Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – An overview

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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!

56 thoughts on “Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – An overview”

    1. This blog is really informative thank you for sharing such information. CPA is a globally recognized course that brings good career opportunities. All those who wants to be more than just graduates and who want to have a competitive edge over other students should really go for this course.

  1. 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.

  2. Nivethitha. R

    CPA is the one of the best courses which should be taken up by the accounting professionals who are interested to add up a professional qualification to their degree. CPA exams are now conducted in India by MILES EDUCATION which is an great opportunity to all Indian’s to upgrade themselves. This blog gives an exact information regarding CPA.

  3. Thank you for sharing this blog about an overview on CPA.It clearly has in-depth knowledge and is informative.This blog is useful for commerce graduates who want to make future in this field.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this information.This course is informative and has a thorough knowledge and a complete understanding on CPA course.This is useful for those who want to have a future in this field

  5. Thank you for the information. The blog had given all the information regarding CPA this helpful for all commerce graduates and also mentioned the required qualifications to attend the exams.

    1. This blog is very informative .CPA is an excellent opportunity for understand and enhance the knowledge . It is very useful for students especially commerce students. Thank you for giving valuable information.

  6. Kundum Varun Teja

    Thank you Miles Education for providing us with a broad spectrum about how we should approach to succeed in CPA. A very useful and insightful information.

  7. Thanks miles for great piece of information got on overview of cpa course and how can we go further about it this blog is very clear about the course got every information required from credits required for exam to where can we write exams

  8. The blog content is very informative and understandable. It provides a clear vision on CPA. It is really helpful for those who are not aware of this course. It would help many of us to clarify our doubts. CPA is an ideal option for a better tomorrow.

  9. Yashwin Anand

    CPA is certainly the best course for those who think accounting and auditing are their cup of tea. Thus, there is no place better than “Miles Education” which can help wannabes to reach the pinnacle of success.

  10. This blog was so informative..It cleared my all doubts regarding the eligibility for the course CPA. Thank you Miles!

  11. Viraj Rabadiya

    This blog helps to get indepth knowledge of CPA course including what is CPA , regarding eligibility, necessity before you apply, selecting the state for the CPA Exam and license , credit award before professional.

  12. Suhana Banerjee

    A perfect overview of the course with all the necessary details to choose US CPA as a career option

  13. The Blog was so helpful to me thankyou to miles education for such a informative blog
    It provides a clear vision on CPA . A very useful and insightful information.

  14. Kushimithaa thimmaareddy

    The entire CPA program has been explained beautifully…… thanks for such informative blog.

  15. It’s great how Miles supports CPA and CMA aspirants in numerous ways and some of which they do by even going out of the way for their students. They offer much more than just CPA coaching they offer a method of success.

  16. Sanveer singh

    Chartered accountancy is always said to be the most prestigious accountancy proffesion in India but after reading this article I really feel missing out on things other than CA. Thankyou miles education for enlightening me!

  17. Thank you for the information. The blog had given all the information regarding CPA which is very helpful.

  18. Definitely CPA is a flagship certification in the field of finance and accounting. As it has global recognition which makes it more desirable. Thank you Miles Education for providing such a precise overview for CPA.

  19. A very informative blog for those who are thinking to pursue CPA like me. I would definitely like to learn more about it from Miles.

  20. GURSHARAN KAUR

    Thanks for posting all the info. about CPA as i was worried what to do next after graduation and how to utilize this quarantine period. Now, after reading this , i have got a direction to my career . I am cleared about what i have to do next. Thankyou.

  21. Rohan Varghese

    The blog is a good read for CPA aspirants, and those currently looking for ways to pursue the CPA course!

  22. Bharathi Kannan

    This blog is very informative! I came to know what is CPA exam, how to pursue it, what are the subjects and how to obtain credit score. This blog has also given detailed explanation on what are the qualifications needed, and the credit score required to pursue it. Thank you!!!

  23. soumya Agarwal

    CPA is one of the best course for those who are interested in accounting and auditing… And Miles Education is one of the best platform to achieve your goal.

  24. Gunjan Kotwani

    Thank you so much for this great information . Miles Education really provides us with a broad spectrum about how we should approach to succeed in CMA, CPA. This blog contains a very useful and insightful information. This is really informative

  25. Through this blog anyone can understand the use or scope of doing CPA . No one can deny doing CPA after reading this blog . Studying CPA from miles will be more effective than any other institution.

  26. RAJ KUMAR PRASAD

    Thank You Miles Education for detailed information. As a Accounting Professional now I can easily understand about the US CPA eligibility criteria and requirement. This is useful information for me as well as those who are looking for a great career in the field of Accounting and Finance.
    Once again Thank You Miles Education!!

  27. This blog provides a good overview on US CPA. The whole content of blog is a package of essential knowledge related to this course. It shares almost every information that a CPA aspirant is looking for. Thank you miles.

  28. CPA- overview gives us a overall insight about the course. All the relevant information regarding US CPA is provided in the blog.Thanks miles education.

  29. This piece of information is highly useful to all the CPA aspirants out thereby bringing out great quality and full quality content, thank you!

  30. This is why i love miles blogs. Just like the above blog all of them are really interesting and informative. Helps you a lot to improve your knowledge in every fields.

  31. Tarika Rastogi

    This blog has given us an insight to this amazing course that US CPA. You should give it a read to get basic information about US CPA.

  32. Utkarsha Chopra

    It is very interesting and informative and helpful for those who are thinking to pursue in this field.

  33. Ishan Phadnis

    Great initiative by Miles! These exams are of great value!! Must do. Thanks for clearing doubts.
    As US CPA is not so popular as a career choice, we got to know about it and make an informed decision.

  34. I must say that MilesEducation is helping individuals to set a career which will help them to build a good future

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