Friday, July 29, 2011

Study Progress this Week

So I received my Roger CPA Review Cram Course book for FAR. The book is huge and heavy – I was not expecting that from a Cram book! It is even thicker than my Wiley CPA Exam Review 2011, Financial Accounting and Reporting book!

The Cram is accessed online. Roger recommends you set aside time to watch the lesson. This is good for me since it forces me to make time to study and watch each section.

I watched the introduction and a few sections this week. I was so relieved to see that Roger discussed IFRS and the IASB Framework in general. He also spent a lot of time on the major differences between US GAAP and IFRS in financial statement presentation, revenue recognition, inventory, etc. There is also a great two and a half page chart in his Cram book which compares US GAAP vs. IFRS rules by topic.

I really like Roger’s teaching style. He has a lot of energy and really gets into the accounting topic instead of just reading directly from the book. His mnemonic devices are different than those used by the Yaeger course and the old Person/Wolinsky course I took many, many years ago (does anyone remember them? Nick Dauber and Co. sold the course to Becker in the early 2000s).

There are questions throughout the Cram book including multiple choice and task based simulation. The questions are at the end of each section plus recently released multiple choice and task based simulation questions in the back of the book from the AICPA. I need to do as many questions as I can find!

I was also snooping around Roger’s website and found the following helpful links:

- 3-, 6- and 9-month CPA Study Plans

- course breakdown outlines

- videos for each section and the CPA Exam in general

- and the coolest one is a link to Quizlet which has many ready-made Flash Card sets. I searched for CPA FAR. Enjoy!

Let me know how your studying is going!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CPA Exam Study Progress so FAR: Feeling Out of Touch with the Material and a Cram Course to the Rescue

I am not one to complain about feeling old and out of touch since I usually feel young at heart (I wore Hello Kitty and Star Wars bandages this week). And I know that it’s perfectly normal for financial accounting rules to change over the years. But when the fundamentals change, it can cause some fright and panic. Even scarier, it can make you feel out of touch with the material.

If you haven’t taken FAR yet this year and you are like me (more than 10 years out of school and haven’t worked in public accounting for a few years), here are some changes you will notice while studying for FAR in 2011:

  • Forget SFAS 109 Accounting for Income Taxes; it is now known as ASC Topic 740 – Income Taxes (check out this link explaining the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC))
  • You have to know the rules for IFRS vs. US GAAP
  • You also have to note the differences between the FASB Conceptual Framework and the IASB Framework
As I am slowly progressing through my FAR studies (I’m working on Financial Statements this week), I can’t help but feel a bit out of the loop on certain rules. Things I had learned in school, as an auditor or while preparing financials for a public company have all changed. It’s like the ground has shifted underneath me. I am getting through the material, but I just need some reinforcement.

In order to kick things up a notch, I decided to order the Roger CPA Review Cram Course to supplement the Yaeger course that I have been using for FAR. I have used a Roger Cram Course for REG before and he did a good job explaining difficult concepts, so hopefully, this will help. I expect to receive the Cram later this week and will be sure to write something about it.

What has helped you get back in touch with the material when you’ve felt lost studying new or significantly changed topics?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Studying Through Grief

I wanted to write about something honest; something I am dealing with right now.

I very recently and suddenly lost a good friend I grew up with, have known for many years and cared about a lot. The loss is still “fresh” and I am still emotional about it.

Grieving the loss of a family member, friend or pet is something difficult and stressful in and of itself. Adding the pressures of work, school, family or other commitments is bad enough without the further stress of studying for the CPA Exam.

We can go back to work or school and take care of family because we know we have to. We can do these things robotically. But when it comes to something like studying, the thought of opening those books brings about a feeling of disgust in us and we think “How can I study now?” Studying seems so trivial. Once we convince ourselves that it’s fine to study because it’s something we have to do, we end up staring at the page. Our brains can’t take in the new material because we have a million thoughts swimming around in our heads. It’s hard to concentrate. How can we get back to focusing on studying?

I thought maybe if I can understand how I feel, I can redirect myself to studying. An online search produced a list of the 7 stages of grief which are:

1. Shock or disbelief

2. Denial

3. Bargaining

4. Guilt

5. Anger

6. Depression

7. Acceptance or hope

Truthfully, I can’t say I am at any one stage right now, but rather a combo of disbelief, guilt, anger and hope. I can’t accept what happened yet, but the hope stage is something that can help me get there. There is a hope to do something nice in memory of my friend. He wouldn’t want us to feel the other stages, just the hope part.

My friend once wrote that he was so happy for me when my husband and I bought our first house because he loved seeing people he cares about being successful in life. I remember those words and feel that describes his character. Knowing that, I feel like he is my inspiration to finally succeed in passing the CPA Exam. I will use this as my motivation.