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Making Time to Study for the CPA Exam

The number one complaint I would hear back in my CPA review days (besides moans and groans about me being a hard ass) was, without a doubt, “I don’t have time.” Not “I’m too busy,” but “I don’t have time.” Think about the difference between those two statements for a moment. One implies that you have too much going on to make time, while the other more clearly states that you simply cannot jam 25 hours into a 24 hour day.

What many people don’t realize is that you can make time, it’s just a matter of figuring out where it’s hiding in your life.

Cruising Facebook can easily turn into a three-hour stalk-fest if you’re not careful but what about the several, quick check-ins you might make in a single day? That time adds up. Do yourself a favor and shut down TweetDeck, close out your Facebook tab and keep your phone charging in the other room so you aren’t tempted with texts and social media. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to miss anything.

Are you making the most of every break you get during the work day? You might look at me like I just licked a frog and am tripping my non-existent balls off for saying that but you do get breaks, even if you’re getting worked like a dog. They allow you to go to the bathroom, right? Bring your phone in there and do a few MCQ on your favorite app while you’re sitting there. Trust me, no one is going to bring it up if you start spending 10 extra minutes in the restroom a day, no one wants to have that conversation.

What about mornings? I know, it’s horrible to even consider but you could potentially have hours to study that you are wasting with sleep. Start setting your alarm an hour early to get some studying in and do it every day; after 3 weeks, your internal clock will be used to it and it’ll hurt less.

Are there things you’re doing around your house that your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/kids/cat could just as easily do? Try asking them. Maybe you don’t need to make dinner every night or do as much laundry as you do. Hand off a few chores to other people (unless you don’t have any other people to hand them off to, in which case you might consider paying for a little help around the house if you can afford it) and you’ll free up enough hours over the course of a week to get through at least two modules.

To figure out where you can make time in your life for studying, sit down and account for every single hour of every single day for a week, from the time you get up until the time you get to sleep. I bet if you actually add up those 35 minute showers, time spent folding other peoples’ laundry and the 75 different 3 minute Facebook peeks you make, you’ll realize you have more time to study than you thought.

A Government Shutdown Is Not an Acceptable Excuse for Blowing Off Your Tax Return

Doug Shulman wants you to put that notion right out of your mind:

Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, said that people who file electronically during a shutdown would likely not face any delays in having their returns – and potential refunds – processed. But taxpayers who file by paper, Shulman added, may see some delays. “We’ve got a 100,000 employees. Not all of them are going to be coming to work. But we’re going to have a complement here,” Shulman said. “The nuances of who is going to be doing what I’m not ready to get into. The most important thing for people to know is: We’re going to be accepting tax returns and people should file.”

So as Adrienne just mentioned, you can either ask the AICPA for help, call your tax advisor or simply curl up into a ball and shudder in the corner until the 18th passes.

IRS commissioner: You still have to file taxes during shutdown [The Hill]

Accounting News Roundup: FASB Takes Another Stab at Mark-to-Market; Property Taxes Are States’ Savior; CFOs Prefer to Get Taxes Right | 05.27.10

Proposed Overhaul of Accounting Standards Contains Mark-to-Market Rule [NYT]
The FASB has rolled out MTM 2.0 and while the usual suspects have already started belly-aching, Bob Herz insisted that “The financial crisis reinforced the need for better accounting in this area.”

The new rule will require loans and loan-related instruments to be valued at their market value immediately, thus accelerating any losses that might occur. Losses will either be booked as a hit to earnings or as a reduction in the value of the asset. The Times quotes Jack T. Ciesielski of Accounting Analyst Observer, who reassures, “It will messier to read, but if you know what you are doing you can figure it out.”

The comment period (which should yield some interesting thoughts) will run through the end of September, after which the FASB will hold roundtables discussing the rule and then make any final changes. Institutions with greater than $1 billion in assets will be required to adopt the rule in 2013 while those with less than $1 billion will have until 2017.

The Property Tax: Unsung Hero [TaxVox]
States have their property tax revenues to thank for their budgets not being in an even bigger mess than they already are, according to TaxVox. “[P]roperty tax revenues have yet to fall both because the levy tends to be backward-looking (it takes a while for assessed values to catch up with reality on both the upside and the downside) and because local governments can raise rates. The strength of the property tax was the main driver of the small positive growth in overall state and local taxes for the fourth quarter of 2009.”

If states are lucky, by the time property tax rates adjust to the reduced home values, sales and income tax revenue may be on their way to recovery. However, it’s unlikely that tax revenues will return to their previous levels which means governments may have to continue (or maybe start?) to – God forbid – cut spending.

“I Didn’t Know What ‘$’ Means” Fails as Tax Defense [TaxProf Blog]
Who let this guy out of the lab? “I am unaware of the meaning of this symbol.”

Yahoo CFO Sees Annual Revenue Growth Of 7%-10% From 2011-2013 [WSJ]
Contrary to what some might believe, Yahoo is still in business and doing quite well, thankyouverymuch. CFO Tim Morse expects things to brighten up with revenue increasing 7-10% from 2011-2013, due mostly to increased advertising business. Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft and Zynga (they make Farmville) are seen as key to the search engine competing with Google.

Survey finds tax departments more concerned with getting it right than aggressive tax planning [GT Press Release]
Grant Thornton’s latest CFO survey finds that they are more concerned with getting their taxes right than with paying less. Obviously the latter is a goal but considering the regulatory environment (i.e. Democrats are running things), it’s not the priority, despite what those people running for re-election might tell you.