Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the highest qualification a candidate can receive as an accountant in the United States. To become a CPA, a candidate must meet the educational, experience, and examination requirements set by the board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). A US CPA certificate has international recognition and can significantly progress your career as an accountant.
The CPA license can be granted by any of the 50 state accountancy boards of the United States. Additionally, it is also possible to receive a license from any of the five state accountancy boards of the United States territories.
Each of the boards determines the eligibility and requirements individually. Therefore, candidates should check the website of each board before they decide to approach the exam. However, the general eligibility requirement for all boards is as follows:
According to AICPA, one year of education in an Indian university is deemed as 30 credits. An exception may be made for aspirants who have graduated first-class from a NAAC-A certified university.
For candidates who are not eligible, Jain Deemed-to-be University and Amity University provide specialized 2-year diploma courses. The diploma awards 60 credit points. After this course, the candidate can be eligible to appear for the CPA examination.
The examination tests the basic and minimum knowledge required to become a certified accountant in the United States. The US CPA exam is a 16-hour examination. The examination is divided into four sections, each of four hours. The four sections in the examination are:
Candidates can take each section individually. However, candidates must pass all four sections within 18 months. The four sections of the US CPA examination are further divided into five smaller sections, called ''testlets''.
A test consists of one of the following types of questions:
Multiple choice questions: Multiple choice tests are called multi-stage approaches. The paper pattern for this test depends upon the candidate's testing ability. If the candidate continues to choose the correct answer, each subsequent question will become difficult. The difficult questions are given more weightage than simpler or easier questions.
Therefore, the latter questions will hold more weight than earlier questions if the candidate moves up through difficulty levels. These are present in the first two tests of each section.
Task-based simulations: Simulations provided in this testlet display a problem or a challenge. At the end of the simulation, the candidate is asked either ''fill in the blank questions'' or ''match the correct answer'' questions. The candidate is required to complete the answer based on the simulation and their understanding of the syllabus. Three task-based simulations are present in the AUD, FAR, and REG sections. While only two are present in the BEC section.
Written communication tasks: Written communication tests assess the candidate's writing ability. In this section, language, grammar and creativity are tested. Candidates are provided with a blank word document where they must write their answers. These types of questions only appear in the BEC section of the US CPA examination. Candidates are judged on how professional, clear, and complete their answers are.
Candidates are required to pass in each section and acquire a minimum score of 75 to pass the CPA examination and get a CPA license.
Licensed CPAs are often hired by public accounting firms and financial institutions. Licensed CPAs are also hired by multinational companies and their subsidiaries. CPA licenses are recognized internationally; therefore, a candidate can be hired by an international company and work overseas.
The course provides a comprehensive understanding of all the concepts, topics, and theories required in the business world. The course gives a comprehensive understanding of US GAAP, US tax laws, and US Audits. Therefore, licensed CPAs are capable of providing accountancy, advisory, consultancy, auditory, and investment banking services. These services can be hired by international companies based in India or US-based companies.
The Big4 companies that hire CPAs are:
Other popular firms that hire CPAs include:
Fortune 500 companies that hire CPAs include:
Licensed CPAs are allowed to practice Public Accountancy in all countries. Therefore, after completion of the course and obtaining the license, candidates have unlimited employment options.
CPA examinations for international students can be given at the testing centers in one of the fourteen countries: Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Scotland, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This change has ensured that international students no longer need to bear the added expense of international travel, visa, and accommodation.
The breakdown of the US CPA examination are as follows:
Amount in USD
Amount in INR (at $1 = INR 74)
Examination Fees ($250 per section)
International Testing Fees
Exam Application Fees
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a recognized certification that has excellent scope for the future. The CPA course is a short duration course that can be completed within 12 months. The examination can be given once the course is complete. This examination provides the candidates with a comprehensive overview of the laws of the United States.
Candidates can practice public accountancy in virtually any country. Furthermore, the course and the examination develop leadership skills, international perspective, and resourcefulness among candidates.