Passing the CPA exam is a vital milestone in any accountant’s career. But if you don’t plan ahead of time, it may quickly turn into a logistical nightmare.
Passing the exam to become a Certified Public Accountant requires years of school and professional accounting experience, as well as months of hard work.
However, it is well worth the effort. You’ll notice that if you add those three letters to your name, people will regard you differently. Your coworkers, colleagues, and even your employer will respect you. Furthermore, passing the CPA exam should result in a significant pay boost.
Let’s talk about the process of becoming a CPA and the broad steps that you need to go through in each state to get your CPA license.
The CPA Exam: Prepare for Success
Licensed accountants are required to act in the public interest by law. Because these individuals are entrusted with such high levels of responsibility, the accounting industry has established a professional standard to ensure that only the most qualified persons are licensed.
The four variables that qualify a licensed public accountant are commonly known as the Four E’s: education, experience, examination, and ethics.
Each of these four standards is non-negotiable for licensure. The Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination is a required element and a key step in an aspiring CPA’s journey to professional practice.
The Board of Examiners (BOE) committee of the American Institute of CPAs is the highest governing body for the CPA exam (AICPA). This committee establishes exam policies and supervises scoring. They also check the exam content for accuracy and relevance and collaborate with state boards of accountancy.
Finally, this committee is the public face of the CPA test and provides replies for all questions related to taking the CPA exam. The BOE collaborates with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric, its preferred test producer and proctor. To ensure that the CPA examination is administered similarly across all US jurisdictions.
Who Is Qualified to Take the CPA Exam?
Eligibility requirements for the CPA exam refer back to the first two E’s: education and experience. In order to sit for this exam, aspiring accountants must demonstrate significant post-secondary education in the field.
- A bachelor’s degree in accounting, plus a master’s degree in accounting
- A bachelor’s degree in another discipline, plus a master’s degree in accounting or taxation, or an MBA with a concentration in accounting
- A dual program that delivers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting in five years of study
- A bachelor’s degree in accounting, supplemented by 30 semester hours of graduate-level instruction in taxation and accounting
Steps in Applying for the CPA Exam
Make Sure You Are Eligible
In the United States, the first stage in the CPA exam application procedure is to discover if you are eligible to take it. This is the first major hurdle for CPA candidates.
They begin completing their application before they are even eligible to take the exam. They submit their application and learn that it has been rejected months later.
To determine your eligibility, first, choose the state in which you will apply to get your CPA. After you’ve chosen the state, then review their specific requirements, and make sure you fulfill each step.
It’s crucial to figure out your eligibility ahead of time. You might save months of time and money by doing so.
You should send all of your college transcripts to your state board of accountancy before you worry about filling out the actual application.
Every transcript from every school you attended should be sent in. Junior colleges, community colleges, and universities that you just attended for a semester are included in this category. As in all of them.
Submit CPA Exam Application and Fees
You can begin filling out the actual exam application once your transcripts have been successfully ordered and sent to your state board. This is usually a brief questionnaire that asks a series of personal and educational questions.
Send it in with the application fees once you’ve completed it. Each state has its own application price, but the majority are around $150. Wait a few weeks after sending it in to receive your ATT.
After the board has approved your application, you will be given the authorization to test (ATT). You can use this document to register for a CPA exam section in your state.
Because it normally only lasts 90 days, you’ll have to determine which component to tackle first before it runs out. Your $150 application cost will be forfeited after the 90-day period has expired, and you will have to pay it again.
Once you have your NTS in hand, you can log onto the Prometric testing center website. Schedule your exam date. You’ll need the exam section ID from your NTS and the location of the testing center that you want to take the exam at.
Pass the Exam
It’s critical to avoid being caught off guard on exam day by little mishaps such as getting lost en route to the testing center. Or even not knowing which room to visit in the Prometric building.
I recommend visiting the Prometric testing center the day before your exam. Get a sense of the layout and where everything is located. This way, you won’t be caught off guard on exam day.
What You Should Know About Studying For The CPA Exam
- The CPA exam consists of four sections: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC).
- The sooner you begin your CPA exam prep, the better your chances of passing the test.
- You’ll may want to take a review course in order to study for the CPA
- Make the CPA exam a top priority by managing your time effectively
- You should have a strategy for motivating yourself
- Expect to spend 100-200 hours per section studying.
- Simulation Practice is mandatory.
- If you don’t pass an exam, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
- Tutor the People’s experienced and top-scoring CPA tutors will help you master the material via online meetings or in-person meetings
How A CPA Can Help You Get Ahead in Your Career or Business
Because CPAs are in high demand, it will be easier for you to find work and keep it. CPAs are needed in top finance roles by corporations, non-profit organizations, and governments all around the world.
It’s also no surprise that junior accountants with CPAs are favored for recruiting and advancement.
Financially beneficial to you
As a CPA, you understand how to correctly file taxes and are up to date on the latest rules and regulations, allowing you to take advantage of them and save the maximum money on taxes for the rest of your life.
If you work for a CPA firm or own your own firm and process a big number of tax returns, you’ve seen and reviewed enough of them to know how to claim and categorize cash the best way possible.
Opportunity to gain knowledge in a new industry
You also have the option of gaining experience in a new industry without changing careers. Do you want to learn more about the film industry?
You may work as a CPA for a movie or music studio, or even as a client for a producer or cast member. As a CPA, you have the freedom to work in almost any industry you want.
Furthermore, due to the current market demand for CPAs, you may migrate to almost any town in the United States and find work quickly, and the demand is steadily increasing.
Why do you want to be a CPA?
So there you have it. Indeed, now that you’ve learned about all of the advantages of becoming a CPA, the final step is for you to decide whether or not it’s right for you.
Furthermore, after you understand everything that goes into it and you have made the decision to pursue your CPA, you must commit to it.