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Steps to Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Patricia Hartman Director of Examination Operations NASBA The Credential - CPA CPA is a credential conferred by a state or similar governmental jurisdiction that authorized the holder to practice as a a CPA in that jurisdiction.

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Steps to becoming a certified public accountant cpa l.jpg

Steps to Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Patricia HartmanDirector of Examination OperationsNASBA

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The Credential - CPA

  • CPA is a credential conferred by a state or similar governmental jurisdiction that authorized the holder to practice as a a CPA in that jurisdiction.

  • Licensing of CPAs helps to protect the public because only those individuals who have met the requirements are permitted to hold themselves out to the public as CPAs.

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The Credential - CPA

  • There are three basic requirements that must be met in any state or jurisdiction to qualify for a CPA license – Education, Examination, & Experience

  • The education & experience requirements vary for each state or jurisdiction.

  • The successful completion of the Uniform CPA Examination is a requirement in all 55 jurisdictions.

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The Organizations

  • The Nebraska State Board of Public Accountancy

  • CPA Examination Services (CPAES)

  • The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA)

  • Thompson Prometric

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The Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy

  • The Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy is an administrative an administrative branch of the Nebraska government.

  • The Board has enacted accountancy laws governing the licensing of professional accountants.

  • The Board issues licenses to practice, promulgate rules of professional conduct, investigate complaints, and takes disciplinary action.

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CPA Examination Services (CPAES)

  • CPAES is a division of NASBA that does application processing, credential evaluation, examination administration and score reporting for several of the Boards of Accountancy.

  • The Nebraska Board has designated CPAES as its’ agent for examination processing.

  • CPAES does not regulate or issue licenses to practice public accountancy.

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The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

  • NASBA serves as a forum for its 55 member boards of accountancy in the U.S. and its’ jurisdictions.

  • NASBA operates the National Candidate Database (NCD.)

  • NASBA does not regulate or govern the boards of accountancy.

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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

  • The AICPA is a national, professional organization of CPAs.

  • The Board of Examiners is an executive committee of the AICPA with the overall responsibility of preparing and scoring the Uniform CPA Examination

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Thomson Prometric (AICPA)

  • Thomson Prometric, a part of the Thomson corporation, is a global leader in computer-based testing.

  • Thomson Prometric is responsible for the actual delivery of the examination via computer at established test centers nationwide.

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The Uniform CPA Examination (AICPA)The Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination is designed to assess the knowledge and skills entry-level CPAs need to practice public accountancy. It is a 14- hour computer-based tests comprised of four sections:

  • Auditing & Attestation (AUD)

  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  • Regulation (REG)

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The First Steps (AICPA)

  • Decide where you want to be licensed.

  • Review the specific requirements of that jurisdiction. Nebraska’s requirements are available at

  • Review the Uniform CPA Candidate Bulletin.

  • Visit and take the tutorial and sample tests.

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The First Steps (AICPA)

  • Obtain application materials from

  • Complete and submit forms, transcripts and pay fees to CPAES.

  • Allow 4-6 weeks for your eligibility to be determined.

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Next Steps (AICPA)

  • If there are any discrepancies in your application materials, CPAES will notify you via email, telephone or U. S. mail.

  • Once you are deemed eligible to take the examination, CPAES will transmit an Authorization to Test (ATT) to NASBA’s National Candidate Database.

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Next Steps (AICPA)

  • The information in the ATT will be cross referenced against all candidate records in the nation to ensure that candidates are not applying in multiple jurisdictions.

  • Once the ATT is processed, the NCD generates your Notice To Schedule (NTS.)

  • Your NTS will be sent to you via the means you selected on your application. Be sure to check all information on the NTS closely.

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Scheduling Your Examination (AICPA)

  • Once you receive your NTS, you will contact Thomson Prometric to schedule your test appointment at your convenience.

  • You can schedule via internet or telephone and will be given a confirmation number for your appointment.

  • CPAES recommends that you double check your appointment date and time on the internet.

  • Your appointment time will be 30 minutes longer than your examination. This time is allotted for the sign-in procedures and exit survey.

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At the Test Center (AICPA)

  • Bring your NTS to the Test Center – you will not be admitted without it.

  • Bring two approved forms of identification as explained on the NTS.

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment time.

  • Write your Examination Section ID on the scratch paper.

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Beginning the Examination (AICPA)

  • Once you are seated at a workstation, you will have a limited amount of time to enter your examination password.

  • Once the examination is launched, you will have a limited amount of time to read through the introductory screens.

  • Do not use this time to write notes or reminders on your scratch paper.

  • If you exceed the time allowed to log in and read the introductory screens, the examination will terminate and cannot be restarted. You will forfeit your appointment and all fees paid.

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During the Examination (AICPA)

  • Be sure to read and follow directions closely.

  • Report any problems to the Test Center Administrator (TCA).

  • Don’t allow yourself to become distracted as long as you are able to continue testing.

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During the Examination (AICPA)

  • The examination consists of several sections or testlets. You will be able to review questions in any testlet but you will not be able to go back to a testlet once you have exited from it.

  • You may take a break between testlets, however, your examination time is still running, so use your time wisely.

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At the End of Your Examination (AICPA)

  • The examination is timed, so if you exhaust all available time, you will be presented with a warning that your time has expired.

  • You can quit the examination at any time during your appointment, but once you quit the examination, it cannot be restarted and you will be required to leave the testing center.

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After the Examination (AICPA)

  • If you encounter any difficulties or have any concerns after completing your examination, please contact NASBA’s Candidate Care Department via email at [email protected]

  • If you have questions regarding the content of the examination, please contact the AICPA via fax at 201-938-3443 .

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Scoring (AICPA)

  • At the end of your testing event, Prometric will transmit your result file to the AICPA for scoring.

  • The AICPA will then score your examination and release the advisory score to NASBA.

  • NASBA will match your score to your candidate record, generate a score notice and forward that information to CPAES.

  • CPAES will ensure that the information is complete and accurate, then release the score information to candidates at and through the U. S. mail.

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Reexamination Registration (AICPA)

  • Once your eligibility for the examination has been determined and you have been issued an NTS, you will be able to register for additional sections via telephone or internet.

  • As a Reexamination candidate, you will not be required to submit an application or transcripts.

  • You will still be required to submit a State Board Form, which can be obtained from CPAES.

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Reexamination Registration (AICPA)

  • If you received a failing score and wish to retake that section or if you want to take additional sections of the exam, you will need to register as a reexamination candidate.

  • To register as a reexamination candidate, call 1-800-CPA-EXAM or visit our website at

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Completing the Examination Process (AICPA)

  • Once you have successfully completed the CPA Examination, you will be sent a letter regarding further steps in the process to become a CPA.

  • You will be required to complete the AICPA Professional Ethics for CPA’s examination.

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Examination Credit (AICPA)

  • The AICPA releases Advisory Scores. The Nebraska Board determines if you receive credit for a passing score.

  • Once credit is granted, it is valid for eighteen (18) months from the actual test date.

  • Candidates must pass all four sections of the CPA Examination within that eighteen (18) month period or the credit will expire and candidate will have to retake that section.

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Completing the Examination Process (AICPA)

  • You will then apply for a certificate from the Nebraska State Board of Public Accountancy.

  • You will then be issued a permit to practice and will be required to complete 4,000 hours over two years of verified experience with a licensed CPA in a licensed CPA firm.

  • After meeting the experience requirement, you will apply for your permit and will be authorized to use the CPA designation.

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Websites & Email Addresses (AICPA)

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Important Numbers (AICPA)

  • 1-800-CPA-EXAM (CPAES)

  • 1-866- MY- NASBA ( NASBA)

  • 1-800-580-9648 (Prometric Scheduling)

  • 1-800-347-3781 (Prometric Security)

  • 1-800-853-6769 (Prometric Customer Care)

  • 201-938-3443 (AICPA Exam Team Fax)

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Nebraska Requirements (AICPA)

Be a resident of Nebraska; or

Have a place of business in Nebraska; or

Be regularly employed in Nebraska.


Meet the educational requirements as outlined at

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Nebraska’s Educational Requirements (AICPA)Successful completion of at least 150 semester (225 quarter) hours of postsecondary academic credit and earned a baccalaureate or higher degree from a college or university to include:

  • 30 semester (45 quarter) hours in accounting above the introductory level (subjects to be covered include financial accounting theory, cost/managerial accounting, taxation, auditing, accounting information systems, and governmental/not-for-profit accounting);AND

  • 36 semester (54 quarter) hours in general business subjects (subjects to be covered include macroeconomics, microeconomics, business law, marketing, management, finance, business communication, business ethics, quantitative applications in business, and principles of accounting).

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Nebraska’s Educational Requirements (AICPA)

  • Business law courses qualify only towards the 36 semester hours in general business and may not be counted to fulfill the accounting requirement.

  • Credit earned at a two-year institution is acceptable only when transferred into a regionally accredited four-year university and the credit is applied towards the applicant's degree.

  • Credit earned after conferral of a baccalaureate degree must be completed at a four-year institution.