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Illinois Will Soon Let You Sit for the CPA Exam With 120 Units, Should All States?

“What are they gonna do, stop requiring 150 units? THAT’S CRAZY.” That’s what a stakeholder told me recently when we spoke about the accountant shortage and the growing gap between students getting accounting degrees and recent graduates sitting for the CPA exam. Fewer people are pursuing accounting degrees and the ones that are have been […]

Deloitte Is Giving Unemployed Gig Workers In Some States Something Extra to Worry About

Imagine being an out-of-work independent contractor living in Ohio during this pandemic, anxious and unsure of when you’re actually going to get some financial assistance from the state because Ohio’s unemployment systems are being blown up with regular unemployment claims. Finally you get word that you can now file for unemployment benefits through the new […]

Let’s Dig Into Some Illinois College CPA Exam Results!

Continuing with our 2011 CPA exam performance series, today we're going to look at Illinois schools. While we won't be hitting the small states like NJ, MI, OH, AK, etc, we're up for suggestions if you guys would like to see certain data. CPA exam March Madness perhaps? If you have a specific suggestion that […]

Recruiting: “There Is No Need to be Bitter”

Lifted from the comments in response to someone who pointed out the Big 4 don't make a habit of overstaffing Meet the Firms at University of Illinois at Chicago – that's if they show up at all: There is no need to be bitter because that is the way it is. Unfortunately firms still go […]

Chicago-based Recruiting Firm Should Keep in Mind That the City of Dixon Would Jump at the Chance to Switch Places

Shaun Horan is no Rita Crundwell (allegedly!): A former Oak Brook accountant stole nearly $300,000 from his employer by writing checks to himself over a five-year span, prosecutors said Wednesday. Shaun Horan, 31, of the 1600 block of Blackwell Lane in Aurora, appeared in DuPage County bond court on a felony theft charge. Horan is accused of […]

Somehow the City of Dixon, Illinois Just Noticed That $30 Million Was Missing

Rita Crundwell has been the CFO/comptroller of Dixon, Illinois since the 1980s; a typical tenure for even an unelected Illinois official. In those 30-ish years, it appears that she performed her duties adequately enough, but she was just put on unpaid leave. You see, at some point in 2006, it is alleged that Ms. Crundwell […]

2010 CPA Exam All-Stars, Illinois Edition

This one's for my FIBs! Based on the 2011 Candidate Performance book (2010 CPA exam data), Illinois ranked 4th in size of the 55th NASBA jurisdictions (trumped only by California, New York and Texas) and ranked 10th in overall CPA exam performance. 4,274 Illinois candidates sat for the exam in 2010 and they took 2,509 […]

The Illinois Board of Examiners Responds to One Provisional CPA Exam Candidate

In my line of work, it's rare that I actually get to follow up on stories I've done. Sure, I might get the occasional email from a former CPA exam candidate or a PRtard pissed at whatever it was I wrote but for the most part, I write it, you guys take over the comments […]

Provisional CPA Exam Candidate From Illinois Is Just Now Realizing What “Provisional” Means

I can’t believe it but finally, a CPA exam question I’ve never answered before. I have a feeling our confused candidate already knows the answer but is reaching out in hopes that we’ll tell him what he wants to hear instead of the cold, hard truth. Sorry in advance, bro.

Hello GC,

I just took the FAR section of my CPA exam, I did this while completing my final 9 hours of the 150 hours needed. Therefore, I am considered a provision candidate. From what I have read Illinois will not inform me of my score (is this some sort of sick joke), since I am a provisional student, until my final transcripts are turned into them. The earliest that I will have my final transcripts will be January 2nd. This presents a problem because I was planning on retaking the test if I failed, before I start full time at a big 4 firm on January 3rd. Is there a way around this? What should I do? Should I just enjoy my month break and worry about taking it again after busy season if I did fail? Should I study up again while the information is still fresh?

Also I did fell very prepared taking the test and I would say I am fairly confident that I passed the exam. But who knows until I see the official score.



I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Confused, but you’re not only confused, you’re screwed on top of it.

According to the Illinois Board of Examiners, provisional candidates have 120 days from the date they take their exam to submit their final transcript to the board. If you miss the 120-day deadline, your exam scores will be voided and you will be ineligible to sit for any sections of the exam until the final transcript is received and you are determined eligible to test. Until your Provisional Status is cleared, you cannot view or receive any exam scores.

What this means to you is that there is nothing you can do until you have those transcripts. I commend you for trying to get a jump on your CPA exam adventure this early in the game but you may have ended up screwing yourself. If you fail, you may have to start studying for that section again from scratch as you’ll likely have forgotten quite a bit by the time you find out you failed. If you pass, your 18 months has started ticking but you’ve lost time waiting around to wrap up school.

And yes, if you failed, wait until you are able to study to attempt again since you don’t have an 18 month window to worry about. No reason running yourself into the ground if you don’t have to.

What’s the lesson to be learned here? Always make reality part of your plan; unless you knew of a trick around this going into it, it was unrealistic to make a plan that you couldn’t actually implement.

Sorry but them’s the breaks.

Are the Big 4 Starting to Demand Higher GPAs From New Recruits?

Ed. note: Got a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].

Hi GC,

I am a longtime reader of this website and it has never failed me so here I go once more – some Big Four positions just got posted to our school’s résumé submission website here at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. PwC internship and full time positions have a minimum required GPA of 3.4 while EY is 3.2 and KPMG is 3.0. Deloitte’s have not been posted. I know our school isn’t the greatest in accounting [Ed. note: huh?]and the public accounting profession pales in comparison to investment banking and management consulting but a 3.4 MINIMUM GPA to apply??

Last year’s minimum GPA was 3.0 to apply which was understandable but this new recruiting team from PwC increased the GPA by 0.4. Do they feel like someone is throwing out GPA points like Bernanke is throwing out dollars? Would it be kosher to change my 3.37 GPA to 3.4/4.0 on my resume to qualify for on campus interviews?

Drinking Beer in Champaign

Dear DBinC,

I’m always glad to throw a loyal reader some freebie advice. Thanks for checkin’ in with us.

First of all, forget that last year’s GPA requirement was 0.4 points lower; last year is irrelevant. Put your game face on and rise to the challenge.

Yes, absolutely round your 3.37 up to a 3.4. That’s fair game. In fact, this is a non-issue.

Also, take two minutes of your time to figure out what your major-specific GPA is. Should that be higher than the 3.4 cumulative GPA, add it to your résumé as well. There’s no reason that Intro to Woodcarving should hurt your chances of interning with one of the Big 4.

Why are the GPA requirements rising? To weed out résumés, obviously. Why look through 500 when you can whittle things down to 400 by cutting out the bottom? If you fall into this range, beg, borrow, and NETWORK your way to an interview. Circumstances are individual – if you have a story or reason as to why you’re on the cusp, track down the recruiter (not a audit/tax professional) at the career fair and state your case. Hard work can be rewarded in cases like this.

Illinois Candidate Caught Cheating on the CPA Exam

We have better things to do than comb through the minutes of each accountancy board’s meetings, so thanks to the tipster who obviously doesn’t and sent in the following tip from the January 25, 2011 minutes of the Illinois Board of Accountancy:

b. Mr. [Richard] York led a discussion regarding a recent candidate caught cheating by Prometric. The Committee agreed with the Executive Director’s recommendation to void the candidate’s scores for that examination. It was agreed by the Board to implement a prohibition of testing privilege for 2-5 years as provided by Administrative Rule for future candidates caught cheating.

It’s common knowledge that if you are caught cheating on the CPA exam you should expect for your scores to be thrown out and will likely receive some sort of administrative penalty (such as being barred from taking the exam again for a certain number of years) but this is the first reference I have seen to an actual candidate getting busted.

How does one go about cheating on the CPA exam anyway? With countless questions completely locked down by the AICPA, how could a candidate cheat? Sharpie notes on the palm of his hand? Smuggled in snot rags?

The official line on cheating from the AICPA, NASBA and Prometric goes something like this:

The Boards of Accountancy, NASBA and the AICPA take candidate misconduct, including cheating on the Uniform CPA Examination, very seriously. If a Board of Accountancy determines that a candidate is culpable of misconduct or has cheated, the candidate will be subject to a variety of penalties including, but not limited to, invalidation of grades, disqualification from subsequent examination administrations, and civil and criminal penalties. In cases where candidate misconduct or cheating is discovered after a candidate has obtained a CPA license or certificate, a Board of Accountancy may rescind the license or certificate.

If the test center staff suspects misconduct, a warning will be given to the candidate for any of the following situations:
· Communicating, orally or otherwise, with another candidate or person
· Copying from or looking at another candidate’s materials or workstation
· Allowing another candidate to copy from or look at materials or workstation
· Giving or receiving assistance in answering examination questions or problems
· Reading examination questions or simulations aloud
· Engaging in conduct that interferes with the administration of the examination or unnecessarily
disturbing staff or other candidates

Grounds for confiscation of a prohibited item and warning the candidate include:
· Possession of any prohibited item (whether or not in use) inside, or while entering or exiting the testing room
· Use of any prohibited item during a break in a manner that could result in cheating or the removal of examination questions or simulations

Inquiring minds are dying to know what went down.

The scariest part is that in 2 – 5 years, this candidate can head back into Prometric and give it another shot. Looks like it’s payroll clerking it in the meantime.

Illinois Tax Policy, Once Again, Fails to Impress

Known smartypants George Will took the state of Illinois to task over the weekend for their less-than friendly tax policy. He tells an anecdote of Tim Storm, a business owner that relocated his company to Beloit, Wisconsin from Rockton, Illinois which is a whopping five miles away. This was, at least in part, due to the state’s recently enacted “Amazon tax”:

Illinois, comprehensively misgoverned and ravenous for revenue, has enacted what has come to be called an “Amazon tax.” It requires Amazon and other online retailers to collect the state’s sales tax. Amazon and many other retailers responded by severing their connections with their Illinois affiliates.

Not only is GW all over Illinois’s decision to go after online retailers for sales tax, he also reminds everyone that the pols in the Land of Lincoln did a number on individual and corporate income tax rates:

In January, a lame-duck session of Illinois’ legislature — including 18 Democrats who were defeated in November — raised the personal income tax 67 percent and the corporate tax almost 50 percent. This and the increase — from 3 percent to 5 percent — in the tax on small businesses make Illinois, as the Wall Street Journal says, “one of the most expensive places in the world to conduct business.”

So as you can see, Illinois is on the ropes for its fiscal (mis)steps. Of course, Will isn’t the first person to call out the state for being a little tax happy, as Americans for Tax Reform was all over Illinois for this back in January. Of course, ATR managed to criticize the policy in a snarky Swede fashion as opposed to a bowtie-wearing polymathic diatribe. For obvious reasons, we’re partial to the former.

Working up a tax storm in Illinois [WaPo]