Thursday, June 30, 2011

CPA Exam Security Changes at Prometric Test Centers

Email I received regarding the increase in security enhancement for the CPA exam.

Prometric is committed to a strong, secure, testing environment for the CPA Examination and for all candidates visiting one of its test centers.  Over the past few years, Prometric has made several significant investments to further strengthen security in its test centers, including a global roll-out of digital video recorders and enhancements to biometrics at the centers. This communication is to advise you that there is a new security enhancement being introduced into Prometric centers this week.  

Starting July 1, Prometric Test Center Administrators (TCAs) will be using hand-held metal detector wands to scan all candidates in the Test Centers in the United States and Territories. All candidates will be scanned prior to each entry into the test room, including returns from breaks.  Candidates will still be required to turn their pockets out, and the scan will be done immediately afterward. The purpose of the wand scan is to take an additional step in identifying any prohibited items that a candidate is attempting to take into the testing room. 

Prometric’s Security Department conducted a pilot of this program in 2010 using the wands for a period of five months. Approximately 60,000 candidates were scanned during that time.  Ultimately, the wand was found to be a strong deterrent and operationally effective.  Based on the results of the pilot, Prometric has decided to move forward with this program and has deployed hand-held metal detectors to all U.S. Test Centers. 

In addition to this message, information about wanding has been added to Prometric’s standard Test Center Regulations Form.  This form is posted on Prometric’s website and is given to all candidates to read prior to check-in. 
The scan will be done in full view of the TCA DVR camera so it will be recorded, and any candidate complaints or escalations can be properly investigated.  All candidates will be required to submit to the scans.  Any candidates refusing to be scanned will not be permitted to test. Please rest assured that the metal detectors do not affect pregnancies, pacemakers, or other medical equipment that’s connected to the body. 
This small change will help to make our test even more secure, and further protect the integrity of our exams.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Change in some things

Recently my back has been having some serious pains which are constant. (Probably from lifting the heavy audit boxes) This weekend I plan to change some things in my life to hopefully help my situation. Recently I have quit taking my vitamins, I just fell out of routine in doing this each morning and afternoon. So I plan to get back into this with an increase in the fish oil especially. It reduces inflammation which will hopefully help with the inflammation I am experiencing in my back as well has reduce my allergy symptoms.

I also plan to start working out again, at least 30 minutes each day. This use to be a big part of my success in studying for the exam as it gave me energy to stay up and be more focused in the evening. As it got closer to a scheduled exam I would eliminate this part of my routine to have that extra time to study. This is fine for the short-term week before, but not a good idea for the long-term 1-2 months of study.

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Score Release Week

Each time that score release I tell myself I won't pay attention to it. See I live in a snail mail state, so I have to wait an additional 7 days after the release to get my result. Those 7 days are horrible, I can't sleep, I can't study and all I can think about is the results. How I will react if I passed, how I will react if I failed. Ugh! I even dream about it. Completely consumed all week, which just ruins my study schedule for the next section!

So, I plan to take a day off this week and study. No work, no kids, no cleaning, nothing. (I know I may regret it later but I have to try it) I am attempting 6 straight hours of studying. Immerse myself in my studying and stay off the cpa exam websites until I get my results. (which should be next Monday & Tuesday)

I don't want to regret this week, I want to be able to look back and say that I was productive. Goal tonight is 2 more hours of studying, and then 6 hours tomorrow. That should catch me up to where I want to be.

"When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps"

Friday, June 17, 2011

REG - Ethics Notes / Flashcards

Teo has a private company audit client. He also provides it with tax services. For which of the following services may he charge a contingent fee and still be in compliance with Circular 230 1) A claim for refund filed in connection with a determination of statutory interest or penalities     2) Representing the client in judicial proceedings

Components of IRS practitioner duties: 1) furnish requested information promptly 2) exercising due dilgence 3) not unreasonably delaying IRS matters

Not a TRP: (Tax Return Preparer) Furnishes typing of other mechanical assistance, Prepares form for regular employer, prepares form as a fiduciary

a TRP is someone who: 1) is paid to prepare or retain employees to prepare a substantial portion of any federal tax return or refund claim

Can't take "unreasonable positions" : 1)No "substantial authority (40% chance) for position 2) No "reasonable basis" (20% chance) for disclosed position 3) Not "more likely than not" (50% chance) for tax shelter position

CPA induced several rich tax clients to invest in a domesticated beaver tax shelter device. When the IRS sought to audit one of Monrew's clients, he realized that among other difficulties, he had not had the client sign a backdated document. When the gov discovered all this, Monrew was indicted for tax fraud in violation of section 7206. Which of the following is true.   Monrew is probably guilty. Monrew clearly willfully aided in the preparation of a tax related document which was fraudulently backdated.

When an auditor's recklessness is manifested in repeated defective audits, what might happen? Misconduct or incompetence by a CPA may invite punishment by all relevant regulatory agencies & professional societies.

A client suing a CPA for negligence must prove each of the following factors except: Reliance         The elements of a negligence cause of action are, Duty, breach of duty, suffered compensatable injuries, and break of proximity.

The intent, or sci-enter, element necessary to establish a cause of action for fraud will be met if the plaintiff can show that the: Defendant made a misrepresentation with a reckless disregard for the truth. Under the position taken by a majority of the courts, who which third parties will an accountant who negligently prepares a clients financial report be liable? Any foreseen or known third party who relied on the report

 Under the "Ultramares" rule, to which of the following parties will an accountant be liable for negligence? The "Ultramares" rule, established in a 1931 case, requires privity before an accountant is liable for negligence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

REG Study Plan

5 Weeks to study, with a goal of 16 hours a week, and 2-4 hours a week for review. 20 hours a week for 5 weeks for a total of 100 hours of study time to pass regulation. I don't plan to spend a large amount of time on the simulations since I am experienced in taxation. Most of this study time will be focused on the multiple choice questions.

My study plan for regulation:

June 13 – 20           Ethics, Property Transactions, Individual Tax (Strong area’s to begin with)
June 21 – 27           Corp, Partnership, S-Corp, Estate & Gift, Fiduciary tax  (Stong area)
June 28 – July 4   Business Law – Agency & Contracts (Weak area)
July 5 – 11               Articles & Bankruptcy (Weak)
July 12 – 17            Bankruptcy, federal security regulations, business structure (Weak area)

I plan to post each week's notes to each of these sections that I study. I only make notes on area's that are new to me or areas that I am weak in. I also create flashcards in Excel, if I have time I will try to share those as well.

"Don't wish it were easier, work yourself to become better!"

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Loss of a Mentor

Mr. B was invincible to most who knew him, that is until he had a heart attack and died less than three months after his triumph over his two year battle with cancer.  
Many of us have several mentors throughout our life and each mentor brings about a different skillset which they strongly portrait, which is what makes them so endearing to us. We envy their traits and abilities and mimic them in order to become more like them. Mr. B. had that dynamic personality that everyone just wanted to be around, he really lit up a room with his demeanor, and he also had a strong outward confidence which he displayed with little to no verbal communication. 
I will admit I do seem a little lost without him at the moment, even though he never really verbally guided me his guidance was implied and I understood that implication.  
It saddens me that I did not get to achieve my goal of passing the CPA exam while he was alive to show him and see him be proud of that accomplishment. He has always believed in my ability to pass and become a CPA.
I refuse to let this hurdle in life become a road block to my success in the studying and passing of the CPA exam, in fact I am going to use it as fuel.  Mr. B. in death, just as he was in life, will guide me and create the motivation I need to accomplish this task. He was a strong, smart, and confident person who believed in me and my abilities and I can't let him down.
If Mr. B could conquer cancer, look it in the face and not let it get him down, come into the office day in and day out all throughout tax season while going through his chemotherapy treatments with a smile on his face, then I can pass these exams. We all can pass these exams.
He was an inspiration to me every day and he will continue to be so for the rest of my life. Thanks for everything Mr. B.
I typically end every posting of mine with a motivational quote that I find inspirational but this time as a tribute I will post one of his favorite quotes in honor of Mr. B.
"Ethics and eating are two different things"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why is the CPA exam so hard?

Are you ready for the magical answer?

The CPA exam is so difficult for some because of the environment in which we, as children, are taught in is not being adhered to in the structure for these exams.

As children we are taught in a structured classroom setting. We are encouraged by our peers as well as our classmates. We are guided, shown examples, and when we still don't understand something we are shown it again.  Think back to your math classes in junior high and high school, the first quarter of the year is spent going back over everything that you learned in the prior year. Some teachers even go as far as to learn and understand each students learning style to show them tricks they can use to learn.

The CPA exam is different in this aspect. For the first time ever, for the majority of us, we are given the study materials and left on our own. Here is a computer, here is your study guides, text books, multiple choice questions, and video lectures, now go teach yourself.

I enrolled in online college classes and can say that this structure isn't what its like even for online colleges.

It's no wonder that the pass/fail rate is hovering below 50% for each part. This was not the way that our society has structured us to learn. The first study program to become developed and be used more like an online college will achieve the best results. Give us grades! Those of us that are doing good need to be told so, we need the reassurance that we are studying correctly, that we have mastered the content. Give us F's! Yes, I just said I want an F. If I have not mastered some content, I want to know. If what I am thinking is totally wrong in a particular area then I want to be told that I am headed down the wrong path.

Correct me BEFORE I take the exam.

For a society drive on checks and balances, there sure aren't any prior to us taking these tests.

"Try to develop steady work habits"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CPA exam Superman/woman

5 Motivational factors for becoming a CPA
Prestige and Respect
Money and benefits
Job Satisfaction and variety
Career Security
Personal Growth
Each of us has our own reasonings behind why we decided to become CPA's. For some of us it will be for the prestige and respect that this certification has associated with it. A sense that we will be taken seriously. It could also be a goal or achievement needing to be accomplished. 

Typically most firms and companies pay more of a salary and offer a nicer benefit package to those with the certification, often times those benefit packages are the deciding factor for where a CPA ends up deciding which company to work for.

Job satisfaction and variety. There are those people, myself included, who enjoy variety in their life. Having a CPA license will allow those to switch it up and experience other job opportunities that wouldn't otherwise have been an option for them. 

Career security. What can I say, most companies can't just fire their CPA due to budget cuts unless they have another one lined up to take their place. With all the regulations and rules associated with having a financial knowledgeable staff employed it is becoming increasingly a more stable place to work.

Personal Growth. For some, like me, this is the next step in their career. Each career path has steps in the process and each step adds to their personal growth in the chosen field.  

"The most critical component of personal development is vision"