A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an individual who has finished a four-year degree program from an accredited college or university and has proven compliance with the CPA National Board Licensed Requirements, in addition to complying with various state requirements. There is no specific pathway to become a certified public accountant at present. This is due to the fact that each state has different guidelines regarding accountants. However, the majority of certified public accountants will be able to attend school and gain a four-year degree, which will prepare them for the CPA exam.
While it’s very important to realize that the CPA National Board Certified Requirements do not apply to state-mandated licensing exams, understanding what the CPA exam consists of can help you better assess your education and training.
Candidates must pass all four of the test sections in order to gain licensure. The CPA examination assesses applicants’ expertise in a variety of accounting tasks so that they can be successful. CPAs are required by many state licensing boards to complete business and accounting courses as well as spending time working in accounting under the supervision of a CPA after taking the test. Even though their coursework helps to prepare students for the exam, numerous professionals still gain valuable knowledge from attending workshops, reading journals, and taking specially prepared review courses on the subject.
Before considering any type of program, it’s extremely important to consider both your budget and your learning style. CPAs can prepare for the test by studying a set of guidelines, books, and various other materials, practicing with the help of an accountant or Certified Public Accountant, and taking a test evaluation or practice test. The purpose of these study and review courses is to help students become familiar with the exam’s format, topics, and sample questions.
Completing CPA Requirements
As you plan for the CPA examination, keep in mind the licensure requirements established by the AICPA as well as your home state. Like other professional accreditations, licensed public accountants must meet instructional, citizenship, age, and experience requirements.
Depending on the state where you live, you might be required to earn 120-150 postsecondary credits. If you live in a state that calls for 120 credit hours, you should earn a bachelor’s degree. You may need a master’s degree, or at least to take some master’s-level courses, if you live in a state that calls for 150 credit hours.
While you do not need to hold a bachelor’s level in accounting or finance for all states, you must have either a minor in accounting or at the very least 24 credit hours associated with auditing or a comparable field. Please contact your state board for more information regarding their current educational requirements to become a certified public accountant.
A CPA certificate can currently be earned without a United States residence requirement in 26 states. Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin do not require residency. Consult your state to determine if you must live in that state for six months minimum to be licensed.
Social Security Identification
The licensing board of your state will require your Social Security Number if you are a citizen of the United States. However, when you take the test, you may not need to bring your Social Security card – only the number. Be sure to check with your state or testing center to verify all rules in regard to what you must or may bring on your test day.
CPAs must be 18 years of age or older. This restriction rarely affects examination takers due to various other requirements.
Work Experience Requirements
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) does not require prospects to possess work experience, as many accounting firms only accept applications from those who have already completed their education and/or are already certified public accountants. Nevertheless, candidates should begin planning for their jobs well in advance of taking the CPA test.
Registration and Costs for the CPA Examination
If you meet all the CPA requirements, you can begin the enrollment process. You must complete the following steps to register and take the test.
Registering for the CPA Exam
Send all university records to your state board of accountancy. As soon as the board has your records, submit the examination application with your state. After that, your state approves an authorization to test (ATT). You submit your ATT to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), which provides a notice to schedule (NTS). After that, you use your NTS to establish examination dates with Prometric, the company that provides testing facilities and oversight. You need not register for all parts of the test at the same time; you have 6 months after obtaining your NTS to schedule all your test dates.
CPA Exam Costs
Paying for the CPA examination involves several fees that you need not pay simultaneously. To get an Authorization to Test (ATT), you pay a fee to your state board of accountancy. Once you get an ATT, you pay different costs to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for every part of the CPA test. All agencies associated with the CPA test process approved bank card payments via on-line portals.
Timing and structure of the exam
CPA exams consist of four sections that are tested during various examination sessions. Taking the test over several days or even months can prevent test takers from feeling tired, as well as allowing them to perform at their best on each section. It is impossible to complete the whole test in one day.
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