need of second-hand materials, you can usually find the Wiley CPA Exam Review books on Amazon for cheaper than retail and won’t be violating any rules by buying them that way.
Do NOT buy materials from your friend who passed four years ago We won’t suggest that you buy materials from your friend who passed just last quarter since that would also be against most review courses’ rules and we would highly recommend you stay away from materials any older than one year. The CPA exam changes twice a year and especially with the implementation of CBT-e, you will want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information available, even if you need to spend a little more to get it.
Lastly, a money-saving suggestion is to do a cost-benefit analysis of cheaping out on a review course over having to pay additional retake fees if you do not pass the first, second or third time out. There’s no reason why you have to spend a lot of money to get through the exam (plenty have passed using just the Wiley books, which are usually around $50 a piece), just make sure to analyze your own needs and plan accordingly. And remember: you can’t buy your way to a 75, all the money in the world does you no good if you don’t actually use the materials and study!