To become a Certified Public Accountant, you’ll need to do well on the CPA exam. This preparation is a tall order. You’ll look into CPA review programs, maybe hire a tutor, and definitely spend time with some CPA review books.
CPA books aren’t all created equal. While all good CPA exam materials will comprehensively cover all four parts of the CPA exam, they’ll do so in different ways. The best CPA review books will appeal to multiple learning styles and provide in-depth insight into the topics, practice questions, and answer explanations.
You can buy individual books, bundled sets, or supplemental materials, some of which include complete CPA study guides. Because of all of these choices, we’ve done the digging for you, and uncovered the best CPA review books we could find.
Read on to compare the cost, features, and benefits, so you can choose which materials will help you the most as you prepare for the CPA.
CPA Review Books and Study Guides in 2021
There are a few companies that are well-known for CPA exam prep. Some of these are huge test prep companies and others specialize only in CPA studying and coaching.
Although companies like Surgent CPA Review and Roger CPA Review offer full courses, we’re going to focus on the materials and textbooks. Some can be purchased separately, and some are included in the purchase of a full study program.
This article is for those who choose to self-study with books, and those who consider high-quality textbooks essential to their study plan. If you want to buy something you can trust, here are your best CPA review book options:
- Becker CPA Exam Review Book
- Gleim Accounting Book
- Lambers CPA Review Book
- Roger CPA Review Book
- Surgent CPA Review Book
- Wiley CPAexcel Exam Review Book (note: Wiley CPAexcel recently acquired Kaplan CPA, which was formerly a highly ranking program on this list)
- Yaeger CPA Review Book
Each of these has a unique approach and some have trademarked study techniques.
Top CPA Review Books Comparison
Here is a comparison of the top-rated CPA books.
|Cost per section||$649 (only with course)||$125||$25||$599 (only with course)||$49.95||$75||$79|
|All four exam sections||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Connects to a CPA review course||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Real CPA exam questions and answer explanations||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Can buy separately||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Includes study tips and materials||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Roger CPA Review Book
Roger is usually listed in the top 5 CPA review courses. They have a lot of CPA exam study materials, including various packages that cover all four parts of the exam. Roger CPA exam review programs include an app and textbooks.
These textbooks accompany the rest of the study materials. If you buy the Premier or Elite packages, you can get a printed textbook in addition to the ebook. The Roger materials are updated annually. Check out the pricing and what you get with each of the packages in our comprehensive review of Roger CPA.
Pros of Roger CPA Review Book
Roger CPA review books work well with the rest of their materials, which includes an enormous multiple choice question bank, customizable practice tests, full-length practice tests and more.
Their curriculum (and CPA review book) map to the AICPA Blueprints, ensuring a high degree of relevance and optimal test prep material. You can also get Cram Course materials, which give you an accelerated study path.
Cons of Roger CPA Review Book
The Roger CPA review book is only available with the packaged courses. These are pricey, but worth the investment if you want an effective CPA study program. For individual sections, you’ll pay $649.
Is This a Good Buy?
If you want a complete CPA review course, Roger is a great choice. They have a great track record of success and lead the industry in quality instruction and test strategies. However, because you can only buy a package deal, if you just want a textbook, this is one of the pricier ways to get one.
Surgent CPA Review Book
Surgent is another heavy hitter in the CPA test prep world (check out our review of Surgent’s CPA program). Surgent is also one of only three major CPA review programs that sell textbooks outside of a course.
These textbooks are, of course, recommended for use with the Surgent CPA review course. Surgent leverages an adaptive learning program that is high-tech and very useful in CPA exam prep. You can take dozens of practice tests, get access to broad multiple-choice question banks and access real (previous year) task-based simulations.
The textbooks are printed separately for each section of the CPA exam and themselves include not just topical content but task-based simulations and multiple choice questions.
Pros of Surgent CPA Review Book
Each Surgent CPA review book comes printed on demand, so you can order it when you need it. Surgent updates its materials quarterly, so you will literally get the most recent CPA info possible.
Cons of Surgent CPA Review Book
The Surgent CPA review book is designed to work with its study program, so some students say it will reference videos or prompt you to go to other study materials. It’s also a little pricey, at $125 per book, which adds up to $500 if you buy them individually over time.
You can save $50 if you buy the full set of 4 printed, bound textbooks at once, for $450. Here’s where to pick up that package on Surgent’s website.
Is This a Good Buy?
Surgent CPA study materials are excellent. They have helped thousands of students pass the CPA exam. If you want the highest quality textbooks but don’t want to buy a course, this is one of the best options.
Becker CPA Exam Review Book
Becker has a comprehensive CPA exam review course. If you buy the whole course, you’ll get textbooks, but they can also be bought separately. The Becker CPA books are printed in individual sections. This means you can buy the Becker CPA Financial, Regulation, Business and Auditing books.
They have additional materials, including printed or digital books on Auditing Final Review, Business Final Review, Financial Final Review and Regulation Final Review. These go further in-depth and are all updated with the latest CPA exam questions and information.
Pros of Becker CPA Exam Review Book
Becker CPA exam review books are affordable and easy to read. At $25 a pop, you’ll get a great supplement to the Becker CPA review course material. It’s also convenient that Becker segments the books out, printing each section separately. All of the info in each book is updated to reflect the most recent CPA exam material releases, so you know you’re getting up-to-date info.
Cons of Becker CPA Exam Review Book
Buying a Becker CPA exam review book can be done separate from the class, but it is printed on-demand and could take a couple of weeks to make and ship. It’s also important to realize that these aren’t huge books. There’s one for each section and then a second version for “final review” of each section. If you buy them all, it will cost $200.
Is This a Good Buy?
The Becker CPA exam review materials are high-quality. They’re authored by CPA exam experts and coaches. People who take the Becker CPA exam course enjoy how they’re directly connected to the course materials.
If you aren’t taking the Becker CPA exam course, there may be some directions and connections that aren’t relevant to your study. If you want something to supplement your study or support learning, they’re a good buy.
Gleim CPA Review Book
Gleim CPA has traditional and premium CPA reviews with a ton of features, including a CPA book. Their programs have expert instructors, videos, digital flashcards, audio lectures and the option of digital and physical books.
Gleim CPA books are updated annually to reflect the most recent CPA exam information. You can get these updates in the form of a printed supplement or digital download. Gleim is well-known for leading the industry in exceptional test prep materials.
Pros of Gleim CPA Review Book
Gleim CPA review books stand alone and are helpful to support the rest of the course materials. Their textbooks are available with annually released additions. You will get full coverage of all four sections of the CPA exam as well as scenarios and real CPA exam questions (with answer explanations).
Cons of Gleim CPA Review Book
Unless you want to buy a resale or used item from a third-party, the Gleim CPA review books are only available as part of a course package. The individual section courses start at $599. This can be a steep price to pay for a great textbook. However, they are world class CPA review courses that could be integral to your success, so it may be a worthy investment.
Is This a Good Buy?
Gleim CPA review is a highly-rated program. To get up-to-date Gleim CPA books, you have to buy the course. At the end of the day, these courses have helped thousands of students pass the CPA exam. If you want to use their materials, they could definitely help you get a good score on the CPA.
Lambers CPA Review Book
Lambers CPA has been helping students pass the CPA exam for more than five decades. They have four study programs, covering each of the four sections of the CPA exam. You can buy digital CPA textbooks separate from the program.
Their full CPA courses include video content, practice tests, multiple-choice question banks and strategies for task-based simulations. They have a simple, traditional, whiteboard approach to instruction. Lambers is a great, simple choice to prepare for the CPA exam.
Pros of Lambers CPA Review Book
Lambers CPA review books correspond to their test prep program but can also stand alone. This is a standout feature, because you can see that most CPA exam reviews bundled their textbooks in with courses. You can save a lot of money if you just want an extra text-based study option or are in self-study mode.
Cons of Lambers CPA Review Book
Lambers CPA review books only come as downloadable PDFs. They don’t explicitly state that they are annually updated, so they may not be. This could mean that you get slightly outdated materials or aren’t getting refreshed and repopulated multiple choice questions and answer explanations.
Is This a Good Buy?
Lambers CPA book isn’t a risky buy. The digital textbooks are affordable (about $50) and can easily be purchased to support other CPA review studies. Lambers has a good reputation and their materials are known to be simple but effective tools to prepare for the CPA exam.
Wiley CPAexcel Exam Review Book
Wiley CPAexcel has been providing CPA study materials for several decades. It has well-known instructors, video courses and a lot of study materials. The Study Guides are available for individual purchase. You can buy Wiley CPAexcel exam review books for each section of the CPA exam.
The CPAexcel exam review Study Guides come in ebook or print versions. They are connected to the Wiley CPAexcel courses but can be used separately for generic subject mastery and reinforcement. The content in these CPA books is updated twice a year.
Pros of Wiley CPAexcel Exam Review Book
Wiley CPAexcel Study Guides reflect the most current info on the AICPA CPA Exam Blueprint. The content mapping matches the online course, so if you’re buying into the whole package, it’s a seamless system. Whether you buy digitally or the print version, they are moderately priced.
Cons of Wiley CPAexcel Exam Review Book
Wiley CPAexcel Study Guides correspond directly to the rest of their study materials. You’ll see internal prompts and material that guides you to their other resources. Other than that, it’s a really well-liked and useful set of CPA books.
Is This a Good Buy?
Wiley CPAexcel is a polished, professional study program. Their Study Guides are affordable and include all of the important, up-to-date info you need to prepare for the CPA exam.
Yaeger CPA Review Book
Yaeger CPA review is the last of the “big dogs” for CPA test prep (see how Yaeger vs Roger CPA stack up in this side-by-side comparison). They also have beefy textbooks that provide valuable study support. Similar to Wiley CPAexcel and Surgent, these come both as part of their larger course packages and are available for separate purchase.
The Yaeger CPA review book breaks down vast quantities of subject matter into smaller “bite-sized pieces.” There are thousands of multiple-choice questions and they directly reflect the AICPA Blueprint. The Yaeger CPA books are test-focused, aimed at covering all of the test material as thoroughly as possible. Yaeger CPA textbooks are updated annually and you get free access to downloadable updates.
Pros of Yaeger CPA Review Book
Yaeger CPA review books cover all of the CPA test material. You can buy each section for $79, so they’re a more affordable price than some of the other textbooks. They come in printed or ebook format and you can get free updates.
Cons of Yaeger CPA Review Book
Each Yaeger CPA review book can be purchased individually or you can bundle them but you do have to pay for shipping and handling. Similar to the other large test prep programs, the CPA book content will tie back to lectures and other course materials. This may make some of the asides, comments or prompts irrelevant to a reader who isn’t taking the full course.
Is This a Good Buy?
The Yaeger CPA review books can help you prep for the CPA exam. They cover all of the important info, are updated and relevant and provide helpful insight into test structure and strategy.
What Makes a Good CPA Book?
As you shop online for a CPA Book, there are a few criteria you should keep in mind. All good CPA Books will include vital information and should have study supports as well.
While the CPA exam covers a lot of concepts, it’s also important that you understand the inherent structure of the test. This will be accomplished by previewing multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. Here are the metrics by which to judge whether a CPA book is right for you.
All good CPA study programs should start with a diagnostic test. Many CPA books will include something like this. A diagnostic exam helps you level set and understand what you already know (and what you really don’t know). This is a helpful launching point for your CPA studies.
High-quality CPA study programs have some kind of global strategy by which they introduce and then review concepts. This is important for retention. You should check out the table of contents: how are materials introduced and then covered? Does this generally make sense to you conceptually and practically?
What you know has to be applied. In the CPA exam, you’ll want to employ vital strategies to work through the material in your given time. A CPA book should have exam strategies and CPA study tips that help you achieve your ideal score.
CPA books should be full of multiple choice questions. These test question banks are one of the distinctive features of any good CPA review program. A textbook should include not only example questions but answer explanations.
Additional practice tests and practice materials should be sprinkled throughout a good CPA book. Continuously testing and retesting knowledge is the only way to determine test readiness. Check to see if a CPA book includes this or if you need to buy into a broader program.
Supplemental CPA Exam Materials
The benefit of buying into a full CPA review course is that you get loads of additional study materials. Some of these may be included in a CPA book. Look out for things like digital flashcards to aid memorization and customized study plans.
CPA Book Prices
As you can see, a lot of the best-known CPA programs will let you buy their textbooks without the full program. These range from $25-$125 each. All of the CPA books have a lot of content, which is why they’re bound individually to reflect the four sections of the CPA exam. Here’s a further breakdown of the pricing.
Individual CPA Books
Individual CPA books may be the easiest way to pick and choose what you use when. You can buy individual CPA books to cover Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Regulation (REG), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) and Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR). Most of the time, you’ll be able to choose between an ebook or a bound book. They’ll cost between $25-$125 per book.
Bundled CPA Books
If you buy your CPA books as a bundle, you may save a little money. This isn’t always the case, but you could save between 5%-10% if you buy all four books at once. Of course, this is only if you can afford to shell out a few hundred bucks in one go. You may also be able to get financing options.
Used CPA Books
Used CPA books are available on platforms like eBay or Amazon Marketplace. This may be an affordable way to buy an expensive CPA book. It also may be a way to get options like Roger CPA books, which aren’t otherwise available without buying the full course.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about CPA books.
What is the best study material for the CPA?
The best study material for the CPA will be a course that includes the following:
- Video/audio lectures
- A large multiple-choice question bank
- A large number of task-based simulations
- Reflect the latest AICPA Blueprint
- Flashcards and other supplements
Many times, you’ll be able to buy a CPA course online that integrates with a web interface or app. This can make it easy for you to study for the CPA online or on the go. Ultimately, the CPA course you choose should fit your lifestyle, study plan and goals.
Can you self-study for the CPA?
It is possible to self-study for the CPA by cherry-picking various elements from different courses. For instance, you may want to use certain free materials coupled with purchased CPA books. There are a few ways to do this but you’ll have to be very organized. Because the CPA exam covers a vast quantity of material in various fields, it’s important that you don’t miss a section or improperly gauge how ready you are to take a test.
Is a CPA prep book proper preparation for the exam?
A CPA book is probably essential to preparing for the CPA exam. Textbooks exist to centralize large bodies of knowledge. A CPA book will distill all of the can’t-miss concepts for each section of the CPA exam. If you use it in conjunction with other instructive materials and study supports, you’ll have the foundational elements you need to pass the CPA exam.
Can I use older CPA prep books?
Most CPA books advertise the regularity with which they are updated. This is because the AICPA Blueprint changes each year. With new CPA exam material comes new things you need to study for. While it’s possible to cover almost all relevant material using older CPA prep books or material, you could miss something new and important.