Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

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Certified Public Accountant (CPA)is the highest qualification in the field of accountancy with its examination administered by the American Institute of CPA (AICPA). It enables the CPAs to transition their career from accounting to any area in Finance like Analysis& Planning, Income Tax, Regulatory Reporting and many others These professionals offer financial statement audits and other attestation services to help inform investors about the financial health of organizations. They provide individuals and families with valuable knowledge and advice on taxes and financial planning.

What does a CPA do?

CPAs offer organizations around the world tax, financial reporting and advisory services to drive strategic decision-making and foster growth and success.The job responsibilities of a public accountant include preparing and analysing reports on transactions, reviewing corporate and personal income tax return and providing tax consults and on-boarding for new clients.

Opportunities for CPA holders in India

The demand for CPA has increased significantly in recent times with the growth in MNCs and outsourcing of Finance & Accounting work from Big 4s in India..MNCs and Big 4s ( Delotte, EY, PwC, KPMG) are constantly on the look-out for CPAs. Many of them also sponsor their professionals to pursue the CPA course.

CPA Eligibility Criteria

CPA eligibility differs for each of the 55 states of the United States. For Indian graduates, the minimum requirement is :
    B.Com with M.Com
    Chartered Accountants with B.Com and B.Com with Accountancy Masters are eligible
    In some cases, B.Com with MBA are also eligible.
    There are a few other scenarios in which the aspirant might be eligible.

The 150 Credit Hour Rule Challenges 

One year of university typically equals to 90 credit hours .For a 3-year B.COM degree, you get 90 credit hours.

In the past, a CA certificate gave you an additional of a round 40 credit hours. With  90+40=130 credit hours you can get qualified for a few states. However, since 2012 chartered accountancy has been considered a “experience qualification” rather than an “academic qualification” and most state boards no longer grant credits towards the educational requirements. 


Fortunately there are solutions to this rule. If you have: 
(a) BCOM + related master’s (e.g. MCOM or Master’s inAccounting or tax), it is counted as 3+2 years = 5 years.  
(b) If you have BCOM + non-accounting master’s (e.g. MBA),you may need to take additional accounting courses to fulfil the minimum accounting requirements. To determine if this is necessary,  
(c) If you are BCOM + Indian CA, explore to get the US CPA.If the answer is yes.
(d) 4-year degree or equivalent (e.g. BCOM + 1 year of master’s), you can make up for the remaining 30 credit hours with non-degree courses. 
For (b), (c) and (d), there will be extra time, money and effort involved, but it is doable.

CPA Exam Schedule

You can take the Uniform CPA Examination four times per year. The testing windows are as follows: 

Q1      January1 - March 10
Q2      April 1- June 10
Q3      July 1- September 10
Q4      October1 - December 10   

Part 1:   Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
Part 2:   Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
Part 3:   Financial Accounting
Part 4:   Reporting (FAR)Regulation (REG)

You have a maximum of four and a half hours to complete the Exam:

5     minutes — Welcome/enter launch code
5     minutes — Confidentiality/section information
4     hours — Testing time
15     minutes — Break after third test let (option to pause Exam timer)
5     minutes — Survey

You must pass all four section in 18 months, earning a minimum score of 75 on each part.

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response
  • Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Corporate Governance
  • Economic Concepts and Analysis
  • Financial Management
  • Information Systems and Communications
  • Financial Management

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