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Can Commas Spell Doom on the CPA Exam?

Finally, a reader question. I've been so hard up for emails from you guys that I've actually considered trolling myself. If you have a CPA exam question, please (and I mean PLEASE) hit me up.

Dear Adrienne,

I am an avid reader on hiatus while imprisoned for crimes against God and man (taking the CPA). My problem is this: I am studying for REG using both Becker Review Course and Wiley test bank. I haven't taken a full practice test with Becker, but I have with Wiley. That's a big enough problem, but my real concern is that I am putting the right numbers into the Wiley simulations, and I am getting wrong answers because they want commas or didn't want me to put zeroes in the right hand column of the tax return (but gave me the option to), etc. Does the CPA Exam grade similarly? I will be more than pissed if I go in there knowing how to set a corporate tax return on fire, but fail because of a technicality.

Because it's been awhile since I've been out the CPA review game, I reached out to the AICPA examinations team for an official answer, which is provided for your learning pleasure below:

My first recommendation for any candidate that has questions regarding functionality on the Exam would be to try the Sample Test found on the Exams website, which mirrors the functionality of the live Exam.

For this specific issue, here’s the functionality:

·         Candidates enter just the number in our software – the cells in the spreadsheets are formatted to provide the commas automatically. 

·         As for zeros – the candidate is instructed to enter a zero if the zero must be there for credit.  If not directed thusly, the candidate has the option of entering a zero or leaving a blank and either will be accepted.  To be safe (i.e., to guard against missing the direction), it is always safe to enter a zero.

Hope that helps! Thanks to the AICPA for clearing it up, you guys are the best.