Exactly 8 weeks after the submission of my application to the CA Board of Accountancy to sit as a first time applicant for the CPA Exam, I finally got my "e-mail of approval." Granted this is after 3 months of studying for the FAR portion of the exam with hope to sit at the end of August. After this time I will be submerging myself in the boot camp known as the summer session for my Masters. If you are familiar at all with the process of applying for the CPA exam, you know that this approval means I am still on step 4 of 10. Not to mention, September is a blackout month. In other words, I am SOL. The soonest I can take the exam is October 1, which would also be the middle of my Masters Program. Great.
Words of wisdom to first time CPA Exam applicants:
If you plan to sit as soon as you graduate:
- Put a rush order on the posting of your degree if your University allows this.
- Give your admissions office a prepaid next day envelope to ensure quickest delivery
- Make sure you send all transcripts from all colleges attended (including summer school courses at a junior college)
- Travel. Do not stress out about the exam at the start of summer. Take a break, celebrate your accomplishment!
- Plan your studies to sit in August if you graduate in May. Otherwise, more than likely October is your best bet.
- Use a professional review course.
- I recommend starting with FAR (Financial Accounting & Reporting), as in my opinion, this is the hardest of the 4 parts. You have 18 months to pass all 4. Might as well not start counting until you pass the toughest section.
The Application Process:
1) 1st send your transcripts to your state board of accountancy
2) Set up an Personal Client Account online (link for CA residents).
3) Complete Client Account info, print, sign, and submit the Application Remittance Form
4) Mail with remittance form your application fee of $100.
- Plan 6 to 8 weeks for your initial application approval
-After approval from the board, you must wait 5 more days for approval from NASBA.
5) Select which tests you plan to take within a 9 month period.
- If you do not plan to take all 4 parts w/in 9 months you have to pay a $50 reapplication fee
6) You will then be sent a payment coupon by NASBA.
7) Submit payment via phone (expedites the process) by calling (866) 696-2722.
8) Receive your coveted Notice to Schedule (NTS).
9) Schedule your exam date with Prometric.
10) Take your Exam!!!
As if there wasn't enough to worry about to pass the exam!
When planning your test date do not forget that there are blackout months in which the test is not offered.
For more information on the application process visit: Uniform CPA Examination Handbook
Good luck and God Speed.