Studying and Succeeding at the CPA Exam (Part 2)

CPA Podcasts

Ron Premuroso & Phil talk about the importance of using the blueprints to study in order to pass the exam. They also touch on the ever important topic of what the role of the AICPA is & suggest what direction would be most helpful to advocate for those who are trying to pass the CPA exam.


Narrator: 0:00
This is the second part of the conversation between Phil and Ron about studying and succeeding at the CPA exam. If you haven't listened to the first part of this episode, check your podcast feed.

Hello, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of CPA Review and More. We are pleased to bring you the #1 podcast for CPAs and CPA candidates. If you'd like to learn more about how Yaeger CPA Review can help you, find us on our website at Now, here's your host, Phil Yaeger.

Phil: 0:38
We already mentioned the evolution, and I think to myself, “Where do they come up with these names?” Are we archeologists?

Ron: 0:44

Phil: 0:45
Are we looking for an ????????

Ron: 0:47
Or maybe the AICPA wants to be archeologists, who knows?

Phil: 0:50
Well, we are archeologists and really living in the 18th century.

Ron: 0:55
Well, that's what we do—why we record the past as our basic function—for most our things we do. Right?

Phil: 1:01
Their function, they say, is to test people with the exams. Shouldn't they have a bigger responsibility than that?

Ron: 1:10
I think so, Phil. Hey you know, Phil, I was thinking:

“Why doesn't the AICPA go to the universities (or market to the universities) to get more of the MIS IT majors to do a combination of accounting, MIS IT, and then market that and say to them:

'You know, the combination of the CPA certificate and the CISA certificate for MYSAKA makes you golden for employment for the rest of your life' ?”

Definitely the combination, Phil, of CPA plus CISA—I had so many students that I used to teach at a university in Montana that now have both, Phil. They're making six figures, Phil. They're five or six years out of college. They went through the pain of studying for both of these exams. They passed them. They worked for some of the larger CPA firms; now they've moved on to industry and worked in industry positions on IT security and these type of things.

Why doesn't the AICPA try to market to all the universities and combine those two. Why don't they ask them to expand their curriculum to be designed more to accommodate that combination of accounting and MIS?

Phil: 2:31
Why don't they do it?

Ron: 2:32
I don't know. We know the number of people who take the exam is dropping, correct? That's what we've seen in the past couple years. So whenever your business is dropping, you gotta look for new strategies or new opportunities, and certainly the AICPA has inroads to all of the educators in the country.

Now the other side of that is, as you know, educators don't change easily, especially those that are tenders. For them to redesign curricula, to design new courses, to accommodate what I just described to you, that's not something a lot of them are interested in. Only the ones that are truly dedicated educators, Phil, are the ones that are going to do that.

Phil: 3:22
Who are truly dedicated?—the ones who have been in the academic world for 15-20 years or the ones that first come in [the newer professors]?

Ron: 3:33
The ones that first come in. They don't have tenure and they need to make their mark to get tenure.

Phil: 3:39
And instead of helping them get tenure, they make it more difficult on them.

Ron: 3:43

Phil: 3:44
And then they let these people who have been at the universities forever who are so lazy—I'm not saying everyone's lazy—they just let them do what they want.

You know, I sometimes think about years ago when I took the exam for the first time—1974. And actually, I had an interview with the AICPA, because the examination division was looking for someone to make up one of the parts of the exam. The person who had been making that part up was leaving, and I interviewed for that job. And at that time, everyone at the AICPA examination division was a CPA. And there were some real good people there. In fact, the gentleman I interviewed with, Ian, he was really sharp, nice guy, worried about the profession. Now I go in there and we go to these meetings and I feel like, “Who's running the AICPA examination division?” Prometrix?—you know, the computers. Is that what's so important?

And you know what, this student gets to me: they're talking about these new areas they're going to introduce, and I ?????? I said, “These people don't have this material in college.”

Ron: 5:14

Phil: 5:14
And they said they're aware of that. So what happens is: if they go work for a big four firm or a large firm, they're getting trained.

What about the people who don't work for them [, I asked]?

Well, we've got continuing education courses that they can take [, they replied].

Right, they're going to run out and take those CPE courses. Hey come on, if the professors can't teach them the material, what's wrong here? I did not learn accounting from a shoemaker. I learned accounting from a professor. And I have to say this, my professors were pretty bad. They had no experience. And also, this is one assumption of universities: their feeling is: if you have a PhD, then you can teach. I don't know where they come up with that, because none of my professors could teach.

Ron: 6:21
No, and in the PhD program, there's no course on teaching either. You know that like I do.

Phil: 6:28
[The universities say:] “Now everyone can teach! If we hired you, you can teach!”

Ron: 6:32
Automatically, you can teach. Yeah. Exactly. [read sarcasm]

Phil: 6:35
[The universities say:] “And you know what? We really don't care about the teaching. We assume you can do it. But we want you to do research and write papers on accounting.”

Hey, the last time I looked, accounting was not a science. I don't see any accountants looking for a vaccine to solve the pandemic. Accounting is a profession. There are people in there who have experience in the profession—whether it's tax or whatever. Those are the people who should be teaching. But how do you determine if they can communicate or not? That's the hardest thing: communication.

Ron: 7:17
Yes. Yup.

Phil: 7:19
You know, talking to students and teaching them is quite hard. So just bringing in PhDs—new fresh CPhDs in accounting—and assuming they can teach: that's a bad assumption.

Ron: 7:33

Phil: 7:33
Now I bring this up at the meetings I go to. Boy do they hate me. Everytime I say something about this, it's always: “You know, that Phil Yaeger, he's a troublemaker.” I was once told at a meeting—I came in late for the meeting—and I said to someone, “I'll be late.” And the person running the meeting said—and I heard this as I was walking in—he says, “Thank God, Phil Yaeger's going to be late. We'll be able to get out of this meeting early.”

I don't just sit there like a passive lamb. I say something. You know, I'll probably die in this profession. And you know what? There's not going to be a lot of change, because the people who are in this—the people who work for the AICPA—I think I have a different philosophy than they have. Because, most of those people have never worked in accounting. They don't know what's going on.

Ron: 8:40

Phil: 8:41
They only know one thing: hey, what time is the next meeting?

Ron: 8:48
Sad, but true, Phil.

Let's have a meeting. Hey spoiler one, time for a meeting. Oh, are you in on the meeting set? Okay, let's have a meeting to discuss whether we want to have a meeting or not.

Ron: 9:00
And Phil, how are these educators going to implement the evolution topics now into their courses? Yes, the AICPA is aware that they don't have it in the courses right now, but I don't see any efforts yet at trying to make the wholesale revisions required to the curriculum to integrate the evolution in the next couple years.

Phil: 9:23
No, they're admitting they don't have it. The professors won't be able to teach this stuff. But what they're going to do is: the AICPA has courses; if they work for a big company, then they'll get that training. The professors: they're there to write those important articles on accounting.

What did you publish as a professor? Do you have anything exciting that you might want to share with us?

Ron: 9:50
I published around ten papers. One paper was in the introductory financial accounting course. Does using clickers?—we used to use clickers in the course, okay, so in other words, I'd put a question up on the board with answers, and it would test whether or not the students understood what I was teaching and were able to answer a financial accounting question. Also I took attendance with it.

So this was a core, introductory financial accounting course. And my study proved—we had statistics from a class not using these clickers and other professors using clickers. And you could see there was a significant improvement in the performance of these students on the exams and also the departmental final exam compared to students in the classes who didn't have the clickers. In other words, it kinda' forced them to come to class. It forced them to participate, because you had to click-in an answer, which by the way counted toward their grade (and that was also integrated into the grade book). So I did a study at a university for about two years doing that and it got published in a triple-A journal. That was a big publication.

Phil: 11:10
Well, which triple-A journal was that? One that everyone reads?

Ron: 11:13
Accounting Education Journal.

Phil: 11:15
And how many people read that stuff?

Ron: 11:17
Well, educators do, and I just got another paper from that journal today which has a reference to my paper.

Phil: 11:25

Ron: 11:26

Phil: 11:26
Ladies and gentlemen, we have here an author who they have referenced. Ron is not just another pretty face. He knows his stuff.

Ron: 11:38
And then, just quickly, I have a paper I wrote while I was in my PhD program on XPRL. You know what that is, right Phil?

Phil: 11:47
Uh, no.

Ron: 11:47
That's the automated financial reporting tagging of financial statement items. Everybody today has to—publicly listed companies have to use XPRL and file XPRL tagged financial statements with the SEC. Well, I wrote a paper when I was in the PhD program. At that time, it was voluntary to participate in the [XPRL] program. And what my study proved was: those companies that were voluntarily filing in XPRL format were signaling that their financial performance in the future would be better than those that decided not to participate in the voluntary filing of XPRL. I have 150 citations on that paper, Phil.

Phil: 12:37

Ron: 12:38
One hundred fifty other people have cited my paper from that particular study. So I did studies on outsourcing XPRL, using clickers in the classroom. I did a lot of teaching cases too, while I was teaching, b ecause it was easy to do them in class and then get them published.

Phil: 12:57
But you were just interested in getting them published for tenure purposes, right?

Ron: 13:01
Yes, and then...

Phil: 13:02
Did those articles help you ??????

Ron: 13:06
I used them in some classrooms and I got some educators, once they were published, who emailed me and said, “Can I talk to you? Can we have a phone call about this case that I'm reading that you published?” Not a lot of calls, but you know, they're all published with teaching notes, so any educator can access them and use them.

Phil: 13:26
For the next few minutes, I just want to talk in general about something that I think is important. And what is that? You have got to decide if you really want to pass this exam or not. I just read an article. You have to spend 400 hours—which includes studying, watching, whatever—all four parts if you want to pass. Now, first of all, if you are using another course and you are failing 2 or 3 times, you have to have enough guts to pick up that material and just throw it away.

And, you know what, look at another course. I'll tell you something: these other courses, they are no better than the other ones. None of them go over the AICPA blueprints. The blueprints! If you walk away with one thing today, it's the word “blueprint”. Those are the tests. We go over that. Ron and I go over that, because we keep up with what's on the exam.

These knuckleheads that are teaching without the AICPA blueprints, they really don't know what's going on. This is what I do full-time. Ron is a full-time educator, and also, he spends a lot of time with CPA review, and he cares. He helps people. They can call him.

That's another thing. Don't try to get these other courses to call you if you have a question. Hey, they got your money up front. I want you, everyone who's listening today, to pass the exam, which is very passable. And I want you to feel that you can call me to discuss this matter, whether you're a student or not. Please, I will help you pass this exam. I promise you, I will get you through this exam. I promise you, I will make a course affordable for you because I want you to pass the exam.

I am now 75 years old. I don't have to be in CPA review anymore. I could just say, “Hey, I'm just going to relax.” I don't need this grief. I don't need the competitors who I have no respect for.

And you're probably saying, “He does this because he wants to help us?”

Yeah. Is that hard to believe? Well I don't think so. Ron does it. He cares.

So you say, I can't afford another course. Well let's just put it this way: you can't afford not to have another course! Because if you keep studying with those other garbage courses...

And also, try seeing what their support is like. They don't have any support. They are now what we call athletic supporters.

Ron: 16:25
And Phil, you know also, if you failed the part 2, 3, 4 times, another great reason to change is fresh, new materials—a fresh, new approach—using the blueprints. How can you re-study the same materials over and over and over again if you're not passing. It's like a change in scenery, right? We all need a change of scenery in our lives.

Phil: 16:51
And that's because they can't accept that maybe the course that they picked is not the right course. And also, they, the candidates, they're taking blame for failing. Get that out of your heads, alright. In fact, get it out of your head, and pick up the phone right now, and call me. Call me right here in Maryland. You can call me 7 days a week. Please call me. I want to talk to you. I want to help you. I really mean that.

And I know you don't know me—a lot of you. But I can promise you that the way I am now—the way Ron is—this is the way we are. You're not going to find too many people who really care about the students. So here, hear my number. It's area code 301, then 874-4900, extension 5. That's (301) 874-4900 ext 5.

Please call me whether you're in the class or not. Let's talk about this—and I'll be honest with you—whether you should keep using the same course or not. But, I don't think you should. I really don't. Time is worth money. And also, your ego is worth something. If you keep failing with the same course, I don't care what you say, you're going to bruise that ego more than it's bruised now. Alright?

We will help you. We really are experts. I hate to use that term, experts, but we are experts, because this is all we do. We do not do CMA. We don't do certifying internal orders. All I do with Yaeger CPA Review is prepare people for the CPA exam. Every one of our competitors is in every certification you can imagine. You can't know every certification and hold yourself as an expert.

Anyway, Ron, any last comments you want to make?

Ron: 18:59
Never give up. Right Phil? That's what our adage is. One final story about a candidate I worked with for the last two years. He's in his forties, and he took FAR for the first time about a year ago: 57. He was very discouraged. I said, “Okay, let's go now and focus on the key topics on FAR, according to me and Phil.” He took it the second time last February, 2020, and got a 65. He was still discouraged. I said, “No, no, no. That's a 20% improvement. What that tells me is that if you improve another 20% on your next attempt, you will pass.” He just took FAR in June, and he got 77. So now he has passed auditing and FAR, and Phil will be working with him on REG, and then I will help him with BEC.

Nothing thrills us more than to help candidates pass this exam and become certified. And this guy has already promised us he will be lifelong friends with us, because we have really dedicated ourselves to try and help him.

Phil: 20:07
Yeah, actually that's one thing you and I—I've had a lot of people who I've kept in touch with and...

Ron: 20:14
Remember the woman in California with BEC—took it seven times—then eight times and finally just passed and now she's certified?

Phil: 20:23
Yeah, and you encouraged her. I encouraged her. You know what, these are my famous words: I will not let you quit. If you mention the word quit, I will come over to your home and punch you in the mouth. Do not quit!

Alright, well Ron, thank you very much. I hope we gave some motivation to the people and some information. But I'll tell you, if you call us for any additional information, it's going to be honest. I'm not looking at you as a dollar sign. I'm looking at you as a person that I want to help get through the exam.

Ron, thank you very much, and by the way, ladies and gentlemen, this is a good time to study believe it or not.

Ron: 21:11

Phil: 21:11
A pandemic, people working at home. You're never going to get this opportunity ever again. And also as Ron said, we're going to start asking more complicated—we know the areas they're going to be asking—we can't divulge them as much as we'd like to, but I'm going to tell you, come July 2021, the areas are getting more and more complicated. So what do you do when they're getting more complicated? You try to get those areas out of the way as soon as they start testing them.

Ron, thank you very much again. Stay well, and I hope your wife is okay. We'll see you again, and don't forget, if you hear what I'm saying here, watch our webinar this Sunday and every Sunday. If you check our website,, you will get on the list and you'll always know what areas we're covering.

Take care everyone, stay well and we'll talk to you again.

Ron: 22:09
Take care everyone.

Phil: 22:11
Bye now.

Narrator: 22:11
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Again, thank you so much for listening, and we look forward to you tuning in next time.
is show, please rate and review on iTunes or your preferred listening platform.

Again, thank you so much for listening, and we look forward to you tuning in next time.