Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
There are 55 states or territories of the United States which are members of
NASBA (National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy). Membership is granted to all candidates who successfully clear the CPA exams and complete certain additional requirements (based on the state you select).
The CPA exam is comprised of four separate exams that you must pass within 18 month (The time start the moment you clear your first paper). The CPA Exam is offered during the first two months of each calendar quarter. These are referred to as “testing windows”. You cannot take an exam during the last month of each quarter and these are black out period.
|Quarter||Months Exams can be taken||Black out period|
|Q1||January & February||March|
|Q2||April & May||April & May|
|Q3||July & August||September|
|Q4||October & November||December|
Candidates are allowed to take all four sections of the exam during any testing window and in any order they choose. However, you may not take the same section more than once during any single testing window.
Eligibility for CPAThere are about 50+ state boards from where you can give your exams. You need to choose one of them to give your exams. Each state board have different eligibility requirements for registeration. Most state boards of accountancy require about 120 to 150 hours of credit. i.e about 14 years of education.
Indian candidates planning to take the CPA exam with a B.Com are not eligible to give the CPA exams, since they do not have enough credits. In addition to the B.Com you need to have a master’s degree (Mcom, CA, CS, CWA, MBA etc) to cover the credits. You can do this by joining a distance learning program of a recognized university.
Subject covered under the CPA curriculumThere are only 4 subjects which needs to be cleared to become a CPA
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (Covers USGAAP and IFRS)
- Audit and Attestation (Covers GAAS (auditing standards) and audit procedures)
- Regulations (Covers Federal taxation and business law)
- Business Environment and concepts (Covers part of costing, financial management, economics, Information technology)
- Highest accounting degree in the USA
- Global recognition
- High Pass rate
- Clear in one year’s time
- Flexibility in giving the exams
- MNC’s and corporates listed in the US require CPA’s
- Work for the Big 4 accounting firms and other US-based accounting firms
- Work for companies providing accounting, taxation and other financial services to US clients
- Provide financial services or open up your own consulting firms
- Financial Accounting
- Assurance and Attest Services
- Internal Auditing
- Tax Preparation and Planning
- Income Tax
- SOX compliance
- Management Consulting
- Financial Planning & Analysis
Examination centersExams can be taken in USA or in the Middle East countries (including Dubai) Irrespective of which state board you choose you can give the exams in any state in the USA or in the Middle East
Benefits of becoming a CPA
Career Opportunities for CPA’sThe CPA qualification will be extremely rewarding in terms of increased credibility, opportunities and compensation.
Illustrative list of career opportunities for CPA’s are as below:
Comparison of Indian CA and US CPA
|Institute||US CPA||Indian CA’s|
|Flexibility of exams||You schedule you exam date||Fixed time table|
|Pass Rate||Greater than 40%||Single digit|
|Course Duration||Can pass in 1 year||5+ years|
|Recognition||Global recognition||Only recognized in India|
|No of levels||1 level||3 Levels of CPT, IPCC, Final|
|No of Papers||4 papers||16 papers over 3 levels|
|Experience to get membership/ license||1 Year||3 Years Articleship|
|Passing %||40-45% approx.||5-6% approx.|