Using your Financial Calculator

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

You may be using a calculator for your work or while studying for your CPA Exams (CFE exams). Understanding how to make full use of your calculator can help increase your efficiency substantially.


As of March 23, 2019 if you are a Canadian CPA student (writing the CFE exams) , you will only have access to the Texas Instrument BA II Plus calculator during your exams. I therefore highly recommended that you purchase this calculator for study purposes. Your exams are extremely time-constrained and you will not have enough time to explore the tool while you are sitting your exam.


The Texas Instrument BA II Plus is efficient at doing present/future value calculations, annuities and effective interest rate calculations (e.g.: to determine whether a lease should be categorized as a finance lease or operating lease). Below is a simple cheat sheet you can use throughout your learning/reviewing.


* You can choose to make PV negative with PMT and FV positive. It doesn’t matter which sign convention you choose, just know that FV and PMT are always the same sign on the financial calculator. PV is always opposite sign as FV and PMT. This is because of the underlying equation for PV/PMT/FV.

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