Step By Step How to Become A CPA in Rhode Island

Obtaining a CPA license to work as a Certified Public Accountant is mandatory in all states. However, there are various requirements that aspiring CPAs must go through to get their CPA license.

The overall process is similar across all states in the US. However, the local board for each state dictates the details for each step.

The Rhode Island Board of Accountancy handles the licensure procedure in Rhode Island. The board is responsible for setting the requirements for candidates to get their CPA licensure.

How to Become a CPA in Rhode Island?

Like any other state, aspiring CPAs in Rhode Island must start by obtaining formal education. They must get their bachelor’s degree and meet other requirements in an accounting program. Once they do so, they must pass the Uniform CPA Exam, which is compulsory.

Lastly, they must meet some experience requirements to qualify for their CPA license.

Educational Requirements

Candidates in Rhode Island must first go through a formal education period. During this period, they must obtain the knowledge required for the accounting profession.

This education is also necessary to pass the Uniform CPA Exam and for further experience. There are some requirements that candidates must fulfill during this process, which include the following.

  • Candidates must enroll in an accredited university or college with an accounting program. They must earn 150 semester hours of college credit and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  • They must either be a resident of, be steadily employed in, or have a place of business in Rhode Island. Candidates who don’t meet this requirement cannot take the Uniform CPA Exam.
  • The board may also accept candidates who have already enrolled in an accounting program or who are recent graduates. However, their accounting program requires accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education.
  • Candidates must register for the proper classes. Candidates must have completed 150 semester hours of college education and have a degree in one of the options listed below.
  • Earn a graduate degree with an accounting concentration.
  • Earn a graduate degree with 15 semester hours in graduate accounting or 24 semester hours in undergraduate accounting.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree with at least 24 hours in undergraduate or graduate-level accounting and 24 hours in undergraduate or graduate-level business courses.
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Uniform CPA Exam

Once candidates get their educational requirements sorted, they can apply for the Uniform CPA Exam. They must go through the following process to take and pass the exam.

  • Candidates must register online with the CPA Examination Services.
  • They must submit all necessary documentation with their application. These include the following.
    • An official college transcript in a sealed school envelope.
    • Any necessary disability testing accommodations request if necessary.
    • All necessary fees.
  • They must schedule their exam after they receive their notification to schedule.

Experience Requirements

Lastly, candidates must go through practical experience before getting their CPA license. During this period, they must meet some requirements, which are as below.

  • Candidates must pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Home Study Course on Professional Ethics.
  • They must have at least one year (or 1,820) hours of paid public accounting experience, supervised and verified by a licensed CPA.
  • Candidates must demonstrate the following competencies within their portfolio of experience, depending on their employment settings.
    • For public practice as a staff accountant, candidates must demonstrate the following competencies.
      • Using independent thought and judgment on a variety of accounting matters
      • Applying the correct technical and behavioral standards to their work
    • For federal, state, or municipal government practitioners, it includes the following.
      •  Assessing the effectiveness of the internal controls of the accounting agency, transaction streams, and/or information systems
      • Understanding the industry/industries with which their agency does business
    • For work in the industry, these include the following.
      • Applying principles of accounting
      • Appraising the competence of their employer’s internal controls
      • Budgeting
      • Cost accounting
      • Other professional services offered in the practice of general public accounting
      • Preparing and analyzing financial statements
      • Preparing tax returns
      • Researching tax returns
      • Understanding the transaction streams and information systems of their employer
      • Understanding their employer’s industry and competition
    • For candidates who work in education, these are as follows.
      • Be an instructor at an accredited college or university.
      • Teach upper-level courses only.
      • Use independent judgment and thought on non-routine accounting matters.
    • Apart from these, they must also demonstrate some general competencies, which include the following.
      • Developing and analyzing critical success factors and performance measures
      • Displaying knowledge and understanding of the goals and objectives of different business entities
      • Preparing and analyzing financial statements
      • Preparing work papers and documentation
      • Understanding information systems and transaction streams
      • Understanding regulatory trends and economic factors that affect a business entity
      • Understanding the Rhode Island Board of Accountancy’s Code of Professional Conduct
  • Candidates must also select a CPA with a current and valid license to verify their experience.
  • They must fill out the top portion of the Experience Verification form and give it to the verifying CPA to complete.
  • They must give their supervising CPA an addressed, stamped envelope to return the form directly to the board.
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Summary

Below is a summary of how to become a CPA in Rhode Island.

  • Candidates must start by enrolling in an accredited university and meet the educational requirements.
  • They must pass their Uniform CPA Exam.
  • They must then meet the experience requirements set by the Rhode Island Board of Accountancy.
  • Lastly, they must apply for a CPA license.

References

  1. “Rhode Island Board of Accountancy” – https://dbr.ri.gov/divisions/accountancy/
  2. “Rules & Regulations: Board of Accountancy” – https://dbr.ri.gov/rules/accountancy/
  3. “Rhode Island | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/rhodeisland/