Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the highest designation in accounting and finance that anybody can achieve in the USA and is also a globally recognized course.
The American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants or AICPA conducts the CPA exam. Any of the following points are to be met to be eligible to appear for the CPA exams:
For appearance in the examination, about 120 credits are needed, but on the other hand, 150 credit hours are required to become certified and get a full US CPA license. For this, one option that might appear is to get two bachelor’s degrees or one bachelor’s and one master’s degree to get the additional 30 credit hours.
The other option is to join as an anon-degree pursuing student at a community college or university and get the additional 30 credit hours.
A Chartered Accountant also gets additional credits from the state boards to appear for the CPA exam.
In India, a three-year bachelor’s degree is equivalent to 90 credit hours, on the other hand, CPA requires 120 credit hours to appear for the exams.
Each State Board has different qualification requirements for a CPA candidate to become eligible to appear and complete the CPA course.
There are four sections in the CPA exam. Each unit consists of different concepts.
The following sections are there in the CPA exam-
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
90 questions are asked from FAR and AUD subjects each. And 72 questions are asked from BEC and REG subjects each.
Exemption criteria in CPA exams:
A final-year CA/CMA student who has scored more than 50 marks in the final examination can easily get paper by paper exemption for the CPA course.
An intermediate CA/CMA student can get an exemption in the first two subjects, AFAE and BRLC.
A qualified CS can get an exemption from giving taxation laws and business laws exams.
On passing specific tests on the topics such as Indian Taxation Laws, Business Laws, and Indian GAAPs, ACCA Advanced diploma holders or affiliates can receive the CPA/ CTPR Award.
The CPA exam in India is conducted at 8 Prometric test locations:
Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, New Delhi, and Trivandrum.
The fees for all the sections together are as follows:
International Testing Fees (4 exams)
Rs 1,09, 500
Exam Fees (4 exams)
Rs 2, 13,525
CPA Admission Process:
Step 1: Check the eligibility of the candidate
The first step is to check whether the candidate is eligible to appear for the CPA course.
Step 2: Send the transcripts
Firstly, the candidate should send all of his transcripts to the state board so that they can review them and wait for the application. Doing vice versa will, on the other hand, lead to a waste of effort. Since, candidates need to wait to hear the views of the state board of accountancy.
Step 3: Filling the form
The next step is to fill out the basic form for the CPA course. The application fee differs from state to state but is approximately 150 USD. On submission of fees, the candidate needs to wait for Authorization To Test (ATT).
Step 4: Get the ATT
The candidate receives the ATT only after the approval of the state board. It makes the candidate eligible to appear for one of the CPA exam sections in the respective state. The ATT so received is valid for 90 days. Thus, the section to have appeared has to be decided well in advance.
Step5: Pay for the exam sections
On the decision of the section to have appeared in the next six months, the candidate can pay the fees by logging into his NASBA account. After the successful payment, they got to wait for the Notice To Schedule (NTS). The fee differs with exam sections.
Step 6: To get the NTS
NTS is a crucial document that gives the candidate the eligibility to appear in the CPA exam. Through the NTS the candidate can schedule the exam by logging into the Prometric website.
Step 7: Appear for the Exam
The NTS and two valid forms of ID to the test center will be carried.
Career opportunities after CPA
After completing the course and obtaining the CPA license, various opportunities open for qualified CPAs, which include Financial Advisor, Corporate Accountant, Finance Director, etc. A CPA can expect a salary of around Rs.6 lacs, which increases with experience, depending on the business and the organization he works for.