Last week, I visited my doctor for my annual physical. I noted that she had a new frame on her wall for Diabetes Certification. I complimented her on her achievement.
“It’s a new direction for my practice,” she told me. “And that test was hard! In fact, I didn’t pass it the first time. I found someone who had passed it to help me with the questions.”
This didn’t really happen, but if this were your doctor, would you still trust her?
About the Certification exams
Certification exams are designed to measure a specific set of skills required by an individual working in a particular profession. Earning the QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Certification and badge demonstrates to small business owners that you are certified by Intuit® as an expert using the software.
The QuickBooks® Certification is not an easy test by design! Professional licensing exams, no matter the industry, are designed to be challenging. If everyone could pass them the first time, they would have no value, no prestige, and no meaning.
Intuit goes above and beyond to give accounting professionals the tools they need to study and prepare for the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Certification exams. All these options are available right in QuickBooks Online Accountant!
Select ProAdvisor in the left navigation bar and click on the Training tab. You can also visit Accountant University to register for the live events.
Free in-depth QuickBooks product training in multiple learning styles:
- On-demand walkthroughs: These interactive self-paced modules were carefully crafted based on the exam to ensure everything is covered. Open these self-paced modules in a second browser during the exam, so that you can search through it.
- Live webinars: Access through QuickBooks Online Accountant or at Accountant University. During the multi-part monthly classes, the trainers answer your questions live via chat, and cover the same content as the on-demand walkthroughs. Download the handouts! If you are new to QuickBooks Online, there are also introductory-level courses to take prior to starting the path to certification.
- Virtual conferences: Intuit offers a quarterly certification bootcamp taught by myself and other Advanced Certified ProAdvisors. These have the same content as the webinars, but here you can also interact with your fellow students, trainers, and Intuit team members.
Certification exam tips
- It’s open book! Don’t try to answer from memory. Try out every question before you answer it.
- Open the certification exam, your own company file, the walkthroughs, and the Craig’s Landscaping sample company – each in different browser incognito windows.
- The test is untimed, removing the pressure element. Save your progress after each section, then return later for the next round.
- You may take the exam to see what the questions are like, but don’t submit for a grade. Then, you can go back to the on-demand training to study the areas where you are less confident.
- If you are new to QuickBooks, it’s recommended that you have hands-on experience working in the software. The certification exam is not the place to get your how-to training.
- You get three tries to pass the exam. If you don’t pass, you are locked out for 60 days, and can then start the test over again from scratch. The reason for this is that Intuit gives you this time to shore up your knowledge and gain experience.
How NOT to approach the exam
Some people mistake an open book test to mean that it’s OK to crowd source the answers, but when your 10th grade Social Studies teacher gave you an open book test, did she let you work in groups? You had access to your textbook and your notes, but you still couldn’t lean over and look at your friend’s answer to compare your own.
I’ve seen some people post screenshots of the test questions online to ask for help. To protect the integrity of the certification, Intuit does not endorse third parties who offer certification prep training.
There are even people looking to profit from Intuit’s investment in the training and exam by offering to log in to your account and take your exam for you. I think even my doctor would agree that this particular path is unquestionably inappropriate. Being a steward of a company’s books requires expertise and stringent ethics. Taking this route does a disservice to your clients. In addition, Intuit takes action against those who offer to take an exam for someone else. These actions actually invalidate your ProAdvisor legal agreement.
About you, the test taker
The reason why I feel strongly enough about this topic to write this article is not to chastise, but to inspire!
Passing a certification test is a personal challenge! Some of us have test-taking phobias going back to second grade. We all live in a perpetual time crunch. Some are new to QuickBooks Online, while others don’t have a lot of real-life experience yet … or, you might be a die-hard QuickBooks Desktop user with 30+ years’ experience facing a learning curve.
The questions seem harder when you have unconscious anxiety getting in the way. Breathe! Relax! Separate how you feel from the questions themselves. Methodically eliminate the answers you know are obviously wrong.
QuickBooks Online is a living, breathing, evolving platform. Because Intuit makes frequent changes, there’s no possible way that the prep materials or the test questions will always exactly match what you see on your screen. While this can be frustrating, it’s also a skill that’s part of being a QuickBooks Online expert. As ProAdvisors, we have to be able to roll with the changes and think critically.
I personally welcome the certification tests each year. Even though I use QuickBooks Online day-in and day-out, reviewing the materials still clues me in to new developments and subtleties.
Reframing the challenge
If you are daunted by the prospect of passing Intuit’s certification exams, I encourage you to reframe the challenge as an opportunity instead of a struggle. Flip the script! I believe that QuickBooks Online is fun to use and exciting to learn.
Start by studying all Intuit’s materials. Seek out additional education from the members of the Intuit Trainer/Writer Network. Give yourself time to gain professional experience.
Above all, don’t take shortcuts just so you can select the correct test answers. When you are confident in your achievement, your pride is inspiring– and it’s contagious. Your expertise becomes your clients’ success.
After you pass the exam, Intuit vets you to make sure that you are a legitimate accounting firm before accepting your listing on the Find-a-ProAdvisor website. Your certification and inclusion in this exclusive list demonstrates to business owners that you have the expertise to know how to use QuickBooks to record their business activity accurately. “Integrity without compromise” is one of Intuit’s founding principles. By becoming a ProAdvisor, you are an ambassador for this mission.
- It’s important to our thriving ProAdvisor community that we foster a sense of connection and trust in one another. That way, we maintain Intuit’s reputation as a champion of those who dare to dream.