CPAs aren't just your ordinary tax professionals...
To achieve the Certified Public Accountant designation CPAs must achieve a level of education, experience, and pass four exams.
- Many states/jurisdictions now require or will require 150 semester hours of education for obtaining the CPA license. This typically means that a CPA candidate must take at least some graduate level courses, or even a Master's Degree. Many states require that some of the CPA candidate's coursework include Accounting courses.
- In many states, only 1 year of experience is necessary; in some states, it can be as much as 3-5 years of experience. The average is 2 years of experience. Many states require the experience to be under the supervision of another CPA.
- The CPA Exam consists of four, four-hour sections: Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation. A CPA must pass all four sections within 18 months, earning a minimum score of 75 on each part. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) develops, maintains, and scores the Exam.
All CPAs must do several things to continue to keep their license.
- All CPAs must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct set forth by their state. If they are also members of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), they must additionally adhere to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Code of Professional Conduct which is considered the industry standard.
- CPA’s must continue to pursue their Continuing Professional Education (CPE), typically, 40 hours of education per year. Some states also require ethics courses as part of the CPE.