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>75: Who Is Going to Pay for My CPA Exam Materials?

empty wallet.jpgEditor’s note: Welcome to latest edition of >75, our weekly post on questions that you have related to the CPA Exam. Send your questions to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer as many of them as possible. You can see all of the JDA’s posts for GC here and all our posts related to the CPA Exam here.
It’s a question I get all the time at work. “I’m starting with such-and-such firm, do they pay for your CPA review course?”

So! A commentator asks >75 the same question:

I did a bit of research, and it turns out that PwC is the most generous – paying for Becker + Flashcards, while E&Y will not pay for the Flashcards, and KPMG apparently requiring [sic] its staff to attend live classes offered by Becker, and have signed attendance sheet to get the reimbursement.

First of all, smarty, what makes you think pre-packaged flash cards are your secret to CPA exam success? If anything, it has been my professional experience that candidates who make their own flashcards do better than those who rely on a review course to make them on their behalf. I had a student who admitted his handwriting was so bad even he couldn’t read it but just the act of creating a set of note cards for FAR helped him reinforce the key topics. So just because you get a bunch of shit for free doesn’t mean you’re any better off than the guy who had to charge his review course or skip a couple happy hours to pay for it.
As you probably know, the firms do not discuss their agreements. I know what they are but I’m not telling either. That being said, in this economy, I’m not sure if you think you’re going to get a free CPA Review ride. Um, you did comment on a layoff post after all.
I deal with quite a few public accounting HR staff as a result of my job and let me give you a hint: there’s no such thing as a free ride on the other end. They are reluctant to hire if they think they will be used for a free review course and a CPA to sign off on hours like some cheap whore.
The firms are tightening their belts and they are most certainly being more conservative about hiring bodies to fill chairs and kicking down $1,500 – $3,000 for review courses. You might be sick of it too if you paid for staff member after staff member only to be abandoned the minute that staff hits 2 years. Those days are over.
My advice? Ask around but don’t count on it and don’t you dare let on that you care in an interview; HR managers that I know will instantly – albeit silently – slide your pathetic little resume to the bottom of the pile in favor of someone who has already started on the CPA exam process without their hand out.
As someone on the original post from which this question came said:

all of you, seriously, this is the most important thing right now to you?? suck it up and take the exam. it is not your god given right to get reimbursed for everything. and besides, you morons missed the biggest things about the exam and passing it – the bonuses firms pay to pass it. the reimbursement is the smallest piece of it. the bonus is the bigger issue. but you are so busy talking nonsense about flashcards you miss the big picture. you should have been part of the lay offs

Amen! (Someone please tell me that guy passed??)