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Certified Public Accountant

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are accounting professionals of the U.S. who have passed the CPA exam developed and graded by American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Only CPAs are allowed to state opinions on financial statements[?]. Many states prohibit anyone without a CPA license to call himself an accountant.

CPA exam

Although the exam is uniform, requirements vary slightly by each state. States typically require:

  • Completion of accounting program at a university/collage with 150 credit hours. Required courses are also defined.
  • Pass the CPA exam.
  • Working experience of public accounting for certain period of time (for example, one year).
  • Take certain courses annually to keep the license.

Because of different requirements in each state one has to meet the requirement of the state if s/he wants to practice in another state. Some states also require an additional exam before being licensed in the state.

Until November, 2003

Until November 2003, exams are offered twice a year, in May and November. The four sections are given in a 2-day period.

  • Business Law & Professional Responsibilities
  • Auditing
  • Accounting & Reporting - Taxation, Managerial, and Governmental and Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting - Business Enterprises

Beginning April 5, 2004

Beginning April 5, 2004 the exam will be entirely computer based. Research skill as well as use of word processing and database software will be required.

The year will be divided into four windows. On the each three-month window the candidates can take any number of the sections, once for each section on a window, in the first two months (January and February, April and May, and so on).

The sections will be reorganized as follow:

  • Auditing & Attestation (4.5 hours)
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting (4.0 hours)
  • Regulation (3.0 hours)
  • Business Environment & Concepts (2.5 hours)

The result will be available in 60 days. The credits for the passed sections are valid for 18 months. If the candidate does not pass all the four sections in the period each section will expire in 18 months.

External links

  • CPA exam (http://www.cpa-exam.org/) (AICPA)
  • Becoming a CPA (http://www.aicpa.org/nolimits/become/index.htm) (AICPA)



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