Step By Step To Become a CPA in Pennsylvania (2022)

Pennsylvania has a CPA licensure program for those who want to work as a Certified Public Accountant. The requirements for obtaining the license are similar to other states.

However, the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy sets specific requirements for aspiring CPAs to get their CPA license in the state.

Once candidates meet all of these requirements, they can apply for their Pennsylvania CPA license. A detailed description of how to go through the process is as follows.

How to become a CPA in Pennsylvania?

As mentioned, the overall process for obtaining a CPA license is the same across the US. Candidates first start with getting an accounting education.

This process is necessary for taking the Uniform CPA Exam, which is the next step. Lastly, candidates must also fulfill the requirement to obtain practical experience. Once they go through all these steps, they can get their CPA license in Pennsylvania.

Educational Requirements

The first step to obtaining a CPA license in Pennsylvania is formal education. Since CPA is an accounting field, candidates must get this education from an accounting program.

This education sets their base for further professional work and helps them learn the fundamentals. The requirements that candidates must satisfy during this step include the following.

  • Candidates must enroll in an accredited accounting program at a Pennsylvania-based university. During this program, they must fulfill 150 semester hours of credit and get a bachelor’s degree. Similarly, 24 hours from the total 150 must be in accounting.
  • The board may accept their education for candidates who have already graduated or are currently enrolled. However, they must ensure that the program must be accredited by a national accreditation organization recognized by the US Department of Education.
  • The board will assess if their accounting program is not accredited to ensure it meets their requirements.
  • Candidates must also enroll in appropriate classes. These classes must satisfy the following requirements set by the board.
    • The program must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and complete 150 hours of education. This program must include 24 semester hours of accounting, which consists of the following.
      • 3 semester hours of general accounting.
      • 3 semester hours of business law, auditing, or finance.
      • The remaining 18 hours of any combination of accounting, business law, audit, or finance.
    • Correspondence, online courses, and CLEP credits if the candidate receives credit from them through an accredited US program.
    • It must not include any finance courses with “money” or “banking”.
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Uniform CPA Exam

The next step for candidates is to take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam. This exam tests their knowledge of accounting and other related areas.

Only candidates that have completed at least 120 semester hours of education, including the 24-hour accounting concentration, can take the exam. They must also have a bachelor’s degree.

Candidates must go through the following process to take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.

  • Candidates must apply to take the exam through NASBA CPA Exam Services. They can submit their application online or through the mail.
  • They must send the proper documents with the application, which include the following.
    • Their school transcript.
    • Applicable examination fee.
  • They must schedule their exam at an approved location once they get their Notification to Schedule.

Experience Requirements

Candidates must also fulfill experience requirements once they pass their Uniform CPA Exam. These include the following.

  • Candidates must complete the correct experiential requirements based on the degree they hold. The board requires them to complete one year (or 1,600 hours) of experience.
  • The experience may occur in private industry, federal, state, or local government. Candidates must complete this experience within five years of the date they apply for a Pennsylvania CPA certification.
  • A licensed CPA must verify the experience. Candidates must complete the top portion only of the Verification Experience Form and give it to their employer. They must also provide a stamped, addressed envelope so the supervisor can return the form to the board directly.
  • Candidates can claim any employment, with a few exceptions. These include the following.
    • Self-employment
    • Work they performed as a partner in a partnership
    • Work they performed under the supervision of an unlicensed CPA
    • Work they performed for another independent accounting firm not listed as their direct supervisor
  • The experience must also include some competencies, which are as follows.
    • Attestation engagements
    • Audits of financial statements
    • Compiling financial statements
    • Financial projections, analyses, and forecasts
    • Independent internal audits
    • Management advisory services
    • Operational and compliance audits
    • Preparing income and non-profit tax returns
    • Tax research
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Summary

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

  • Aspiring CPAs must fulfill the educational requirements set by the Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy.
  • They must take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
  • They must fulfill the relevant experience requirements set by the board.
  • They must apply for their CPA license in Pennsylvania.

References

  1. “State Board of Accountancy” – https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Accountancy/Pages/default.aspx
  2. “General Board Information” – https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Accountancy/Pages/General-Board-Information.aspx
  3. “Pennsylvania | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/pennsylvania/