Struggling with Governmental Accounting

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    Mark CPA

    I feel like a loser as of the moment. I am an international student currently preparing for FAR. I am using Gleim and I really enjoyed how they organized the topics and stuff. However, I have been reviewing for the 2nd week now about Governmental Accounting- Modified Accrual Basis and still I have not moved on from this topic. I am working full time by the way and only have two hours to study during weekdays and have two weekends off. I balance things even during weekend and give myself a break in between. I still have 2 more chapters to go after this. I am taking the exam for all of the four subjects next year (last quarter of 2021). I want to review all of the four subjects as early as possible for me to be familiar with the topics when I run down to review them. I plan to have my final review for each subject one month before the exam date. With this, kindly help regarding my situation about Governmental Accounting and how I can thoroughly grasp this topic. I feel like I am just answering question based on my knowledge about Accrual Basis. Estimated percentage which I understood about the topic is around 30%. Every time I take an exam, my exam score ranges from 55 to 60%. Any helpful tips will be greatly appreciated.


    The main difference between modified accrual and accrual basis is the way assets are treated. Instead of capitalizing assets you fully expense them when purchased. This is called “expenditure.” There is no depreciation expense under modified accrual. Also, revenues & expenses are typically recognized when received / spent, not earned / incurred. Similar to cash flows accounting. There are exceptions to this however; property taxes can be accrued as revenue before received.
    Government was one of my least favorite subject in FAR review. Don't worry too much about memorizing every journal entry, just walk through them. Just remember what is unique like encumbrance (budget).
    The AICPA blueprints say 5-15% of the exam. Doesn't seem like that much but 15% equates to 30% of the MC.

    REG - 91 (May 18 2020)

    FAR - 89 (Aug 24 2020)

    BEC - 95 (Sept 28 2020)

    AUD - 90 (Nov 12 2020)


    Two points:
    1. Governmental is only 5-15% of the exam.
    2. It's mostly at the remembering/understanding & application level in the blueprints so it is extremely unlikely you'll get a sim on it.

    Given this, it will mostly come down to memorization. I wouldn't worry too much about it and skip it for now. Use the Gleim MCQ testbank to drill it your last couple of weeks until you are getting 75%+ on your review session. I watched a bunch of Farhat's lectures on YouTube and even with that it's still a big confusing mess in my brain.

    AUD - NINJA in Training
    BEC - 91
    FAR - 97
    REG - 99

    Farhat lectures rock for governmental n nonprofit and other CPA resources. If you're cheap like me, take advantage of his lectures.

    AUD - 70
    BEC - 76
    FAR - 80
    REG - 77
    FAR 57,61,57,56,68, 80

    REG 53,49,69,66, 79*,77

    AUD 39,66,72,73,66,70😭

    BEC 64,60,50,70,67,71,76

    "Theres no limit unless you allow it"


    Mark CPA

    Hi Water. Thanks for the tip. Maybe I am just trying to drill with the lectures especially the journal entries which kinda worries me too much since I wanted to stick them all in my mind. Well, at the end of the day, I do not want to underestimate this topic. I am going to read through them and I guess to familiarize them further.

    Mark CPA

    Hi DS. I just remembered few days ago that I have the option of the MCQ testbank and currently drilling on them now. Thanks for the tip. Yea, I saw one video of Prof. Farhat in youtube. I might try and check. Thanks bud!

    Mark CPA

    Hey CPAHOPE. I am willing to be cheap just to pass the exam. haha! I will check his lecture. Thanks so much!


    Governmental accounting is hard I know, it's not like regular accrual accounting so it can get confusing at times. I use Roger and he has a funny mnemonic to remember the different funds.
    For the modified accrual:
    PDConsents-to-Smoking Grass:
    Debt Service
    Capital Projects
    Special revenue

    and for accrual:
    Internal service
    Pension trust
    Investment trust
    Private-purpose trust
    Agency (Custodial)

    In general I highly recommend Roger! Even just to help you get through governmental accounting its worth to buy the FAR section. The way he teaches it is very intuitive, quick and easy to understand. I don't think there is a better review course out there. Good luck!

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