Your Guide To The New CPA Exam For 2024

AICPA hosts a database of CPA exam preparation resources, including costs and user ratings for each to help you narrow your options. The CPA exam process is long and rigorous, so planning can be the key to passing each section. Two high-level accounting roles include financial controllers and chief financial officers (CFOs). CPAs hold professional licenses that boost their employability and elevate their prestige. The designation may open doors to a broader range of professional opportunities. It can also boost earning potential, improve job security, and allow access to higher-level roles.

  • Yes, non-accounting majors have a few other options for accounting certifications if they don’t want to go through the requirements of becoming a CPA.
  • However, these opportunities still offer considerable professional development and networking opportunities.
  • All of those wishing to become a CPA must check with their State Board of Accountancy to find out how many credit hours are needed for their particular state to apply towards their CPA license.
  • The two main CPA alternatives that they can pursue are the CFA and CMA designations.

These senior professionals supervise accountants and work with top executives in directing organizational finances. Some controllers earn graduate degrees in finance or business administration to supplement their CPA backgrounds. Few certifications are as challenging to obtain as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. If the prospect of having to undertake the CPA exam fills you with anxiety, you should know that your career isn’t doomed if you can’t – or just choose not to – earn this credential. Maine only requires 15 credits of accounting classes, but it also has much more stringent experience requirements. Candidates must fulfill at least 4,000 hours of relevant work supervised by a CPA before they can become certified.

Questions About CPA Requirements

For example, preparing balance sheets for the potential investors of your corporate clients is a job duty you can fulfill when you’re not a CPA. You can either simply take more accounting classes at the undergraduate level or you can apply for a graduate-level business degree like an MBA. Once in the graduate program, simply take as many applicable accounting courses as you can. Most states require that CPA candidates have a bachelor’s degree in accounting in order to sit for the exam, but not all of them. The ethics exam is a multiple-choice test and it is administered as an open-book test. You need to pass with a 90 or better, but you have three attempts to pass the exam.

There are many reasons why becoming a CPA without an accounting degree may be the right choice for you. Keep reading for Becker’s best advice on how to become a CPA without a degree in accounting. How will you space out the various sections to give yourself ample study time? Keep track of exam application deadlines, and think about when you should schedule study sessions. Integrity Network members typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for Accounting.com as a side project. All Integrity Network members are paid members of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

How to Become a CPA Without an Accounting Degree

For some accounting professionals, the challenging path is worth the rewards. For others, the necessary effort does not make sense in the context of their overall career goals. Those wondering how to become a CPA should understand the path is not easy.

Financial Accounting and Reporting

Some schools offer five-year, dual-degree programs that award both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting. Instead, some individuals earn a graduate-level certificate
to meet credit requirements. Companies might require knowledgeable accounting professionals to work in roles like accounts payable and accounts receivable specialists, in which you would keep track of invoices to be paid and incoming payments. As a management accountant in a private company, your job duties might include preparing company-wide and departmental budgets, as well as fulfilling asset management functions. She earned a bachelor of science in finance and accounting from New York University. Matos began her career at Ernst & Young, where she audited a diverse set of companies, primarily in consumer products and media and entertainment.

What Are the Benefits of CPA Certification?

AICPA’s Exam Blueprints offer an excellent starting point for your test prep. The blueprints walk you through each section of the CPA exam, filling you in on what to expect and what to study. Each exam goes through a multi-step review process to ensure scoring accuracy. CPA candidates must choose one of three disciplines as the fourth section of the CPA exam. Additional changes include replacing an Excel spreadsheet with a JavaScript-based spreadsheet, implementing new task-based research simulations and eliminating multistage adaptive testing.

Salary and Career Paths

AUD also covers reporting requirements, risk assessment strategies, obtaining evidence and ethical responsibilities for CPAs. Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level. For those wondering how to become a CPA, the process begins with a bachelor’s degree, culminating with a CPA license. Candidates must first pass a challenging four-section test known as the Uniform CPA Examination.

The exam is a reminder to CPAs about the conduct expected and required of them when working with and in professional organizations. The path to CPA for non-accounting majors will require you to create a custom study strategy. You may need additional preparation time on topics you haven’t been exposed to or haven’t seen in some time.

The only exception is the ISC discipline, in which multiple-choice questions make up 60% of the score and task-based simulations account for 40%. Previous versions of the CPA exam included the BEC section, which explored corporate governance, information technology, financial and operations management, and economic concepts. The discipline section replaces BEC, allowing candidates to test in an area of interest or advanced skill.

How to Become a CPA Without an Accounting Degree: A Comprehensive Guide

Aspiring accounting professionals seeking to maximize their options generally choose to pursue licensure. According to the AICPA, the majority of U.S. jurisdictions offer licensure paths to candidates with two years of relevant professional experience. Most states accept general accounting experience acquired in roles open to all accounting professionals. Fresh out of college, you can use your accounting degree to find entry-level work as a junior accountant, auditor, budget analyst or estimator. At this point in your career, you won’t even be behind your peers who do intend to become CPAs, since they are still gaining the experience to be eligible for the credential. It’s not easy to get your CPA license without an accounting degree, but it is completely doable.

She has worked in the private industry as an accountant for law firms and ITOCHU Corporation, an international conglomerate that manages over 20 subsidiaries and affiliates. Matos stays up to date on changes in the accounting industry through educational courses. Most states have adopted the 150-college credit hour rule that requires candidates to earn at least 150 college credit hours before they can be certified. This is actually a good thing for non-accounting majors because it gives them a chance to earn some of the accounting requirements that they didn’t earn in their undergraduate degree program. There are several requirements to become a CPA which include educational requirements, passing the CPA Exam, gaining experience under a licensed CPA, and in some states, passing the ethics exam. While it might seem like a  lot of requirements to become a CPA, the time and effort are worth it.

They are categorized into many of the same topics you’ll work with on the exam, like auditing and financial reporting, and many are free or discounted for AICPA members. The three cores and three disciplines of the CPA exam each financial statement analysis notes pdf include both multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. The exam lasts 16 hours in total—four hours per section—and candidates can take different sections of the exam on different days rather than in one sitting.

The educational and experience requirements for CPA licensure typically take at least 5-6 years to complete. Candidates from non-accounting backgrounds and those who earn their degrees on part-time schedules face longer timelines. Most states require CPAs to complete continuing education credits annually to maintain their certification. CPAs can pursue continuing education through professional organizations and colleges, both in person and online. CPA candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and additional educational qualifications. But most states require aspiring CPAs to earn 150 credits — or about 30 credits beyond a typical bachelor’s program.

One major reason the CPA certification is so popular is because it significantly improves an accountant’s earning potential. Generally, CPAs can expect to earn 10 to 15 percent more than their peers without certification, according to the American Institute of CPAs. Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher. Check with your state board to see what will pass as experience and try to find a job doing that. Some states are very lenient when it comes to work experience while others are really strict.