The CPA US course certification is being considered as the highest standard of competence in the area of accountancy and a multifaceted covetable credential for the accountants in a global perspective. The CPA US exam is conducted by the AICPA. For this global designation, one has to clear the unified CPA exam.
The Indian CAs are considered equivalent to CPA in Indian perspective. The first step to initiate the US CPA exam application process is to know the eligibility of the candidate to sit for the CPA exam. If one is not eligible for the exam, the respective state board might reject the application where the non refundable application fees are concerned.
For the uniform CPA exam, the eligibility requirements are set by individual US state board, hence, vary as per the state jurisdiction. Although majority of the state boards have the common core set of eligibility criteria, slightly different benchmarks are also available. The process of US CPA course certification has 2 steps with some different eligibility requirement which are discussed below.
1. Eligibility for the CPA US exam
For this part, one has to review the following checklist before applying for the exam.
Do you need to be a US citizen to apply for the CPA US exam? There are few states like North Carolina that require US citizenship as an eligibility criterion for US CPA exam. Hopefully, there are there are a good number of states that allow non citizens to become a US CPA, a boon for the international candidates.
1.2 Social Security Identification(SSI):
There are certain states like Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana and Maryland which require a valid SSI number for identification available with the US citizens. Again, there are certain states like Illinois, Montana, South Dacota, Wisconsin, New York etc. which does not require a SSI. So, international candidates should select the appropriate state board in a judicious manner.
1.3 Age Requirement
To be eligible for US CPA exam, all 55 licensing state boards have common requirement of minimum 18 years old to be eligible to apply for US CPA exam.
1.4 Academic Qualifications
The educational qualification for eligibility vary across the states with time. However, the main requirements stands with the consideration that the candidate must possess either a bachelor’s degree or 120 college credit hours in order to be eligible for CPA exam.
In Indian context, each academic year in college is assigned a credit of 30 credits. Hence, a 3 year graduation provide 90 credits which mean one has to fetch another 30 credits by pursuing some other accreditated course. Having a 2 year M.Com or MBA after graduation earn 60 credits to make it 150 credit points ultimately.
Although, majority of state boards require the eligible education sector to be in the field of accountancy and finance, hope is there for the candidates without a basic accounting degree. For this, one has to pick a state board which require less number of credit hours in accounting like Maine, Hawai, Georgia, Massachusetts, Alaska etc. Candidates also can look into the experience requirement of a state board to be eligible for the CPA exam.
US CPA Exam 2021 – New Updates In 2020, the US CPA exam in India had few changes; the most prominent change was the introduction of the CARES Act to the REG section effective in Q4 2020. In 2021, the US CPA Exam will undergo additional changes, mainly to the AUD & BEC sections, with minor revisions to the remaining two sections – FAR & REG….continue reading
1.5 Business and Accounting Hours
The 120 semester hours must include at least 24 hours of general business courses and 24 hours of upper-division accounting. The general business hours may not include principles or fundamentals in accounting. No more than 9 of the 24 business hours may be from computer courses and no more than 6 of the general business hours may be from upper-division statistics courses.
The 24 hours of accounting must be beyond the principles level. The course work must include auditing, cost/ managerial accounting, financial accounting accounts information system and taxation although, these again vary to some extent across the states.
2.The Eligibility for CPA License
The first criterion to acquire eligibility to obtain the license is to pass the US CPA exam. The license is required to practice public accounting as a CPA. Apart from this, the eligibility for licensure procedure require the following parameters to be fulfilled followed by majority of the state boards. To be eligible to obtain a CPA license,
a) One must complete the university education with 150 credit hours.
b) One required to have 2000 hours of work experience in taxation, auditing, accounting and the management consultancy, although, it varies across the states.
c) One has to pass the Ethics exam.
Points to Ponder for International Students:
1) Indian CAs are no longer acceptable as eligible for US CPA in the states like Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire etc.
2) States malleable to some extent are California, Illinois etc.
3) States that provide flexibility are Virginia, Guam, Alaska, Washington, Montana etc.
4) If you do not complete your graduation in commerce or accounts, you must do it in other streams. Similarly, non accounting graduates must take a diploma for a year or two in public accounting to get the required credits. To get the rest of the credits you may also apply for a master’s degree or a professional course like CA/ICWA etc.
Based on the above information, it can be concluded that checking the eligibility criteria beforehand is the foremost vital step towards the CPA US course journey. For an international candidate, if the jurisdiction is not an issue, then there are certain US states having favorable US CPA exam eligibility based on the educational and working experiences.
Keep in mind that no specific degree/s is mandate to be eligible for the US CPA Exam if you have the required credit points and accounting hours in your previous academic syllabus and the CPA eligibility criteria vary a lot from one state to another. So even if you do not possess a traditional BCom or MCom degree, you still have chances to explore.
However, one has to remember that rules and regulations regarding the eligibility are continuously changing. To be sure with the eligibility for US CPA, it is therefore advisable to double check the eligibility criteria with the respective state boards before proceeding with the CPA US exam application process or ask an expert in this field.
Finally, once your eligibility checking done, start studying as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the sooner you will be able to tag yourself as a CPA and boost your career in fast track.
About the top US CPA training institute in India, Africa, and Middle East – Uplift Pro
Uplift Pro is one of the top training institutes for the US CIA, US CMA, CPA US in India, Africa, and Middle East. Our team consists of seasoned professionals and entrepreneurs from IIEST, IITs, London Business School, and ULCA who have decided to provide a strong backup to young ambitious students and professionals to reach their desired career destinations in an organized way.
Uplift Pro, is an authorized partner of Gleim in India, provides you with authentic Gleim materials, updates and Live Online Interactive Classes for CPA US by internationally experienced veteran mentors. All at an Indian Cost.
Some of our exclusive features include –
A. Affordable US CPA course fees
B. CPA certified veteran TEAM of faculties
C. Live online classes ensuring that the regular office working hours is least impacted. Also, provides class recordings to students.
D. 1:1 personal support from our 30 plus years of experienced CPA certified faculties ensuring that all our students pass the US CPA course
E. “Till you pass” guarantee assuring that you may attend our live online classes at no extra cost until you pass
F. Premium study materials with practice questions bank enabling students to pass the US CPA exam in India and rest of the world
G. Administrative guidance on US CPA evaluation procedure
H. Placement assistance