Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the highest accounting qualification in the US. The CPA credential is a symbol of trust and professionalism in the world of business.
Receiving your CPA certification distinguishes you from other business professionals – the benefits are increased trust, opportunity, and financial reward.
In order to become a CPA, the first step is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination and the second step is to subsequently licensed, by the Board of Accountancy in one of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions.
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The state Boards of Accountancy are regulatory agencies that are responsible for administering the uniform CPA examination, licensing of certified public accountants (CPAs) and CPA firms, regulating the public accounting practice, continuing professional education, and peer review.
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) takes on the role of a central clearinghouse where all jurisdictions submit information on eligible candidates and from which all jurisdictions receive advisory scores and other examination data.
For the Uniform CPA Examination, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) determines the content of the examination, prepares the examination questions, determines the method of scoring, prepares advisory scores and conducts statistical analyses of examination results.
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The Uniform CPA Examination is administered in Prometric test centers in the U.S. and designated international locations, whether or not the test center is located within the borders of the jurisdiction where you are seeking your initial license.
Citizens and long-term residents of the countries in which the examination is administered may sit for the examination in international locations. Effective October 2014, Indian citizens can take the exam in UAE. However, candidates taking the exam in international locations have to pay additional fee of approx. $1,300 in addition to regular examination fee of $955. Moreover, candidates taking the exam in international locations will lose their exam credits if they do not become licensed within 3 years of passing all 4 sections of the exam.
The Uniform CPA examination is offered in the first two months of each calendar quarter. The examination is not given during the third month of each calendar quarter (i.e., March, June, September, and December) to allow for systems and databank maintenance.
The candidate can take any or all sections of the examination during any testing window and in any order. However, the candidate cannot take the same section more than once during any one testing window.
CPA exam scores are reported on a scale that runs from 0 to 99. A total score of 75 is required to pass each section. There is no penalty for incorrect responses. Only correct responses are counted.
After the Examination, candidate responses are forwarded to the AICPA for scoring. When advisory scores become available, the AICPA sends them to NASBA which in turn forwards it to Boards of Accountancy for approval and subsequent release to candidates.
Once you pass a section(s) of the examination, you are allowed a maximum of 18 months to pass all remaining sections in order to retain credit on the passed section(s). If you do not pass all four sections within that 18-month period, you will lose credit for the first section of the exam you passed. A new 18-month period will commence with a start date of the second section that was passed.
Scores for the Uniform CPA Exam will be released by NASBA to State Boards of Accountancy based upon the target score release date timeline listed in the table below.
For further information on CPA, please visit www.nasba.org