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CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum : Continuing professional education (CPE) is also required to maintain licensure. Individuals who have been awarded the CPA but have lapsed in the fulfilment of the required CPE or have requested to be converted to inactive status are in many states permitted to use the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs are legally able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. Many CPAs are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and their state CPA society.

State laws vary widely regarding whether a non-CPA is even allowed to use the title accountant. To illustrate, Texas prohibits the use of the designations “accountant” and “auditor” by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners.

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum : CPA FUNCTION

The primary functions performed by CPAs relate to assurance services. In assurance services, also known as financial audit services, CPAs attest to the reasonableness of disclosures, the freedom from material misstatement, and the adherence to the applicable generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in financial statements. CPAs can also be employed by corporations—termed “the private sector”—in finance functions such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or finance manager, or as CEOs subject to their full business knowledge and practice. These CPAs do not provide services directly to the public.

Although some CPA firms serve as business consultants, the consulting role has been under scrutiny following the Enron scandal where Arthur Andersen simultaneously provided audit and consulting services which affected their ability to maintain independence in their audit duties. This incident resulted in many accounting firms divesting in their consulting divisions, but this trend has since reversed. In audit engagements, CPAs are (and have always been) required by professional standards and Federal and State laws to maintain independence (both in fact and in appearance) from the entity for which they are conducting an attestation (audit and review) engagement. However, most individual CPAs who work as consultants do not also work as auditors.

CPAs also have a niche within the income tax return preparation industry. Many small to mid-sized firms have both a tax and an auditing department. Along with attorneys and enrolled agents, CPAs may represent taxpayers in matters before the Internal Revenue Service.

Whether providing services directly to the public or employed by corporations or associations, CPAs can operate in virtually any area of finance including:

  • Assurance and attestation services
  • Corporate finance (merger and acquisition, initial public offerings, share and debt issuings)
  • Corporate governance
  • Estate planning
  • Financial accounting
  • Governmental accounting
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial planning
  • Forensic accounting (preventing, detecting, and investigating financial frauds)
  • Income tax
  • Information technology, especially as applied to accounting and auditing
  • Management consulting and performance management
  • Tax preparation and planning
  • Venture Capital
  • Financial reporting
  • Regulatory reporting

And Bout the Regulation format and other details you can get here.

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum : This section covers knowledge of general business environment and business concepts that candidates need to know in order to perform audit, attest, accounting and review services, financial reporting, tax preparation, and other professional responsibilities in their role as certified public accountants, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum  : BEC EXAM CONTENT

17-27% Corporate Governance

  • Internal control and enterprise risk management frameworks
  • Other regulatory frameworks and provisions

17-27% Economic Concepts and Analysis

  • Economic and business cycles
  • Market influences on business
  • Financial risk management

11-21% Financial Management

  • Capital structure
  • Working capital
  • Financial valuation methods and decision models

15-25% Information Technology (IT)

  • IT governance
  • Role of IT in business
  • Information security/availability
  • Processing integrity (input/processing/output controls)
  • Systems development and maintenance

15-25% Operations Management

  • Cost measurement concepts, methods and techniques
  • Variance analysis
  • Process management
  • Planning techniques

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum : The Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section of the CPA Exam tests CPA candidates’ understanding of business concepts and the significance of a CPA’s professional duties and responsibilities within the larger context of the business environment. Areas covered on the BEC Exam are corporate governance, economic concepts and analysis, financial management, information systems and communications, strategic planning and operations management. One unique aspect of the BEC exam is that it requires the candidate to prepare and submit three Written Communication responses.

Many CPA candidates consider BEC to be the easiest section of the CPA Exam. However, BEC pass rates have historically been only slightly higher than those for other sections, and the exam still requires a serious study effort.

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum :  The BEC Exam is 4 hours long, though the candidate is not required to use all the allotted time, and consists of 62 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), 4 Task-Based Simulations (TBSs) and 3 Written Communication Tasks (WCs).

Of the 62 MCQs, 50 are operational, meaning they count toward the exam score, while 12 are pretested and do not count toward the exam score. Of the 4 TBSs, 3 are operational and 1 is pretested. Of the 3 WCs, 2 are operational and 1 is pretested. Other than scoring, there is no functional difference between operational and pretested questions and no sure way for the candidate to tell the difference between an operational and pretested question.

The BEC Exam is organized into four testlets – two 31-question MCQ testlets followed by a 2-question TBS testlet, then an optional 15-minute break that does not count against the 4-hour test time, then an additional 2-question TBS testlet, then one 3-task WC testlet. The candidate proceeds at his or her own pace through the testlets. Once a testlet has been submitted, it cannot be revisited.

CPA Business Environment and Concepts Exam curriculum

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