Tackling the CPA Exam

We only have about a month left in the MAcc program, and so many of my peers are studying for the CPA Exam. Some students have even started taking sections of the exam. We get a lot of questions about the CPA Exam in our admissions inbox, so here are some Q&As that will hopefully clear up some things:

1.  What’s on the CPA Exam?
The CPA Exam is a computer-based test that has four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD): 4 hours (90 questions & seven task-based simulations)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC): 3 hours (72 questions and three written communication tasks)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): 4 hours (90 questions and seven task-based simulations)
  • Regulation (REG): 3 hours (72 questions and six tasked-based simulations)

You can take the sections in any order you choose, and you must complete all four sections within 18 months.

2.  Am I eligible to sit for the CPA Exam?
It depends! The requirements vary by state, so I will use Ohio as an example. Please look up the state you intend to practice in on NASBA’s website to find that state’s specific requirements. For Ohio, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have completed 150 semester hours of college education and meet one of four educational requirements. (For more information, click here)

After completing the MAcc program, you are eligible to sit in Ohio.

3.  Does the MAcc program help prepare you for the CPA Exam?
While the MAcc program does not teach towards the CPA Exam, a lot of the topics covered in MAcc classes are on the exam.

4.  How much does the CPA Exam cost?
The application fee and examination fees for all four sections total $869.08 for first-time applicants. You can apply for one or more sections at a time, and you are advised to only apply for a section if you are ready to take it within the next six months. If you need to retake any section, there are additional fees.The other cost of taking the CPA Exam is the cost of a preparatory course, but a lot employers, especially public accounting firms, will help subsidize the cost of a CPA review course. Some also cover the fees to take the four sections the first time.

5.  When do most MAcc students take the CPA Exam?
With the credits that they have earned thus far, some of my peers are already eligible to take the CPA Exam. On the other hand, some students, including myself, have to wait until the end of the program before they can start taking sections of the Exam. Most of my peers who will be working for public accounting firms have start dates in the late summer or early autumn. Therefore, many intend on taking all four sections of the exam (or as many as they can) during the summer.

To learn more about the accounting profession and the CPA Exam, check out this website by the AICPA. Oh, and remember:

CRUSH-THE-EXAM

Nonprofit and Governmental Accounting

Our last session, Spring Session 2, is now underway, which means new classes for Fisher MAcc students! A popular elective for students this term is AMIS 7250: Nonprofit and Governmental Accounting, and it’s taught by Prof. Brian Mittendorf. So far in our accounting education, the focus has been on for-profit companies and learning about their financial reporting requirements, auditing, and taxation. Thus, many MAcc students were interested in learning about the nonprofit sector. Also, nonprofit and governmental accounting is 16-24% of the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the CPA Exam (it’s on the minds of most MAcc students nowadays as some have begun studying for it).

The course makes you think about accounting in a new light. Not only does the terminology change when you are talking about nonprofits, but the way in which you think about profits and expenses shifts as well. Nonprofits do, in fact, make “profits!” What differentiates them from for-profit companies is that nonprofits don’t have owners or shareholders. The “owner” of the organization is its mission, and all profits are reinvested to carry out that mission.

I really like this elective course so far and am looking forward to see what else we learn. In addition to rounding out my accounting education, I will also be able to apply what we learn in this course as soon I will be volunteering as treasurer for a 501(c)(7) nonprofit and would love to undertake other roles in the nonprofit sector in the future.

We watched the TED talk below for class, which proposes that that the way we evaluate charities (and their spending habits) is flawed. Enjoy!

 

Trivia Night!

One of my favorite things that I do weekly is Trivia Night with some MAcc friends at a local bar called The Grandview Cafe. The place is packed (usually 20+ teams) with grad students and young professionals every Thursday night for a competitive and challenging round of trivia. Some friends and I started going early in the semester and have gotten hooked. We’ve finished in second and third in the past, but we’re still striving for gold!

Prof. Zach heard about our Trivia Night tradition and decided that he wanted to join in on the fun. He’s gone with us the last two weeks and definitely carries his weight, particularly with his knowledge of sports and world geography. One of the great things about the MAcc program is that our faculty and staff are down-to-earth and genuinely interested in what we are doing. Whenever I see Prof. Arya, our program director, he likes to check in to see how our trivia team is doing. There is such a fun, relaxed learning environment here with a great work hard, play hard mentality. Trivia Night is just one example of the many things that MAcc students are up to outside of the classroom!

Prof. Zach joins us for Trivia Night!
Prof. Zach joins us for Trivia Night!

Check out Columbus Trivia Challenge if you want to play – they host trivia Sundays through Thursdays at different locations throughout Columbus!

What is Accounting Research?

As part of the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program at Ohio State, there are four required courses. One of these courses is called Accounting Policy and Research, and it is taught by Prof. Tzachi Zach. When I first heard the name of this course, I wasn’t too surprised that our Master’s program requires that students take a research class. However, I didn’t really know what to expect. What is accounting research anyway?

Prof. Zach started off the class by explaining to us the four primary topics of accounting research: financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax, and audit. Within each of these areas of interest, academic researchers use different tools to explore their research questions, such as accounting theories, surveys, and market data. In Prof. Zach’s class, we read and discuss accounting research papers about various market phenomena and corporate management behavior.

Right now, everyone in the MAcc program is working on Prof. Zach’s group project that’s due the last week of classes. We are tasked to conduct an event study in order to see how stock prices react to a particular trigger in the business world or in our everyday lives.

For example, my team is looking to see if stock prices of S&P 500 companies that are headquartered near NFL stadiums increase after the nearby team wins the Super Bowl. We’re looking at all of the past 49 Super Bowl games, so there’s a lot of data to collect!

Do the results of Super Bowl games affect the stock market?
Do the results of Super Bowl games affect the stock market?

We’re really curious to see if there is any difference in stock prices between the companies we’re looking at and stock markets indexes in the two days following each game. I’m looking forward to hearing all of the class presentations to see what events other groups studied. Hopefully that gives a bit of insight into what accounting research is all about!

Q&A with MAcc Students- Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of my Q&A with MAcc students! Click here for Part 1 :).

Scott Singer ’15

scott

Where are you from?
Cleveland, Ohio

Where did you go to undergrad? What was your major and when did you graduate?
I received a BBA in Strategic Management in 2011 and BS in Sports Management in 2012 from Ohio University. I finished my JD at Cleveland State University in 2014.

Why did you decide to get a graduate degree in accounting?
I wanted to develop another hard skill that would compliment what I already have.

Why did you choose Fisher MAcc?
I liked how this is a highly regarded program and provides an opportunity to personalize my education.

What are your post-graduation summer plans?
I plan on taking the CPA Exam and going on a West Coast trip over the summer.

Do you have an interesting fact, interest, etc. that you’d like to share?
I’m an avid gamer and superhero movie lover, and I should be a
licensed NFL/NBA player agent by the end of next year.

 

Kathryn Proper ’15

kathryn

Where are you from?
Erie, Pennsylvania

Where did you go to undergrad? What was your major and when did you graduate?
I studied accounting at Penn State Erie – the Behrend College and graduated in 2009.

Why did you decide to get a graduate degree in accounting?
I was working in industry for a small manufacturer in Erie and knew what I really wanted to do was public accounting.  I also knew I wanted a Master’s degree, so going back to school for a MAcc was the perfect transition to achieve both goals and feel better prepared for the CPA Exam.  I had previously interned for a CPA firm in Erie during tax season
and knew that was exactly what I wished to return to doing.

Why did you choose Fisher MAcc?
I applied to a few other programs, but fell in love with Fisher and the program during my campus visit.  I felt it would be the best fit for me and as a bonus was a strong, nationally ranked program.  The people I met were fantastic and really sealed the deal for me to accept my offer from Ohio State.

What are your post-graduation summer plans?
I intend to sit for the CPA Exam this summer and will begin working as a Tax Associate with
McGladrey LLP in the fall at their Cleveland, Ohio office.

Do you have an interesting fact, interest, etc. that you’d like to share?
In my free time, I love feeding people!  I enjoy cooking and learning to prepare new cuisines (I am currently working on improving my Asian cooking skills) but even more so I love to bake.  I make and decorate cakes on occasion, but my favorite thing to bake is cookies!

Q&A with MAcc Students- Part 1

Now that it’s the first week of our second and final semester in the MAcc program, I thought it was a good time to share a bit about some of my peers, learn why they chose Fisher, and hear about their summer plans!

Here’s Part 1 of my Q&A session:

Pat Archer ’15 

pat

Where are you from?
St. Louis, Missouri

Where did you go to undergrad? What was your major and when did you graduate?
I majored in business at the University of Dallas and graduated in May 2014.

Why did you decide to get a graduate degree in accounting?
I had an outstanding liberal arts education from University of Dallas, but I wanted to build a set of
professional and technical skills as well in order to have a rewarding career in accounting.

Why did you choose Fisher MAcc?
It’s a broad-base program which fits well with both how I understand accounting
and how I would like to approach my career.

What are your post-graduation summer plans?
I plan on taking the CPA Exam and then travel the East Coast with my beautiful bride.
(Author’s note: Pat just got married on January 3!) Afterwards, I will start working
as a Staff Auditor for Deloitte in Phoenix.

Do you have an interesting fact, interest, etc. that you’d like to share?
@The_Pat_Archer is my Twitter handle. #teamfollowme

 

Danni Shi ’15

danni

Where are you from?
Ningbo, which is on the east coast of China

Where did you go to undergrad? What was your major and when did you graduate?
I majored in finance at The Ohio State University and graduated in May 2013.

Why did you decide to get a graduate degree in accounting?
I took several accounting classes as an undergrad, and I found them to be interesting and practical.
My knowledge in accounting helped me to better understand finance, and accounting skills are very important for people to have who want to work in the financial industry.

Why did you choose Fisher MAcc?
My previous roommate graduated from the Fisher MAcc program. She strongly recommended it to me and told me how nice MAcc professors are, how challenging but useful the courses are, and how much I would enjoy meeting new friends from all over the world. I knew it was the program I wanted to go to. Besides, the program is only 9 months long, which is a big attraction for me.  I enjoyed being a undergraduate student at Fisher and have fostered a strong relationship here.

What are your post-graduation summer plans?
I plan on taking the CPA Exam and going on a nice trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks before I start my job as a Financial Service Office Staff Auditor at Ernst & Young in New York City.

Do you have an interesting fact, interest, etc. that you’d like to share?
I like hiking and tennis. Also, I am good at cooking Chinese food.
Fun fact: When I was young, I told everyone that being an accountant was the last job I
would choose and never ever thought I would become an accountant when I grew up.

Thanks for reading! Check out Part 2 in two weeks!

MAcc Gives Back

Twice each year, the MAcc program gets together to do a day of service in the greater Columbus community. Community service is something that had a large impact on my undergraduate experience, and so I was excited to participate in MAcc Gives Back. My group’s project site was a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center. After a brief introduction to the store and its layout, we got to work. We split up into three smaller groups, and my group worked to reorganize and price rugs that were recently donated.

It was fun to work as a team to figure out the best way to move and measure some sizable rugs. In the middle of our project, a husband and wife entered the store and asked us to help them find a rug to put in their new infant’s nursery. We helped them pick out the softest and best-sized rug for her needs. It was nice to talk to customers in the store and be able to help them find the perfect item at a great price!

After finishing organizing the rugs, we cleaned and organized kitchen appliances until it was time to leave. Then we met up with other MAcc volunteers at the Varsity Club, the sports bar across the street from Fisher. It was very nice to volunteer in the community and share a Friday afternoon with my fellow MAcc students, faculty, and staff!

HABITAT
Habitat Group
FullSizeRender (3)
Hanging out at Varsity Club

 

The CEO of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Speaks at Fisher

Columbus has a very vibrant, up-and-coming, and creative population. It should come as no surprise that there has been some incredible innovations that have started here. A favorite local artistic creation is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Founded in 2002 by Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni’s scoops out tasty flavors year-round such as Salty Caramel, The Buckeye State, and Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean. Honoring seasonality, they serve unique flavors during certain times of the year like Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk, Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows, and Middle West Whiskey Eggnog. In recent years, the business has expanded to other locations such as Cleveland, Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, Charleston, and New York. Through its growth, Jeni’s has stayed true to its artisan roots and values.

What sets Jeni’s apart is its commitment to finding the best ingredients- whether that’s using milk from cows that graze grass on a family farm less than 200 miles from Columbus or locating the finest Fair-Trade-Certified vanilla beans in Uganda. After a bite of one of Jeni’s creations, all other ice creams pale in comparison. You can just taste the exquisite quality and truly savor the special treat.

Jeni’s is really something special, and so when I heard that its CEO, John Lowe, was going to speak at Fisher, I knew I’d have to attend. Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, sponsored the event and opened it up to all Fisher students. It was a well-attended and excellent presentation. John was relatable, a great story-teller, and used his talk as an opportunity to reflect on his background, mistakes, and aha moments. He was good friends with Jeni before he was asked to take on the role of CEO of the ice cream company, and he attributes all of the creative success of Jeni’s to her. What John brings to the table is business acumen and persuasive speaking skills. During his presentation, he emitted a true entrepreneurial and competitive spirit. He wants the world to know that Jeni’s is the real deal in the world of ice cream, and they dream of expanding their scoop shops and wholesale business so more people can taste Jeni’s true artisan creations.

Learn more about Jeni’s here: https://jenis.com/

20120127-jenis-ice-cream-pints-primary

The Columbus Arena District

One of my favorite parts of Columbus is the Arena District, and it is located in the northwest area of downtown. The focal point is Nationwide Arena, for which the district is named. Nationwide Arena is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team and also the site of many big concerts. Another great concert venue in the district is The Lifestyles Community Pavilion (known as “The L.C.”). They host outdoor concerts during the spring, summer, and fall and indoors concerts year-round.

Not only is the Arena District home to Columbus’s hockey team, but it is also home to the city’s minor league baseball team, the Columbus Clippers! The AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians play at Huntington Park, and the stadium has a capacity of 10,100 fans.

The Arena District has a nice balance of buildings and nature. McFerson Commons Park (or Arch Park) is part of the Scioto Mile Parks System and is named after Dimon R. McFerson, the former Chairman and CEO of Nationwide Insurance. The Arch located in the park was recovered from Columbus’s Union Station.

For movie buffs like me, Studio Movie Grill is located in the Arena District. It is a dine-in movie theater where you can order food to be delivered to your seat at any point during the film.

In addition to being the location of many exciting Columbus sporting, musical, and cultural events, the Arena District has some of Columbus’s best restaurants. No matter what you choose to do in the Arena District, you can’t go wrong!

 

Me exploring the Arena District with my MAcc friends, Pat and Tanya
Exploring the Arena District with my MAcc friends, Pat and Tanya

 

 

 

 

 

Columbus Fun Facts

Since Ohio State has a widespread presence in the U.S. and beyond, it can be easy to equate Columbus with the University. While OSU is a major component of the Columbus scene, there is a lot more to the city to discover!

I’m from Ohio (Toledo, specifically) and have spent a good deal of time in Columbus before attending the MAcc program. I’ve found that Columbus newcomers are often surprised at how vibrant and welcoming our state capital truly is. Here are some tidbits about the city that may help you to understand why so many Buckeyes never leave it.

Cbus Fun Facts:

  1. 15th largest city in the U.S.
  2. Business is booming! Greater Columbus is home to the headquarters of Nationwide Insurance, AEP, Wendy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, L Brands (think Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works), Big Lots, White Castle, Cardinal Health, and more!
  3. Home of the Columbus Clippers (Triple A baseball; affiliate of the Cleveland Indians), the Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer), and the Columbus Blue Jackets (National Hockey League). And, of course, we can’t forget about our Ohio State Buckeyes!
  4. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is world renowned and its director emeritus is “Jungle Jack” Hanna
  5. The annual Ohio State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the U.S.

Check out this link to learn more about things to do Columbus: http://www.columbusalive.com/content/stories/2014/08/14/back-to-school-100-things-to-do-before-you-graduate.html

 

Columbus Skyline
Columbus Skyline