CPA Testing window
CPA Testing window: In order to make appointments at test centres, candidates must have a valid Notice to Schedule (NTS). Candidates receive an NTS after they apply to take an examination and are deemed eligible by their state boards of accountancy. An NTS is provided for every section a candidate has been approved to take. The NTS is valid only for a specified period of time and cannot be used once it expires. Therefore, it is important that candidates schedule their test appointments as soon as they receive the NTS.
CPA Testing window: Scheduling
Candidates may schedule examination sessions at www.prometric.com/CPA or by calling Prometric’s Call Center at 1-800-580-9648. Candidates must have their Notices to Schedule available when making test appointments. Tests are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. The earlier candidates schedule appointments, the better their chances are of obtaining the location, date, and time of their choice. Test appointments cannot be scheduled less than six days in advance. Walk-in testing is not allowed.
|STATE BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY APPLICATION FEES||$30-$200 (varies by State)|
|NASBA EXAM FEES||$729.08|
|AICPA ETHICS EXAM||$125|
|CPA LICENSURE FEE||$50-$300 (varies by state)|
CPA Testing window: Steps for Exam
|STUDY||Take 1st Exam, then|
|STUDY||Take 2nd Exam, then|
|STUDY||Take 3rd Exam, then|
|STUDY||Take 4th Exam|
CPA Testing window: CPA Overview
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services directly to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state. Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws in order to allow practice in their state by CPAs from other states. Although state licensing requirements vary, the minimum standard requirements include the passing of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, 150 semester units of college education, and one year of accounting related experience.
Continuing professional education (CPE) is also required to maintain licensure. Individuals who have been awarded the CPA but have lapsed in the fulfillment of the required CPE or have requested to be converted to inactive status are in many states permitted to use the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs are legally able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. Many CPAs are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and their state CPA society.
State laws vary widely regarding whether a non-CPA is even allowed to use the title accountant. To illustrate, Texas prohibits the use of the designations “accountant” and “auditor” by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners.
CPA Testing window: CPA exam
In order to become a CPA in the United States, the candidate must sit for and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam), which is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The CPA designation was first established in law in New York State on April 17, 1896.
Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam is determined by individual state boards of accountancy. Many states have adopted what is known as the “150 hour rule” (150 college semester units or the equivalent), which usually requires an additional year of education past a regular 4 year college degree, or a master’s degree. (As such, universities commonly offer combined 5-year bachelor’s/master’s degree programs, allowing a student to earn both degrees while receiving the 150 hours needed for exam eligibility.)
The Uniform CPA Exam tests general principles of state law such as the laws of contracts and agency (questions not tailored to the variances of any particular state) and some federal laws as well.
Other licensing and certification requirements
Although the CPA exam is uniform, licensing and certification requirements are imposed separately by each state’s laws and therefore vary from state to state.
State requirements for the CPA qualification can be summed up as the Three Es—Education, Examination and Experience. The education requirement normally must be fulfilled as part of the eligibility criteria to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. The examination component is the Uniform CPA Exam itself. Some states have a two-tier system whereby an individual would first become certified—usually by passing the Uniform CPA Exam. That individual would then later be eligible to be licensed once a certain amount of work experience is accomplished. Other states have a one-tier system whereby an individual would be certified and licensed at the same time when both the CPA exam is passed and the work experience requirement has been met.
Two-tier states include Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Montana, and Nebraska. The trend is for two-tier states to gradually move towards a one-tier system. Since 2002, the state boards of accountancy in Washington and South Dakota have ceased issuing CPA “certificates” and instead issue CPA “licenses.” Illinois planned to follow suit in 2012.
A number of states are two-tiered, but require work experience for the CPA certificate, such as Ohio.
Work experience requirement
The experience component varies from state to state:
- The two-tier states generally do not require that the individual have work experience to receive a CPA certificate. (Work experience is required, however, to receive a license to practice.)
- Some states, such as Colorado and Massachusetts, will waive the work experience requirement for those with a higher academic qualification compared to the state’s requirement to appear for the Uniform CPA. As of July 1, 2015, Colorado no longer offers the education in lieu of experience option and all new applicants must have at least one year of work experience.
- The majority of states still require work experience to be of a public accounting nature, namely two years audit or tax experience, or a combination of both. An increasing number of states, however, including Oregon, Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky, accept experience of a more general nature in the accounting area. This allows persons to obtain the CPA designation while working for a corporation’s finance function.
- The majority of states require an applicant’s work experience to be verified by someone who is already licensed as a CPA. This requirement can cause difficulties for applicants based outside the United States. However, some states such as Colorado and Oregon will accept work experience certified by a Chartered Accountant as well.
Over 40 of the state boards now require applicants for CPA status to complete a special examination on ethics, which is effectively a fifth exam in terms of requirements to become a CPA. The majority of these will accept the AICPA self-study Professional Ethics for CPAs CPE course or another course in general professional ethics. Many states, however, require that the ethics course include a review of that state’s specific rules for professional practice.
CPA Testing window
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