The CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Exam is the grandparent of all the professional accounting examinations. Its origin was in the 1896 public accounting legislation of New York. In 1917, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) began to prepare and grade a uniform CPA Exam. It is currently used to measure the technical competence of those applying to be licensed as CPAs in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and an ever-expanding list of international locations.
The CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CMA (Certified Management Accountant), and EA (IRS Enrolled Agent) examinations are relatively new certification programs compared to the CPA. The CMA Exam was first administered in 1972 and the first CIA Exam in 1974. The EA Exam dates back to 1959.
The primary purpose of professional exams is to measure the technical competence of candidates. Competence includes technical knowledge, the ability to apply such knowledge with good judgment, comprehension of professional responsibility, and ethical considerations. Additionally, the nature of these examinations (low pass rate, broad and rigorous coverage, etc.) has several important effects.
Should you become certified?
Certification is important to professional accountants because it provides
These reasons hold particularly true in the accounting field due to wide recognition of the CPA designation. Accountants and accounting students are often asked if they are CPAs when people learn they are accountants. Additionally, one or more designations is often required to obtain employment in the accounting field. Thus, there is considerable pressure for accountants to become certified.
Obtaining multiple certifications is important for the same reasons as initial certification. Accounting students and recent graduates should look ahead and obtain multiple certifications to broaden their career opportunities. The table of selected CIA, CMA, EA, and CPA examination data below provides an overview of these accounting examinations.
1 Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide
2 Institute of Management Accountants’ 2016 Salary Survey
3 The Institute of Internal Auditors 2012 Internal Audit Compensation Study
The content of certification examinations is specified by the respective governing boards with lists of topics to be tested. In the Gleim CIA, CMA, EA, and CPA review materials, the content tested is divided into subtopics we call study units. A study unit is a more manageable undertaking than an overall part of each exam. The listings of study units below provide an overview of the scope and content of these exams.
The CIA Exam
NOTE: The CIA Exam Syllabus is changing as of January 1, 2019. The study unit listing for the 2019 edition of Gleim CIA Review is not yet finalized at time of print. However, provided below are the domains from the revised CIA Exam Syllabus.
Part 1: Essentials of Internal Auditing
Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)
Independence and Objectivity (15%)
Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)
Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)
Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)
Fraud Risks (10%)
Part 2: Practice of Internal Auditing
Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)
Planning the Engagement (20%)
Performing the Engagement (40%)
Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)
Part 3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
Business Acumen (35%)
Information Security (25%)
Information Technology (20%)
Financial Management (20%)
Visit our 2019 CIA Exam Changes info page at www.gleim.com/cia-exam-changes for more information about the revisions to the exam.
According to The IIA, the CIA is a “globally accepted certification for internal auditors” through which “individuals demonstrate their competency and professionalism in the internal auditing field.” Successful candidates will have gained “educational experience, applicable knowledge, and business tools that can deliver a positive impact in any organization or business environment.”
The CIA Exam is computerized to facilitate testing. Part 1 consists of 125 multiple-choice questions and lasts 2.5 hours, while Parts 2 and 3 each contain 100 multiple-choice questions and last 2 hours.
The first two parts of the CIA Exam focus on the theory and practice of internal auditing. The body of knowledge of internal auditing and the auditing skills to be tested consist of
Part 3 of the exam ensures that internal auditors are well-rounded and conversant with topics, methodologies, and techniques ranging from individual and organizational behavior to information security and technology.
The CMA Exam
LISTING OF CMA REVIEW STUDY UNITS
The CMA Exam consists of two parts: (1) Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control and (2) Financial Decision Making. Both parts consist of 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions. A total of 4 hours is allowed for the completion of a part (3 hours for the multiple-choice, 1 hour for the essays).
According to the IMA, the “CMA is the advanced professional certification specifically designed to measure the accounting and financial management skills that drive business performance.”
In their Resource Guide, the ICMA explains that through the certification test, “the requirements of the CMA Program . . . recognize those who can demonstrate that they possess a sufficient degree of knowledge and skills in the areas of management accounting and financial management. In this way, the ICMA helps identify practitioners who have met certain predetermined professional standards.”
We have arranged the subject matter tested on the CMA Examination into manageable study units for each part. Each part is presented in a separate book. Both of these books contain review outlines; prior CMA Exam questions, answers, and answer explanations; and essay questions.
The CMA Exam has broader coverage than the CPA Exam in several areas. For example,
Also, CMA questions are generally more analysis-oriented than CPA questions.
The EA Exam
LISTING OF EA REVIEW STUDY UNITS
Part 1: Individuals
Part 2: Businesses
Part 3: Representation, Practices, and Procedures
Enrolled agents are individuals who have demonstrated special competence in tax matters and professional ethics and have been enrolled to practice before the IRS as taxpayers’ agents or legal representatives. Practice before the IRS includes all matters connected with presentations to the IRS relating to a client’s rights, privileges, and liabilities under laws or regulations administered by the IRS. Such presentations include
The examination covers federal taxation and tax accounting and the use of tax return forms for individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts, estates, and gifts. It also covers ethical considerations and procedural requirements.
The exam consists of three parts, with 3.5 hours for each part (4 hours total seat time to include tutorial and survey). The questions on the examination are directed toward the tasks that enrolled agents must perform to complete and file forms and tax returns and to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Each part of the examination consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and covers the following tax topics:
Representation, Practices, and Procedures
The CPA Exam
LISTING OF CPA REVIEW STUDY UNITS
The CPA Examination is designed to measure professional competence in auditing, business law, taxation, accounting, and related business topics, including
Passing this exam validates and confirms your professional accounting education and requires your complete dedication and determination. The benefits include higher salary, increased confidence and competence, and recognition as a member of an elite group of professionals.
The CPA Exam is administered the first 2 months and 10 days of every calendar quarter (i.e., January 1-March 10, April 1-June 10, July 1-September 10, and October 1-December 10) at Prometric testing centers throughout the U.S. and at select international locations. The exam is divided into four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). Each section consists of a series of testlets.
Each CPA Exam section is divided into five testlets. Each testlet is dedicated to a specific type of CPA Exam question.
Types of Questions:
Steps to Passing Certification Exams
Enjoy your career, pursue multiple certifications (CIA, CPA, EA, CMA, etc.), and recommend Gleim to others who are also taking these exams. Once you are certified, stay up-to-date on your Continuing Professional Education requirements with Gleim CPE.