The business environment and Concepts (BEC) section of the CPA is the shortest section, requiring only two and one-half hours to complete. Study the following five content areas enough to know the basics. Divide your study process up among the five areas.
ⅠAREA: BUSINESS STRUCTURE, 17-23%
The testable concepts focus on the three forms of business organization: sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Candidates must know how to form, operate, and terminate each of these business forms. Questions will focus on the general characteristics of each business type and the advantages of each form of business.? Begin your BEC studies with business structures. Based on the business form, you should be able to differentiate between the rights, duties, legal obligations, and authority of owners, partners, stockholders, and management. Be able to discuss more than one corporate form of business. This area is tested mostly using words, but always be prepared to compute the allocation of partnership profits and losses.
ⅡAREA: ECONOMIC CONCEPTS, 8-12%
Economics professors would tell you the CPA exam tests primarily microeconomic concepts. Stick with the basic. Knowledge of key economic measures, such as the Consumer Price Index (COI), gross domestic product (GDP), and the gross national product (GNP) are essential. International issues are tested, and market influences are also testable topics. Remember keep your CPA exam knowledge at the general, fundamental level. Purchase up-to-date review materials, and you will find the area of economics to be quite easy.
ⅢAREA: FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, 17-23%
Just like the economic concepts area, financial topics are tested using simple examples. Cut the heart of the matter—learn the items listed in the content specifications.
ⅣAREA: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 22-28%
This area comprise almost one-third of the BEC exam. It’s the basic, fundamental knowledge that will carry you. Take it easy, keep calm, utilize a review manual, and you should be able to complete your studies here in about eight to ten hours. Not a bad return for as many as 28 points out of 100.
ⅤAREA: PLANNING AND MEASUREMENT, 22-28%
The term “planning and measurement” stumps many candidates. Spend some time acquainting yourself with the content specifications. At a bare minimum, know the definitions of all items tested.
GoPro advice: If you prefer to take two exam sections each test window, combine the BEC experience with a more difficult section, such as FAR. Prepare for the longer section first. Save BEC for later in the testing window after you have taken a short rest in between exam sections.