CPA- Career Alternative for Commerce Students

CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is a globally-recognized public accounting qualification. AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) certifies CPAs to be trusted financial advisors to help businesses, individuals and other organizations to reach their financial goals. Candidates can earn this certification as a part of Career Growth. CPA comprises 4 exam parts which can be cleared by candidates (most of whom are working professionals) within 12 months. The minimum eligibility criteria for CPA exams are university graduation. In India, CPAs have career opportunities with all of the Big 4 and most MNCs.

Important Read: CPA - Eligibility | Exam Pattern | Fees | Jobs

Program Curriculum

Exam I: Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)

  • Syllabus:
    • Conceptual Framework, Standard Setting and presentation of Financial Statements (17-23%)
    • Financial Statement Accounts: Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, Calculation, Presentation and Disclosures (27-33%)
    • Specific Transactions, Events and Disclosures: Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, Calculation, Presentation, and Disclosures (27% - 33%)
    • Governmental Accounting and Reporting (8% - 12%)
    • Not-for-Profit (Nongovernmental) Accounting and Reporting (8%-12%)
    • Duration- 4 hour Exam
    • Question Pattern- 66 multiple choice questions (50% Weightage) & 9 short task-based simulations (50% Weightage)

    Exam II: Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

    • Syllabus:          
      • Engagement Acceptance & understanding the environment (12-16%)
      • Understanding the entity and its environment (16-20%)
      • Performing Audit procedures & evaluating evidence (16-20%)
      • Evaluating Audit findings, communications & reporting (16-20%)
      • Accounting & review services engagement (12-16%)
      • Professional responsibilities (16-20%)
    • Duration- 4 hour Exam
    • Question Pattern- 72 multiple choice questions (50% Weightage) & 9 short task-based simulations (50% Weightage)

    Exam III: Regulation (REG)

    • Syllabus:           
      • Ethics, Professional, and Legal Responsibilities (15% -19%)
      • Business Law (17% - 21%)
      • Federal Tax Process, Procedures, Accounting, and Planning (11% - 15%)
      • Evaluating Audit findings, communications & reporting (16-20%)
      • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions (12% - 16%)
      • Federal Taxation of Individuals (13% - 19%)
      • Federal Taxation of Entities (18% - 24%)
    • Duration- 4 hour Exam
    • Question Pattern- 76 multiple choice questions (50% Weightage) & 9 short task-based simulations (50% Weightage)

    EXAM IV:Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)

    • Syllabus:           
      • Corporate Governance (16% - 20%)
      • Economic Concepts and Analysis (16% - 20%)
      • Financial Management (19% - 23%)
      • Information Systems and Communications (15% - 19%)
      • Strategic Planning (10% - 14%)
      • Operations Management (12% - 16%)
    • Duration- 4 hour Exam
    • Question Pattern- 62 multiple choice questions(50% Weightage) & 5 short task-based simulations (35% Weightage),Written communication( 15% Weightage)

    Important Read: CPA - Frequently Asked Questions

    CPA Scope & Career Opportunities

    CPAs are in demand in almost every industry as they are considered to have extensive knowledge and high professional standards. They are various sectors or firms in which CPAs can work and some of the Job Profiles are listed as such.

    • Financial/International Accounting CPAs can be a part of the financial accounting profile for preparing and reviewing balance sheet accounts. Examining where funds are being utilized and where the company is overspending.
    • Assurance and Attest Services Attestation is an assurance service that is generally offered by CPA firms. Attestation can be of the audit of internal control of the firm and financial statement review. Assurance services generally involve high levels of integrity, independence, and objectivity.
    • Corporate Finance (IPO, Share & Debt Issues) CPAs can lead or be an integral part of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) or Further Public Offering (FPO) as they would understand the accounting consequences of doing so. They are also well-versed with the mergers and acquisition aspects. Since they understand the accounting facet, they can counsel the management about the strategic moves for the company.
    • Information Technology (especially as applied to accounting and auditing)– This generally involves basic IT knowledge and IT knowledge accounting. CPAs are required for this audit as they have sound accounting knowledge and one could even have specialization in IT audit. This is also an enhanced paid role than a financial audit.
    • Internal Auditing– Internal auditors follow the best practices and control risk effectively. Auditing can either be operational, financial, or IT-related auditing.
    • Financial Planning– Financial planning and analysis is a part of any mid to large organization. They conduct budgeting and forecasting for various projects.
    • Management Consulting & Management Reporting– A management of a company generally recruits someone who not only understands the business but is also able to draw conclusions and caution the management about certain changes or insurgencies.
    • Income Tax– CPAs are also well qualified to handle the taxation of any corporation, individual, or partnership. There are various forms that they can file accordingly, namely, 1120, 1040, and 1065 respectively.
    • Corporate Governance– These are rules and regulations that involve maintaining a fine balance between stakeholders, suppliers, and the community.
    • Tax Preparation and Planning– Generally, various corporations conduct budgeting for taxable income and forecasting the same. This gives the firm a broader sense of how much tax they would have to finally pay. CPAs would be able to process this efficiently and offer advice to the corporation on their tax aspect.

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