As of July 1, 2016, the Document Review Simulations (DRS) are now on the CPA Exam. I have to admit that every time something new gets introduced into the exam, it brings about a bit of anxiety. I can remember feeling nervous, as well, when the AICPA began preparing candidates for the inclusion of IFRS on the exam. Not knowing how new formats and contexts will affect your exam performance increases the amount of uncertainty that already comes along with sitting for the exam.
But, as it turns out, the IFRS changes were not so bad after all—and neither are the DRSs. After doing a little research on what the DRS changes will entail, I realized that it wasn’t as intimidating as it first appeared and in fact is a crucial component I’m already performing at work and will no doubt help future CPAs such as myself be even more adequate at their jobs.
DRSs are just like any other TBS in that it simulates a real life accounting scenario.
You will still be asked to apply your knowledge and understanding of a topic area to that particular situation. The exception is that you will be provided with several support documents that will help you arrive at the correct answer. As it relates to accounting, documentation plays a huge role in explaining details such as cost allocations, depreciation expenses, general ledger balances, and much more. Balance sheets and income statements will need to be reviewed by the accountant for correctness. Just like any other accountant, we will be expected to apply our knowledge of how to appropriately review documents to solve an accounting problem.
In my previous job as an internal auditor, supporting documentation was the foundation of every finding that was noted.
These documents often provided crucial details regarding a transaction, such as why it occurred, who approved it, whether or not the charge was valid, or if sales tax was paid in error (because I work in government, local sales tax is exempt), etc.
Some of the documents I often reviewed included receipts, invoices, and bank statements just to name a few. Currently, I am a Finance Officer for a large department within government that is responsible for managing millions of dollars. I also pay bills that total substantial amounts. In order to do this successfully, I have to ensure that I review the invoices for accuracy and to ensure that all of the information needed to process it correctly is present on the document.
If anything is processed incorrectly, or if I overlook pertinent information, it could cause unnecessary delays that could hinder important projects from being progressive. With that in mind, reviewing documents correctly is a huge crux in the accounting and finance realm.
I would strongly recommend that all candidates visit the AICPA’s website and become comfortable with the format of these new DRSs.
This is what I plan to do as well so that I do not waste time trying to familiarize myself with it while actually taking the exam. An added benefit is that the Authoritative Language is still there to help you along the way. In order to provide reasonable assurance that financial statements are fairly stated, you must be able to correctly review information that you are relying on to support it.
These new simulations will be beneficial to a CPA candidate in any area of accounting because reviewing document is something that those in our profession will always be required to do. And doing that accurately is the basis of good accounting work.
--Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review