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Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Table of Contents

What is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?

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.

Job 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 an 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 around 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 an “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.

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How many papers are there in the CPA?

There are totally 4 Papers/parts

Part 1:   Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

Part 2:   Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

Part 3:   Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

Part 4:   Regulation (REG)

CPA Sylabuss

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


Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  1. Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, and Financial Reporting
  2. Select Financial Statement Accounts
  3. Select Transactions
  4. State and Local Governments
Regulation (REG)
  1. Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures
  2. Business Law
  3. Federal Taxation of Property Transactions
  4. Federal Taxation of Individuals
  5. Federal Taxation of Entities

CPA Exam Pattern

Audit and Attestation (AUD)

  • 50% Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • 50% of Task-Based Simulations.

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  • 50% Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs),
  • 35% of Task-Based Simulations,
  • 15 % Written Communication (WCT).


Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  • 50% Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • 50% of Task-Based Simulations.


Regulation (REG)

  • 50% Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • 50% of Task-Based Simulations.


CPA Exam Windows

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

‍‍Q1  – January 1 – March 10

Q2 – April 1- June 10

Q3 – July 1- September 10

Q4 – October 1 – December 10

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

 CPA Exam Timings

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

Welcome/enter launch code – 5 Min

Confidentiality/section information – 5 Min

Testing time – 4 Hrs

Break after the third test let (option to pause Exam timer)  – 15 Min

Survey – 5 Min


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