Introduction to CPA
The Certified Public Accountant or CPA is a designation that is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or AICPA, which is also the most significant accounting body in the world. CPA is the highest level of competence in the field of accountancy and is recognized throughout the world. The CPA license opens doors to an illustrious global career in the field of accounting.
Equivalent to a chartered accountant designation in India, what makes CPA lucrative is its international recognition, which opens up many career avenues globally. The credential is widely desired across the globe giving you the expertise, experience, knowledge as well as the opportunity to carry out tasks beyond the caliber of an ordinary accountant.
Graduation is a must to appear in the CPA exams
To be a certified CPA, a student has to clear only 4 exams in a single level. The CPA curriculum focuses on building the skill gaps essential to work as a top-tier finance and accounting professional while building upon the foundation of graduation. This makes it mandatory to be a graduate to appear for the CPA exams.
Unlike the CA examination, which is lengthy and covers topics taught at the undergrad level, the Uniform CPA examination focuses on testing concepts and the ability to apply them. Thus while one can appear for a CA exam without an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree is a necessary eligibility criterion for the CPA exams.
Explaining 120 US semester hour credits
To be eligible to sit for the CPA exam, it is compulsory to have 120 US semester hour credits. So what does this mean?
Most of the state boards in the US require the individual to have 120 US semester hours credit to appear in the CPA exam. An Indian student, after his B.com or BBA degree, is eligible to appear for the CPA exam. Each year of university education awards him 30-semester credits of US education. The undergraduate degree in India is for 3 years, which automatically translates to 3*30 = 90 credits after the completion of the course, but if you have attained 1st division in your graduation from a NAAC accredited ‘A’ institution, then you get 120 credits instead of 90.
To get the 120 credits, a student needs to attend a Master’s degree, which is a 2-year course that gives him 60 credits (2*30 = 60). So when a student has a B.com and a Master’s degree it combines to give him 90+60 = 150 credits that make him eligible for the CPA examination. The undergrad student also has a choice of taking one year online post-graduate diploma course in public accounting from Amity University. It consists of 30 credits, and together with his B.com credit, a student will have 90+30 = 120 credits, which makes him eligible for the CPA exam.
There is a special waiver for B.com or an undergraduate course from a NAAC accredited ‘A’ university in India. The candidate is granted 120 credits for a 3-year B.com undergrad degree in this case, which means a 3 years course recognized as 4-years of education in the US.
Credits awarded for professional qualifications like CA, CS, and CWA
Every state in the US has a separate body called the State Board of Accountancy that gives the CPA license. Each state also has different criteria on the requirements of education credits and on the courses that they honor for the credits.
Few of the state boards in the US recognize professional qualifications like CA/CS and CWA, which is seen as 2 years equivalent to US education. This gives the student 60 credits (30*2), which along with a B.Com degree, cumulate to 90+60 =150 education credits.
The basic necessity before you apply – Foreign academic credential evaluation
As mentioned above, a minimum of 150 credits is required to apply for the CPA Exam and License. Since CPA is a US-based exam, Indian candidates aspiring to sit for the exam need to evaluate their academic credentials to check their eligibility for CPA. To get the credentials evaluated, a candidate needs to connect to an agency that is approved by the state board where he is applying. Make sure you choose the agency of your particular state because the list of agencies differs State by State.
The Foreign credential evaluation agency checks your documents and transcript and issues the report of your credential to the state board. The agency knows which rules have to be applied to the state you have chosen when reviewing your documents. This report covers the institutions attended by the candidate, dates of attendance, and all the individual courses taken by the student. Once you receive the credit report from the agency, you can proceed further with filling the application form.
Selecting the state for the CPA Exam and License
The accounting jurisdiction in the United States set the eligibility criteria and requirements for CPA. Theoretically, there are 55 states in the US to choose, but practically each state board has its own set of rules for the CPA examination. A student can pick any state in which they want to apply, but this is subject to approvals by the state authorities. Each individual case is unique and may make you eligible for specific state boards.
Miles highly recommends students to consult our academic team who have a thorough knowledge and a complete understanding of the most suitable states from where exam can be written, and Licenses obtained.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with our experts and get answers to all your queries!
57 thoughts on “Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – An overview”
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Thanks for posting such kind of information, i was really confused how credit system works and regular Bcom course just offers 90 credits and for CPA 120 is needed, so it was a mess for me but now i understood how system works and about NAAC A certified college that gives 10 credit extra every year and thus makes it 120 credits. And also thanks for sharing basic necessity before applying for CPA exam. Very Good, hope to see such informative posts in future.
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