November 2004
The Monthly Newspaper of the NYSSCPA
Vol. 7, No.14

Requirements for Becoming a CPA in New York State

The information provided below is subject to change. Students can keep up to date by visiting the New York State Society of CPAs homepage, www.nysscpa.org (click on the “Future CPAs” item, then click on www.nysscpa.org/futurecpas/howtobecomeanaccountant.htm).

As of this writing, CPA candidates must submit to the New York State Division of Professional Licensing Services a licensure application and a fee of $345; submit to the CPA Examination Services an initial application, a $125 fee and educational documentation; and have their education reviewed and approved.

Testing Requirement

Students now must pass the Computer Based Test (CBT) to qualify for a CPA license.

New York state students must take the 14-hour CBT during four yearly “testing windows”—from January to February; from April to May; from July to August; and from October to November—and successfully pass all four parts of the exam within 18 months. You may sit for parts individually, once during each calendar quarter.

The CBT has four sections, similar to the obsolete written exam:

  •  Auditing and Attestation (4.5 hours): covers auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards and other standards related to attest engagements.
  •  Financial Accounting and Reporting (4 hours): covers generally accepted accounting principles for business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities.
  •  Regulation (3 hours): covers federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities and business law.
  •  Business Environment and Concepts (2.5 hours): covers knowledge of the general business landscape and ideas.

The passing score for each of the four examination parts is 75 and is reported to each New York candidate on a pass/fail basis.

Education Requirement

To fulfill the education requirement, current students who postmark their CPA application (known as Form 1) prior to Aug. 1, 2009, have two options:

  •  Option 1: Earn a bachelor’s or higher degree, with 120 hours including, but not limited to, 24 hours in accounting, 21 hours in business and accounting electives, and 60 hour in liberal arts and sciences.
  •  Option 2: Earn a bachelor’s or higher degree, with 150 hours, including, but not limited to, 33 hours in accounting (financial accounting theory and principles, managerial accounting, and others), 36 hours in general business electives, and 60 hours in liberal arts and sciences.

Graduate students must maintain a B average or better; undergrads a C or better.

(A third option allows individuals with 15 years experience in accounting under certain circumstances to earn the CPA credential.)

Work-Experience Requirement

Applicants must demonstrate two years of qualifying experience in the practice of accountancy, or a satisfactory equivalent thereof as determined by the state board of accountancy. With 150 hours of education under option 2 above, the experience requirement can be reduced to one year. A minimum of 75 percent of that time must be in the areas of auditing services and financial statement preparation; at least one-half of the time must consist of auditing services alone. Full-time employment is considered to be a five-day, 35-to-40-hour week, excluding overtime. A CPA or a public accountant who supervised the applicant must attest to the candidate’s experience. Additional documentation of the student’s experience will be included with his or her file for review by the division of professional licensing services. For nonpublic auditing experience, please see the state board for public accountancy’s policy statement at http://www.op.nysed.gov/cpanonpub.htm.

More Information

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy maintains a useful website with a checklist of requirements, downloadable forms and other useful items. Go to www.nasba.org/nasbaweb.nsf/sit, click on “Uniform CPA Examination” and select “New York” from the pull-down menu. For the New York State Office of the Professions’ website on CPA license requirements, go to http://www.op.nysed.gov/cpa.htm.

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