I am hoping someone here can help me out with taking the CPA exam. Background on me, I have an MBA and have worked as a financial manager for the past 15 years in academia-- I am responsible for all AP/AR, budgets, journals, reporting and end of year closings. I have wanted to extend my credentials lately, mainly due to the economy; if I get laid off, which is a real possibility, the more letters attached to my name the better. There are a lot of people with my qualifications who are out of work right now due to massive layoffs; for every opening there are hundreds of applicants. In your opinion, what is the best CPA prep course to take and how long did you study before taking the test? I know it is best to take it as soon as possible after leaving school, which I did not do; while I remember some of my classes and can do the work I don't remember the theories behind them. It is rote for me. How long did it take you to take all 4 sections of the test? Should I plan on a year to complete the prep course and test? How many weeks do the prep courses run? Why I am asking is there is a good chance I can get the prep work and cost of the test covered by my work, we have a large reserve fund that can be used for professional development. Normally, the professional development fund is exclusively for our web team or Senior Managers but they didn't use and now they are "allowing" the rest of the staff a crack at it. Really short notice for us as the fiscal year ends in 2 months and it is impossible to complete anything other than short classes like powerpoint, excel and Word enhancement courses. Once the fiscal year closes the money is gone.