How to Become a CPA in Colorado? (2023 Requirements and Others)

Aspiring CPAs in Colorado must get a CPA license to practice their trade. All CPAs have to register with the Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

The board handles all licensure processes for any CPA licenses in the state. Aspiring CPAs must also fulfill the requirements set by the board in three different steps, including education, exam, and experience.

How to Become a CPA in Colorado?

Aspiring CPAs in Colorado must start their CPA licensure by obtaining formal education. Next, they have to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in the state and pass it with satisfactory results.

Next, they must go through a practical experience period in the state. Aspiring CPAs must fulfill the Colorado State Board of Accountancy requirements for each step.

Educational Requirements

Aspiring CPAs must understand the basics of accounting before getting their license. The goal for these candidates is to acquire formal education first.

This education can then help them down the line with their exam and practical experience. As mentioned, there are some requirements for them to satisfy.

These come from the Colorado State Board of Accountancy and include the following.

  • Aspiring CPAs must enroll in a college or university that offers accounting programs in Colorado. During this period, they must complete a bachelor’s degree.
  • Some aspiring CPAs may have already enrolled in or graduated from a college. However, they can still apply to the board. Before doing so, they must ensure the Colorado State Board of Accountancy will accept their credentials.
  • Some aspiring CPAs that have completed education outside the US may also be applicable. However, they must get an evaluation from the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services member agency.
  • Aspiring CPAs must also register for the suitable courses in one of the three scenarios from the board. These scenarios depend on when they received their bachelor’s degree and applied for certification.
  • Getting a bachelor’s degree is crucial for aspiring CPAs applying for certification after 2015. Similarly, they must complete additional 30 hours of non-duplicative courses or a higher degree. They must also include the following in their semester hours.
    • 27 semester hours of accounting courses that are upper-division. These may include the following.
      • Accounting ethics
      • Accounting research and analysis
      • Accounting information systems
      • Accounting theory
      • Financial accounting/reporting for government and nonprofit entities
      • Financial accounting/reporting for business organizations
      • Fraud examination
      • Financial statement analysis
      • Managerial Accounting
      • Cost accounting
      • Internal controls and risk assessment
      • Tax research and analysis
      • Taxation
      • 6 semester hours of accounting courses. Of these, 3 semester hours must be in auditing courses related to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The rest may be in one of the following.
        • Advanced auditing
        • Another subset of basic auditing
        • Fraud
        • Information technology auditing
      • 3 semester hours in an accounting ethics course.
    • 27 semester hours in business administration courses that are upper-division. These must include the following.
      • 3 semester hours must be in the following areas.
        • Accounting communications
        • Business communications
        • Technical communications
      • The remaining semester hours may include the following courses.
        • The behavior of organizations, persons, and groups
        • Business communications
        • Business ethics
        • Business law
        • Computer information systems
        • Economics
        • Finance
        • The legal and social environment of business
        • Management
        • Marketing
        • Quantitative applications in business
        • Statistics
      • 30 additional semester hours must come within five years of passing the Uniform CPA Exam.
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Uniform CPA Exam

The next step for aspiring CPAs is to sit for their Uniform CPA Exam. They must go through the following process to do so.

  • Aspiring CPAs must register with CPA Examination Services. They must also submit the following documents with their application.
    • Their official and original college transcripts.
    • A completed and signed Colorado First-Time application for the exam.
    • A completed and signed Affidavit of Eligibility and a copy of their identification.
    • A completed, signed, and notarized Attestation form.
    • The required application fees.
    • Those still enrolled in college must also include a Certificate of Enrollment Form.
  • They must then schedule their exam after receiving their Notice to Schedule. There are four locations where they can register.

Experience Requirements

Lastly, aspiring CPAs must meet the experience requirements of the Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

Candidates have the option to choose the Education instead of Experience option. It is only applicable to those with a bachelor’s degree with 150 semester hours, of which 45 semester hours are in accounting courses, and 36 are in business administration courses.

If they don’t have the above requirements, they must go through one year (or 1,800 hours) of supervised work experience. It must satisfy the following criteria.

  • It must include full- or part-time experience of not more than five years before applying for certification.
  • A licensed CPA must verify it from either Colorado or other states.
  • It must be in one of the following areas.
    • Academia
    • Government
    • Private Industry
    • Public Accounting

Aspiring CPAs must also submit a Certificate of Experience from each employer if they go for the second option.

Top 10 Accounting Schools In Colorado For CPA

  1. The University of Colorado Boulder – UC Boulder’s Leeds School of Business is one of the top-ranked accounting programs in the nation. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting.
  2. Colorado State University – Colorado State University’s College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. The program is accredited by the AACSB and prepares students for careers in public, corporate, and government accounting.
  3. University of Denver – The Daniels College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting. The program is accredited by the AACSB and provides students with a solid foundation in business and accounting principles.
  4. The Metropolitan State University of Denver – Metropolitan State University of Denver’s School of Business offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. The program prepares students for public, corporate, and government accounting careers.
  5. Regis University – Regis University’s Loretto Heights School of Nursing & Health Professions offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. The program is accredited by the AACSB and provides students with a strong foundation in business and accounting principles.
  6. Western State Colorado University – Western State Colorado University’s College of Business offers a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. The program is designed to prepare students for careers as CPAs, auditors, controllers, tax accountants, and more.
  7. Fort Lewis College – Fort Lewis College’s Department of Business Administration offers a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. The program is accredited by the AACSB and provides students with a strong foundation in business and accounting principles.
  8. Adams State University – Adams State University’s School of Business offers a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. The program is accredited by the AACSB and provides students with a solid foundation in business and accounting principles.
  9. Colorado Mesa University – Colorado Mesa University’s College of Business offers a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with an emphasis on either public or corporate accounting. The program is accredited by the AACSB and provides students with a strong foundation in business and accounting principles.
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Top 10 Accounting Firms in Colorado For CPA

Colorado is a great state for CPAs to practice in. There is an abundance of top-notch accounting firms in the Centennial State that offer excellent services and professional guidance.

Here is a list of the ten best accounting firms in Colorado, ranked from one to ten according to various factors such as size, reputation, client reviews, and more:

  1. Horter Investment Management LLC– This full-service tax, wealth, and estate planning firm has offices throughout the Denver Metro area. It provides comprehensive services related to trust, investments, and retirement planning.
  2. Gustafson & Company – This accounting firm provides business consulting, forensic accounting, and tax services for individuals and small businesses in Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, and surrounding areas.
  3. The KRT Group – This multi-disciplinary public accounting firm offers audit, tax, and advisory services that cater to family businesses, non-profits, privately held companies, and governmental entities in Aurora and its surrounding towns.
  4. Pope Anderson & Associates – With locations in Denver’s Lodo neighborhood and Estes Park, this firm is dedicated to providing their clients with quality financial advice, including accounting, auditing & assurance services, fraud prevention tips, etc., for all types of businesses ranging from medium-sized entities to large corporations.
  5. Sanderlin Financial Group – Located in Littleton, this full-service CPA firm provides complete assurance, audit, accounting, and tax preparation services for privately held businesses and real estate developers. Attorneys help them make informed decisions about their finances.
  6. Holbrook & Manter LLP– Founded over 90 years ago, this accounting agency has four office locations throughout Ohio and has been servicing clients with a wide range of services such as consulting, litigation support, tax filing assistance, etc., making it one the most sought after accounting firms across the state.
  7. Anderson Zurmuehlen & Co – This full-service public accounting firm based out of Montana also serves neighboring states such as Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, and Washington, along with offering portfolio management custom professional development plans, etc., that help meet everyone’s individual needs.
  8. Gerken & Associates CPAs –Founded by Daniel Gerken, this certified public accounting agency has served people across Boulder county since 1978, offering expertise on personal and corporate taxation risk management planning for high-net-worth individuals and many other sorts of accounting solutions.
  9. EEK Taxtime Services LLC–Located in Eastlake, CO, this team of professionals specializes in bookkeeping IRS representation payroll reports and income tax returns while riding superior customer satisfaction at each step. 
  10. Riley Accounting Solutions Inc– An independent accounting practice specializing in both personal income taxes and complex corporate returns providing practical strategies that ensure maximum return to minimize the impact of taxation efficiently.
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Why Should CPAs Work in Audit Firms?

Here are the top reasons why Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) should work in audit firms:

  1. The position provides a chance to get involved in complex problem-solving and develop analytical skills. Audit firms provide an opportunity to gain challenging, hands-on experience with complicated issues that can help CPAs advance their careers.
  2. There is the potential for earning solid opportunities. Audit firms offer attractive salaries and bonuses, including stock options, which can prove very profitable.
  3. Working in an audit firm also offers excellent learning opportunities in a collaborative environment. Working as part of a team allows CPAs to learn from more experienced professionals who have been around the block once or twice.
  4. Auditing allows CPAs to interact with high-profile clients, allowing them to build strong connections with key members of the business community.
  5. Audit firms provide valuable networking opportunities among different branches of accounting and finance, which helps CPAs expand their horizons and advance their careers even further.

Summary

Given below is a summary of how to become a CPA in Colorado.

  • Aspiring CPAs must meet the Colorado State Board of Accountancy’s educational requirements.
  • They must sit for the Colorado Uniform CPA exam.
  • They must meet the Colorado State Board of Accountancy’s experience requirements.
  • They must apply for their Colorado CPA license.

References

  1. “Colorado Board of Accountancy” – https://dpo.colorado.gov/Accountancy
  2. “Colorado | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/colorado/