Every aspirant desiring to work as US certified public accountant, whether they want to work in wealth investment or another area of finance, has to take the uniform CPA exam. The uniform CPA exam ensures that all the candidates, who receive certifications to work as public accountants, have same level of knowledge and skills. This exam is regulated by the national organization called American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or AICPA. National and state boards of accountancy help the AICPA organize the uniform exam. Recruiters usually select CPAs on the basis of their uniform CPA exam score. This post will enlighten you about the structure and purpose of uniform CPA exam.
Who Can Sit For The Uniform CPA Exam?
To be considered eligible for taking the uniform CPA exam, one must have a bachelor’s degree with 48 credits in accounting and business. A finance degree will count towards this as well. A candidate must have 24 semester units of accountancy coursework and 24 semester units of business related subjects. Candidates can receive bachelor’s degree in any dicipline as long as these requirements are met. However, to pass the exam, CPA aspirants must have detailed knowledge about business and accountancy subjects, specified by AICPA.
For the exam, the business related subjects include business administration, business law, economics, business communications and finance. The accountancy subjects you need to know are accounting, financial reporting, auditing, financial statement analysis, external or internal reporting and taxation. If you have studied more than 24 accounting credits, then you can convert them towards the business related subjects to qualify for the exam.
The Three E’s Of CPA Licensure
The uniform CPA exam is one of the leading licensing examinations around the globe. It aims to protect the public interest by allowing only the most qualified and skilled candidates to receive CPA certification. However, this is not the only tool for measuring a candidate’s eligibility to become a certified public accountant. AICPA uses three E’s of education, examination and experience to judge the potential of the CPA candidates. Depending on location, the required level of education and experience can vary from one state to another. To become a CPA accountant, you do not need to be familiar with all the debt consolidation options available to individuals, however you do have to gain some experience too.
The Structure Of The CPA Exam
Getting back to the second E, the uniform CPA exam is a computer based exam. To complete the exam’s four sections, the original time required has been reduced now to 14 hours. Here is a quick overview of the sections.
The first section of uniform CPA exam is a four hour long Auditing and Attestation or AUD exam. This section tests the candidate’s knowledge of planning and reviewing engagements, obtaining, evaluating and documenting information. The next section is another four hour long Financial Accounting and Reporting or FAR exam. This FAR section encompasses topics like financial statement, specific financial transactions, accounting for both governmental and non-governmental agencies. Thirdly, the 3 hour long Business Environment and Concepts exam tests the candidate’s knowledge of economy, financial management and business structure. The fourth and final section comprises of a 3 hour long Regulations or REG that covers areas like tax procedures and business law.
The uniform CPA exam combines essay and multiple choice questions. The different structures are used to effectively evaluate both the knowledge and analytical skills of candidates. If you are feeling ambitious, it is possible to sit for multiple sections of the exam, during a testing window.
How US Candidates Can Apply
To take the uniform CPA examination, you must contact the board of accountancy in your state. The documentation, fees, eligibility criteria and deadlines tend to vary from one state to another. They will confirm eligibility, verify the exam date and provide a testing window. The total cost of taking uniform CPA examination includes examination fees, administration fees and application fees. The CPA examination may be taken in a jurisdiction other than where you live at present. Of course, you must meet the eligibility criteria specified by that jurisdiction for this.
Expect A Wait
There are an incredible number of finance professionals wishing to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Therefore, you should expect it to take awhile to process your application. If you already have a job offer, say one from Visium Asset Management, be sure to let them know about this wait time. Expect it to take the NASBA, or National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, up to six weeks for processing. If it takes longer, then you should reach out to figure out what the holdup is. However, be sure to keep in mind the high volume of applications and the six week processing window.
Lastly, the passing score for uniform CPA exam is 75. Those who pass it are considered to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to become certified public accountants. Both government agencies and private sector companies are interested in hiring CPAs because of their proven expertise and comprehensive accounting skills.
Image from http://www.accountingdegree.com/blog/2012/40-essential-links-for-cpa-exam-prep-practice/