Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you schedule so many classes in Dallas instead of coming to my city with your seminar?
I'm uncomfortable in big classes. How many people are in your seminars?
Why are most of your courses offered over a weekend?
How is AIS different
from other CPA review courses?
Should I take the seminar
early or right before the exam?
Should I take the seminar or
study the self study books?
When I call the AIS office,
who will I talk to?
When will the seminar
workbooks be ready to ship?
How much out of course study
time is required for the seminar?
Is it safe to register for
the seminar on-line?
What are your in-house courses?
Is there a way to fly to the
course without spending so much?
I can't afford the seminar.
What should I do?
Can I show up at the door and
sign up for the course just before it starts?
Seminar conflicts with
Where is AIS going to be
offering seminars for the next exam window?
Since you schedule on requests, couldn't I request the same course with several e-mail addresses?
price? I'm having trouble reading
your self study review e-books.
Why do you stop enrolling when meeting rooms fill instead of moving to a larger
Have you thought about using one of the on-line meeting platforms?
THE SEMINARS AND SELF STUDY BOOKS
THE CPA EXAM
Should I study for just one section at a time?
Can I apply to another state for a CPA certificate?
What classes will be most beneficial to meet the 150 hour requirement?
Which accounting class would be more beneficial for the CPA exam, Govt & nonProfit or Advanced Acctg?
ACCOUNTING INSTITUTE SEMINARS (AIS)
Why was AIS started and who
Did the instructors ever pass
the CPA exam?
What do the instructors do
when they aren't teaching AIS courses?
You can reach Accounting Institute Seminars® toll free at (800) 635-9442
Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 Mountain time. The regular phone number is
(208) 233-3222 and the fax number is (208) 234-2154. The mailing address is:
Accounting Institute Seminars®, P.O. Box 4520, Pocatello, Idaho 83205-4520.
We find that hotel rates and the cost of airline tickets influence where people are willing to travel for the seminar. In most cities we haven't found any hotels with quiet meeting rooms, with reasonable sleeping room rates, that are in nice neighborhoods with plenty of restaurants nearby, and are near a convenient low cost airport.
The Dallas hotel is between the two major airports in Dallas, DFW and Love Field. It is very easy to fly to and many airlines compete strongly with low fares to Dallas. People from other parts of the country prefer the lower costs of Dallas to higher costs in other cities. It isn't our preference that determines where we schedule classes - it is the locations people request, and the requests are for Dallas. You can REQUEST A COURSE.
Just E-MAIL your preferred city, dates. and sections to
We try to keep our classes small by offering more courses nearby if needed.
Every course we've offered so far for the computerized exam has had fewer than 25 students in the classroom.
Most of the people who take our seminars work during the week.
We search out hotels with quiet, comfortable meeting rooms.
Those hotels often offer lower weekend sleeping room rates to fill empty rooms.
People who fly to the course usually find fares are lower if they stay over a Saturday night.
Those who wish to rent a car find weekend rates are lower than during the week.
The combination of these factors lowers the cost to those attending the course significantly.
The AIS difference is simple. We feel that the author of the course, in
person, can do a better job helping you understand the material tested on the
CPA exam than a hired hand or a video.
Many other courses try and teach
you everything that has ever appeared on the exam, no matter how unlikely it is
to appear again. We try to focus our course on understanding the rules behind
the items most likely to appear on this exam, without memorizing the answers to
thousands of old questions they won't ask again.
The exam has changed
since it became secured. They use computer technology to keep track of how many
people miss questions, so they know which questions are out there in the study
materials. They don't ask questions everyone has memorized.
you got right to the point of our course "less problem solving and better
results." We do use some questions in our course and give you some for homework.
But most are questions we've made up ourselves to illustrate how we think the
current rules will be tested, and to improve your understanding of the rules.
Once you have that understanding in your mind, it doesn't matter what tack they
take in asking about the rule. You can reason out the answer on the exam.
When you compare CPA review courses, ask yourself who will be teaching
the class, the author of the course, or a hired presenter? The author of the
course will be with AIS.
Ask yourself who will be at the course to
answer your questions. The author of the course will be with AIS.
yourself who will answer e-mail questions you send while studying outside of
class. The author of the course will with AIS.
Remember if you decide the seminar
isn't what you need, you can turn in your workbook during the first two hours
and we will be happy to refund 100% of the course fee. Very few people take
advantage of that. And typically, when they do, the reason is the illness of a
child or parent - and that person is in the front row of the class a few weeks later.
The people who do the best study the
workbook after the seminar and before the exam. An average of 2-3 hours per day of concentrated study in a quiet place
works best. Those who do that identify their own important
weaknesses in the course and have time to address those weaknesses. Working the
homework and studying the summaries reinforces what people learned in the course
so they find it easier to recall in the exam.
We ask people in our
courses who have taken the exam previously for their scores before and after our
course, and compare to find the increase in score. Consistently, when we've done
a linear regression, people who sit for the exam one to two weeks after the seminar have the highest improvement over their previous exam scores.
On the other hand, we have had people in our seminar who had been studying hard on their own and who scheduled their exam the day after that section of the seminar. They told us the intense last-minute review worked very well for them.
The people who enroll in the seminar are usually very busy and short of
time. They tell us the hours spent in the seminar are by far the most productive
hours of their limited study program.
People who have plenty of time to
study them carefully find our self study
books can add more points to their score than just taking the seminar. That
works best for people who are "self-starters" who can stick to a rigorous study
The seminar communicates test-taking strategy better since we
can answer your questions and illustrate specific suggestions in person, things which are difficult to do in a
When you call AIS you will probably talk to Yvette or Jenn. They are
very good at answering most non-technical questions and getting books to people
by Federal Express anywhere in the world. They aren't accountants. If you call
on weekends or after working hours you can leave your number on the voice mail
and the office will call you back.
If you would like to ask Yvette questions
via email you can reach her
Please don't send credit card
numbers in e-mail messages. Such messages are not secure from prying eyes in
The seminar workbooks are rewritten after each exam window for the next series of
seminars. To be sure the workbook is as up to date as possible for the next
exam, the workbook isn't finalized until the office starts shipping. The
initial shipment of seminar workbooks for each two month exam window is scheduled for two weeks before that window.
It is helpful (but not required by any stretch of the imagination) to read
the summaries before the course. People who are able to do so are better able to
keep up with the fast pace of the course. To read the summaries takes 10 - 15 hours
per section. Many people have taken the course right before the exam and gone on
to pass without having time to do more than read the summaries before the exam.
The instructors don't embarrass people by putting them on the spot during the
course. The instructor is there to help them, not to make them feel
Those who take the course the last week before their exam is scheduled sometimes find they don't have time to do all the reading and
homework they would like unless they started early. It is in a person's best
interest to sign up and receive their workbook well in advance.
of seminar enrollments are on-line. None of the people who have registered
on-line have reported any problem. Our course evaluation asks people how they
were treated when they contacted our office, and most people who registered
on-line said they had no reason to contact the office and liked the on-line
Our on-line registration uses a secure server.
You can tell if a server is encrypted to safeguard your credit card number.
Look at the "Address" in your web browser. If it starts with "https://" the server is encrypted.
The "s" means it is a secure, encrypted server.
If you are uncomfortable sending your credit card number over the Internet, you might
prefer to print our registration
form, then fax the completed form to the office. Like on-line registration,
you can do that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere.
Our in-house courses are in the meeting rooms of firms, companies, and government agencies.
When they have a number of people ready to sit for a particular exam section we will teach a class in their office.
Those classes aren't open to the public since they are usually taught over a weekend in an office where security is a significant issue.
Our minimum number of students in a section is ten.
Because the firm provides the meeting room and handles the registration we are able to offer the class at a cost of 80% the normal course fee.
Some CPA firms have wanted the class even though they had fewer than ten people ready to take a section.
They invited employees of clients who are sitting for the exam to take the class at no charge.
The firm paid the minimum fee for ten people in any case, so there was no extra cost to the firm.
The goodwill from those additional people was apparent throughout the class.
If you'd like a proposal for an in-house class at your firm call us at 800-635-9442 (weekdays 9 to 5 Mountain Time) or send an e-mail to
YvetteH at with location, approximate dates, exam sections, and number of people.
Southwest Airlines flies to airports near several seminar
locations They generally charge less than the traditional air carriers by not
serving meals, packing people in, laughing a lot, and keeping their jets
extremely busy with lots of flights. They try to save the commission airlines
pay travel agents by encouraging passengers to buy their tickets directly from
the airline. They continue to expand.
Many firms are happy to pay the cost of the seminar if it keeps their bright
stars concentrating on work instead of being distracted with study for the exam.
If your firm won't pay it all maybe they will cover part of the cost. Your
scores are very close to passing. If your firm won't help with the cost, you
might consider taking just one section of the seminar. The strategy you learn
for approaching the exam will apply to the other section as well.
Our first priority is to try and help those people pass the exam who sign up
and start studying early. We can help them more than people who haven't done
advance preparation. As a result, we don't reserve seats in advance for others.
If possible, please call our office
weekdays between 9 and 5 Mountain Time at 800.635.9442 or e-mail Yvette at
so your materials will be available.
We've had people with similar restrictions who wanted to take the class
before. Some chose not to take our seminar sections offered on their religious day. Instead, they used
our self study books.
came to the course, and listened to the lectures, but didn't take notes or work
questions. They did those later.
We would like to have seminars just down the block from everyone who sends in a request, but Ken Smith and Al Francisco (the course authors) teach all the classes in person. There just aren’t enough weeks in the year for us to teach an in-person course for everyone who requests a class. Because of this, almost everyone who takes our seminar has to travel. We hope you find it convenient to join the others flying in Thursday or Friday and back out Sunday evening!
You can REQUEST A COURSE.
Just E-MAIL your preferred city, dates and sections to
AIS seminar locations are those most requested by people who would like to take the seminar.
Many people take the exam late in a testing window so they don't have to wait as long for scores.
Because of that we generally offer courses on Friday/Saturday/Sunday during the first six weeks of each window.
Information about seminar locations for the next exam window appears on
the web page at www.AIS-CPA.com as soon as locations have been selected.
Recently Boise, Dallas, Nashville, and Houston have been most requested. People tell us they like these cities because:
We also offer in-house CPA exam review courses for staff members of firms and corporations. Let us know with an e-mail to the address above with location, approximate dates, exam sections, and number of people if you'd like a proposal.
- They are very easy and affordable to fly to – Southwest has a hub at each.
- There are many restaurants near the hotel.
- The sleeping room rates are quite reasonable compared to many other cities.
You could, and people have done that, but you probably don't want to. A lady in Nashville used several e-mail addresses to request a section there, and we taught it. But we had recently taught the same section there, so few other people were interested. She was one of two people in the class and both of them found it difficult to ask questions and stay alert for the entire class. People get much more out of the class when it is the normal 10 or 15 people and they can learn from each other. They can also share the jobs of asking questions and interacting with the instructor.
We offer a 15% discount for people who have taken a section of the seminar to
repeat that section provided they register at least a week in advance to repeat.
There is no other discount. The price is the same whether you attend part or all
of a section because your seat is not available to other students during the
time you are there. We do make paper and electronic (for download to your
computer) self study books available for people who are unable to attend our
in-person seminar. For details, see the self study books.
You offer a 15% discount for people who have previously taken a section of
your seminar to repeat that section, but only if they enroll at least a week in
advance to repeat. Why can't I just show up at the seminar and still get the
The purpose of the discount is to encourage people to enroll in advance so
the office can prepare their workbook and ship it to them. The instructor at the
course should be spending time answering your study questions and helping you
learn the material, not enrolling other people in the class and preparing
workbooks for them. The instructors at the seminar do not have access to the
information necessary to grant a repeat discount. That information on prior
courses is available only in the office.
The quality of the course is the reason. We estimate future seminar
enrollments in various cities based on past enrollments, then we look for a
meeting room that will hold that many people comfortably. The most important
criteria is that the meeting room be quiet, so that everyone in the room can see
the screen and can hear the instructor clearly. We also consider the ease with
which people can drive and fly to that location. Very few hotels have a larger,
quiet, comfortable, meeting room available at the last minute. Once we find
enrollments are larger than we had anticipated, it isn't fair to ask all the
people who have already made plans to attend the meeting at that hotel to change
to another hotel for the convenience of a few people who decide to sign up at
the last minute.
We wish we could find a platform that would simulate an in-person class. We've tried recording lectures, but we're terrible actors.
Instead, we're teachers, and we vary the class depending on the reactions of people in it. People ask questions during the class. Also, we can tell by looking at the expressions on faces in the room. If a section is confusing we slow down and find other examples - if people seem to be bored and know an area well we go through it faster.
Interactions between people in the class seem important too - a one person class doesn't work. Having a group of 15 or 20 people seems to motivate people to stay awake and try to solve the in-class questions.
People also ask questions before and after the class by e-mail and we answer those quickly and completely. That helps us learn about how one group differs from others.
And people tell us it really helps to get away from home and the office distractions - they are there with other people who are also focused on study for the exam and that greatly improves the efficiency of their learning.
Some people learn better by self study at their own pace and we've written a series of self study books (available as paper books and in PDF form as e-books) for them. But we still give them our e-mail addresses and respond to their study questions, which seems to help them as well as help us improve the books for future readers.
We'll keep looking at various Internet platforms, but so far none provide the advantages we've found of an in-person class.
With global warming and the likely increasing cost of travel, both financially and environmentally, going to the central course location looks less and less desirable, so we're serious about finding an on-line alternative if we can find one that helps people with the exam as well as in-person classes.
It is a more efficient use of your study time to study for sections together.
You won't know which audit report to issue unless you know the FAR rules that the financial statements must follow, so understanding FAR is worth points on the Audit exam.
Similarly, studying audit reports for financial statements prepared under various accounting principles improves your understanding of those principles and earns you more points on FAR.
Also, parts of BEC provides a basis for the REG exam. It is an efficient use of your time to study for those two sections together.
We suggest that people who haven't passed any sections take our seminar for two exam sections in a test window.
You might schedule your exam sections one to two weeks apart, then concentrate on the upcoming section only during each of those periods.
The sections of the exam are cumulative; that is, some sections assume you know material from other sections.
BEC is the basis for the others, so if you don't have credit for it you might start there.
Regulation knowledge is assumed in FAR and Audit.
Audit and Attestation assumes you have knowledge of FAR topics.
Thus, you might want to take the sections in this order: BEC, REG, FAR, AUD.
Can I apply to another state for a CPA certificate?
I live in New Jersey presently but my formal education is from outside the U.S. I was
advised by friends that applying through Delaware would be better as they have
fewer requirements. I wish to know whether I would be able to work in NJ
with a DE certificate. Will I have to retake the exam in NJ or will my
credits be accepted for NJ license ?
If you wish to open an office in NJ as a CPA you'll need a NJ CPA certificate.
If you just wish to have a CPA certificate for your resume it can be from any of the 50 states no matter where you are working.
You can apply in Delaware if they don't require residency to sit for the exam as a Delaware candidate. You can actually sit for the exam at the closest testing center to you, no matter which state to which you apply. Please scroll down the page at state education, experience and residency requirements comparison.
Once you pass the four parts of the exam and become a Delaware CPA you can obtain a certificate in any other state by reciprocity. That means you must meet the education and experience requirements of the other state, but you are normally given credit for having passed the exam sections and wouldn't be required to retake them.
CPA exam candidates with a dual major in accounting and information systems
have the best opportunities in the job market. If a dual major isn't practical
you can major in one of those areas and minor in the other.
Be sure to
look at the current requirements of your state for specific classes. You can
find those at state board
If your 150 hours will bring you close to the
requirements for a Master's degree, you might aim for your undergraduate degree
in one of those areas and the graduate degree in the other. If you will just
have a few classes left for the Master's when you finish the 150 hours, remember
you will need continuing education classes to maintain your certificate after
you pass the exam. You can normally use those last classes for your Master's
also to meet your continuing education requirements.
People taking the
CPA exam who have been out of school several years repeatedly ask us to tell
people in school to take the exam as soon as possible. It covers academic topics
from school, not what people do on their jobs. They say the longer you wait, the
harder it is.
Good question – not many accounting students plan far enough ahead to ask questions like this!
Governmental is currently 8-12% of the FAR exam.
Nonprofit is currently 8-12% of the FAR exam.
So your Gov/Nonprofit class would prepare you for about 20% of the current FAR exam.
You can read the exact percentages for each topic at http://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam/examinationcontent/contentandskills/downloadabledocuments/csos-ssos-effective.jan2013.pdf
If you can find the course syllabus for advanced accounting at your school you should be able see which class will be of more benefit to you.
AIS was formed in the early 1970's to meet a need at Boise Cascade Corporation. Their accountants and
internal auditors needed a course to help them pass the CPA exam and none was
available. Traditional courses wouldn't work because many of the people were
internal auditors who spent most of their time away from corporate headquarters.
Who started AIS and how did it get out of Idaho?
Ken Smith and Al Francisco had recently completed their Ph.D. programs and
were new accounting faculty members at Idaho State
University. They developed a one weekend review course and taught it at
Boise Cascade's corporate headquarters. Many of the people in the course, who
had taken the exam several times, suddenly passed.
CPA firm staff members
heard about the course and traveled to Idaho to take the course. Ken and Al
started traveling to the cities they were flying from, and teaching the course
in several locations. They still do.
Both Ken and Al grew up in Montana. Ken passed all four parts of the CPA
exam in May, 1968 when he was a college senior. Ken currently holds Idaho CPA
certificate #CP-712. He received his B.S. in accounting from the University of
Montana in 1968. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in accounting at the
University of Texas (Austin) in 1971.
Al passed all four parts of the CPA
exam in May, 1967 when he was a college junior. No experience or education
beyond a high school diploma was required in Montana at that time. He had his
CPA certificate (Montana CPA #491) at age 21, before he started his senior year.
Al received his B.S. in accounting from Montana State University in 1968. He
went on to earn an M.S. in accounting at the University of Denver in 1969 and a
Ph.D. in accounting from Michigan State University in 1972.
Ken Smith is director of accounting programs at Idaho State University. He received the
University's "Teacher of the Year" award for the 1996-1997 academic year. ISU's successful curriculum is based on the AIS Intensive
Al Francisco, after many years at the University, is now spending full
time writing seminar workbooks, self study books, and this web page for
Accounting Institute Seminars®. If you take an AIS seminar, it will be taught by
either Ken or Al.
Call AIS Toll Free at (800) 635-9442
A real person in the Mountain Time zone answers this number weekdays between 9 and 5.
AIS...We provide the formula....
Accounting Institute Seminars® (AIS) provides intensive review
courses for people taking the United States CPA examination. These seminars are
taught in person by one of the two authors of the course and are offered in a
number of cities in the U.S. each year.
For information on the seminars,
return to the CPA Exam Home Page at
We also offer self study CPA exam books written by
the same authors. Most are available on-line, for download to your computer. The
electronic version is less expensive than paper books. You can magnify pages on
your screen, fill the screen (view - full screen), search for terms, and print
pages. Best of all, you can start studying it now instead of waiting days for it
Here is the list of our currently available E-BOOKS CPA REVIEW.
information on e-books or for paper copies, refer to CPA REVIEW SELF STUDY BOOKS.
Comments or questions to Yvette at
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