Becker CPA Review vs. Surgent CPA Review are interesting competitors. Becker packs a ton of clout behind its name, being the chosen CPA Review that top-level accounting firms use for their employees. In addition, it is vouched for by all four of the major accounting firms, the “Big 4” as they’re commonly called. In contrast, Surgent CPA Review has a limited reputation, being fairly new to the marketplace.
But which is the better CPA review course?
Let’s compare and contrast old and new and see how tried-and-true stacks up against fresh and innovative.
X-Factor: What Stands Out?
Surgent has come out of the gate strong by revolutionizing traditional methods of studying for the CPA exam. One of the program’s top claims to fame is using adaptive learning technology in its course. Surgent claims that this cuts down on at least 50 hours of study time for the average student.
The first step when embarking on this course is to take a 400+ question assessment test. This test will tell you what you know, what you don’t know, and give detailed explanations as to why you did or did not get questions right. Right off the bat, you’ll know where to spend the most time studying.
After that, Surgent analyzes your results, customizing your study plan and future quizzes/simulations to adapt to your specific needs. This makes for the most efficient use of your time, drastically reducing your study periods.
Becker now offers a similar feature, called Adapt2U Technology, that reads your assessment test and tailors a program of study for you to maximize study time on your pain points. Becker also includes regular progress checks to make sure you’re on course and retaining the information you need. Their course is powered by Sana Labs, an impressive company who’ve previously worked with Spotify.
It’s too close to tell whether one of these programs is better than the other; however, Surgent’s tech has been in place for longer and is incredibly popular. However, Becker has another ace up their sleeve that’s exclusive to Pro subscribers. Each subscriber has up to 5 one-on-one academic tutoring sessions conducted over Webex. These sessions pair students up with Becker’s crack team of CPAs and accounting experts who are dedicated to answering all their student’s questions in real time.
Considering the fact that Becker offers everything provided by Surgent plus a little extra, they take the win in this category!
Winner: Becker CPA Review
Surgent vs. Becker CPA Review Price
As anyone familiar with Becker will note, they’re a fairly pricey review course. Comparatively, Surgent is much lower in price. Willingness to pay for Becker’s program is in the eye of the beholder, since you can get a similar (albeit slightly diminished) experience by opting for Surgent’s more affordable options.
Fortunately, Becker has responded to criticism regarding its cost by offering financing through Affirm. With the ability to spread out your tuition payments over a period of several months, it’s become much easier to pay for a Pro Becker course without being sponsored by your employer.
When it comes to the amount of content provided for the price, Becker takes the cake. But when it comes to which course has the most affordable options overall, it’s Surgent all the way.
If you want to spend your money on a professionally-endorsed brand, pick Becker CPA Review. Otherwise, Surgent CPA is an affordable second choice.
Winner: Surgent CPA Review
Becker offers a unique video solution to common pains, which we certainly appreciate! If you’re working through a task-based scenario and are just absolutely stumped, you can hit the CPA SkillMaster button. This new feature will take you step-by-step through the problem under the guidance of a CPA expert. It’s like having your own private coach!
In addition to this feature, Becker makes its video content as informative as possible, with its friendly video host often citing real-world scenarios and examples in addition to those featured in the text. Additionally, their highest tier prep course takes the instruction one step further with several live tutoring options, providing a much more hands-on video experience.
Surgent features shorter videos in comparison, many of which feature Liz Kolar. She has over 25 years of experience in teaching accounting and CPA review courses. Kolar makes for a great host as she is passionate about the content and manages to deliver it in an interesting and concise way. In our opinion, that makes learning about CPA practices just a little more bearable.
Still not sure which course has the better selection of content? Here’s the breakdown of the number of questions, examinations, and flashcards each review course offers:
Surgent vs. Becker Course Expiration and Access
Becker’s software now offers unlimited access! While their original course access period was limited, they now give students all the time they need to complete their study materials. Regardless, Becker is still well-suited to those who can learn and execute CPA exam concepts fairly quickly.
Surgent happens to offer a money back guarantee if you don’t pass the CPA, but Becker also offers a guarantee called the Becker Promise. Students who pass the course but fail the exam can retake the course for free (although they will have to pay for course materials in each section). With both programs, they are willing to put their money – and yours- where their mouth is in terms of delivering a quality product that will prep you for the CPA exam.
Becker and Surgent are both quality CPA review courses, and potentially serve different students with different needs. Surgent offers a streamlined course with a low price point, and Becker carries a venerable name that is trusted by top accounting firms in the world. But one is clearly a better study tool than the other:
If you want the best possible set of practice materials, backed by incredibly powerful adaptive learning technology, and taught by some of the best instructors and academic tutors, look no further than Becker CPA Review. Obviously, Surgent is also a great choice for CPA candidates, but it’s just not as good as Becker in a toe-to-toe battle.
Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created CrushTheCPAexam.com to share his knowledge and experience to help other accountants become CPAs too. As Seen On Forbes