How to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A Journey from Start to Finish?


Certified Public Accountant these are not just mere words for an accountant, it’s a journey filled with hard work, determination, success and failures that they made to attain the title of a Certified Public Accountant. So, how do this journey begin and end, Let us take you through the whole process from the very start to crossing the finish line and being called a licensed Certified Public Accountant.

Everything you need to know about CPA

3 + 1 E’ Education, Exam, Ethics and Experience these are the four things you need to focus on for getting the license and title of a Certified Public Accountant.

Step- 1: Education

The first and the most important part of getting a CPA license is getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. The degree needs to have 150 semester hours and out of that 24 should be in accounting-related field, although this rule varies from state to state.
Although some bachelor’s degree is of only 120 semester hours, so CPA candidates acquire a master’s degree or graduate school hours in attaining minimum requirement of 150 semester hours to be eligible for Uniform CPA exam.

Step- 2: Exam

The second step is clearing the uniform CPA exam.The only exam accepted to attain a CPA license from respective states. CPA needs a minimum score of 75 to pass the exam and attain the certificate.

Applying for Exam:-

  • Apply & Submit a Completed Application and Documents and Pay Required Fees.
  • Submit Academic Documents.
  • Submit Request for Special Accommodations – If Needed.
  • Schedule the Examination.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has developed 4 exams that need to be cleared by CPA candidates in order to attain the certificate and position of CPA.

There are four parts to the exam:

  • Auditing and Attestation.
  • Business Environment and Concepts.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting.
  • Regulation.

After completing the first exam, candidate needs to complete the rest of the exam in a period of 18 months and pass the entire exam within the allotted time to gain the title and license of a CPA.

Step- 3: Experience

The third stage in becoming a licensed CPA is gaining experience in the field of accountancy. You need to gain experience in accounts payable, accounts receivable, reconciling statements, tax preparation, budgets and audit preparation. A minimum of 1 to 2 years of experienced is required (varies from state to state) to attain the CPA license.
After you are labeled as a Certified Public Accountant, you have to take continuing education courses to keep your knowledge up to date and to get your licensed update.

Step- 4: Ethics

Final step is Ethics exam. It is conducted in few states and is a necessity for getting a CPA license. The exam consists of AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Accounting Rulesand it evaluates how good are you at handling professional ethics question that you can come across your career in future. Ethics exam is conducted to make CPA understand what is expected of them while they will be working on professional organization.

Few things that you should now: –

  • Ethics Exam is a self-study exam which comprises of 40 multiple- choice question.
  • A candidate has 3 attempts to clear the exam.
  • You need a score of 90 to clear the ethics exam.

AICPA helps the candidates to prepare for the exam by providing a course with study material. The package has 11 hours of course material, which is given in the form of CD-ROM which comprises of principles and illustrations of professional ethics for CPAs and how they can apply these in real world scenarios.

That’s it, everything you need to know about a CPA’s journey to success. Now you must have a basic idea of where to start and what all things you need to be doing for achieving the title of CPA.



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