Florida CPA Exam & License Requirements 2017

Florida’s general requirements for its CPAs are pretty straightforward and on the same scope with those of many other states.

FloridaAs an accountant, you can achieve any number of certifications that will open doors for you. The premiere license, however, is that of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The CPA license is the acme of the accounting profession and the test to achieve it is considered among the most difficult of all the professional examinations. Every state has its own particular requirements for its CPAs, so if you live in the Sunshine State make sure you study how to become a CPA in Florida prior to starting your application process.

General Requirements

Florida’s general requirements for its CPAs are pretty straightforward and on the same scope with those of many other states. It requires a total of 150 semester hours in undergraduate coursework, which will enable you to sit for the CPA exam. You must complete the remaining 30 hours later. You must also show suitable experience. Florida state does not require an Ethics Exam as most other states do.

Florida does not require either state residency or U.S. citizenship of applicants, but they do require a Social Security number. If you do not have a SSN, consult with your college advisor to see if you can appeal the board and use another form of taxpayer identification, or if instead you’ll need to pursue licensure in another state.

Education Standards

To satisfy the Florida Board of Accountancy’s education requirements, you must complete 120 semester hours (160 quarter hours) of undergraduate work that culminate in a bachelor’s degree. Your school must be fully accredited by a regional accreditation board. If you received your education in either Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Hong Kong, their accreditation boards also qualify.

If you did not graduate from an accredited college or university, you can still sit for the exam in Florida. The Board makes an allowance if you have been accepted to a master’s degree program and have completed 15 semester hours that include three graduate-level hours in tax courses and six hours of other graduate-level coursework in accounting. Make sure that the remaining nine hours are pertinent to the study of accounting and the Board should look approvingly upon your transcripts.

To sit for the exam, your coursework will need to break down along these lines:

  • 24 hours of upper-level coursework including cost and managerial accounting, auditing, financial accounting, accounting information systems and taxes.
  • 24 hours of general business education, 21 of which must be at the upper level. A minimum of 6 semester hours must cover business law covering Uniform Commercial Code, contracts and torts.

For full licensure, make sure you meet the following course requirements:

  • 36 hours studying taxation, auditing, financial, cost/managerial accounting, and accounting information systems.
  • 36 hours studying general business, including six hours in business law courses.
  • You may not exceed more than nine semester hours in computer courses
  • You are not allowed more than nine hours studying statistics
  • You may substitute upper level accounting courses for your general business requirements
  • AP courses are acceptable credits, provided your degree-granting institution allowed them

Uniform CPA Examination

You must apply to take the exam. Once your application has been approved, you will receive a Notice to Schedule. Upon receipt of this notice, you will have six months to apply and sit for your first portion of the CPA exam. You may then schedule the exam at a Prometric exam service location and take the test at a time that fits into your schedule. Note that if you fail to schedule an exam time within six months of the Notice to Schedule, you will need to apply again.

You may take all four exam sections at once, but you are allowed a rolling 18 month period in which to pass all parts. Each part must be passed with a score of 75 or better. When your scores are received by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) you can access them online. Florida candidates can find their scores here.

The four parts of the exam are:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)–Covers financial reporting frameworks from industry experts. Candidates may be asked to compare statements that reflect different frameworks.
  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)–A test of your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
  • Regulation (REG)–Your professional and legal responsibilities are covered in this test.
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Written communication skills are vital to complete much of the test.

Experience

Once you have passed all four parts of your CPA exam, you are ready to apply your accounting skills as an employee. The Board requires 2,080 hours of work experience, completed over either 52 or 104 weeks. During this time, you are allowed reasonable sick and vacation time. Your experience must cover one or more of the following areas:

  • Accountancy
  • Attestation
  • Compilation
  • Financial Advising
  • Taxation
  • Consultation

Your supervisor must sign off on your experience with a Verification of Work Form and affirm that you performed your duties with competency and professionalism. From this point, you can complete the final application package, including all fees, and remit it to the Board.

For more information on becoming a CPA in Florida, visit the Board’s website: Florida Board of Accountancy.

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