Georgia CPA Exam & License Requirements 2017

The educational requirements for Georgia aligns with many other states in order to sit for the CPA exam.

GeorgiaThere are many different certifications for accountants to take these days. You might choose forensic accounting, information systems accounting, financial planning or any other option, as there are at least eight designations for accountants. However, the top license for all accountants is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is a state-issued license or certificate that is considered one of the most difficult professional designations to earn in the United States. If you are studying accounting, or are already an accountant considering elevating your career to the next level, you’ll need to learn how to become a CPA in Georgia.

General Requirements

Georgia’s general requirements are like many other states. They do not require U.S. citizenship or state residency, but they do require a Social Security number. Several states allow you to use the taxpayer identification number, so if you lack a SSN, check with the board to see if you can make a substitution. Apart from these minimal requirements, you will need the appropriate education, examination scores and experience to become a CPA in the Peach State.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements for Georgia aligns with many other states. To sit for the CPA exam, you will need 120 semester hours of undergraduate coursework that includes a specialty or major in accounting. For the full license, an additional 30 semester hours are required. Georgia differs from a lot of states in that it does not require you to take an ethics course or exam.

Your college or university will need to be fully accredited by a regional accreditation board in order to qualify you for the exam. When you decide on accounting as your major course of study, discuss your coursework with your advisor. If you wish to receive your CPA license in Georgia, make sure that you plan your courses to meet the state requirements:

  • 30 semester hours of courses above the introductory level
  • 24 semester hours studying general business classes

To make sure that you are preparing yourself for the CPA exam, cover some or all of these topic areas:

  • Financial analysis
  • Taxation
  • Attestation
  • Cost accounting
  • Government/non-profit accounting
  • Financial reporting

Keep in mind that CPA review courses are only acceptable if they are given by accredited institutions such as your college or university. Commercial CPA courses cannot be accepted as part of your application. College Level Examination Program (CLEP) courses are likewise not considered for your CPA application process. Additionally, the Board does allow internships on a transcript but they may only take the place of two courses.

When you go about the process of completing your application, make sure that you have original sealed transcripts from every institution of higher learning you attended. Though you may have taken some summer courses and transferred them to your graduating university, you will need official records of those courses from their originating institutions.

Uniform CPA Examination

Once you have completed 120 semester hours and achieved your bachelor’s degree, you are ready to apply to take the Uniform CPA exam. This is a 4-part exam that comprehensively covers the world of accounting. You will need to pass each part with a minimum score of 75. Once your application to take the test has been approved, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS.) Upon receipt of the NTS, you will have six months to schedule your first test. You can take a test at any Georgia Prometric location. The Prometric website has comprehensive information, but you can find testing centers in the following Georgia cities:

  • Savannah
  • Atlanta
  • Macon
  • Augusta
  • Columbus
  • Athens
  • Smyrna

The four parts of the exam areas follows:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR )–Covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
  • 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 section covers general business concepts and international business. Written communication skills are vital to complete much of the test.

Keep in mind that these tests are very difficult and very often fewer than 50 percent of applicants will pass any one of them. However, if you study hard and even take a CPA review course you will surely increase your chances of passing on the first try.

Your scores will be available approximately 48 hours after you complete your test. You can find your scores online at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website.

Experience

Once you have completed and passed all four parts of the CPA examination, you are ready to begin work. The State of Georgia requires that all applicants work for one year (approximately 2,000 hours) in a public accounting firm, governmental agency, non-profit organization, private business or for an academic institution. If you choose to teach at the university level, make sure that you are teaching for an accredited institution and that you teach at least two upper-level accounting courses. Any courses taught outside of an accredited accounting department will not count.

For more information on becoming a Certified Public Accountant in Georgia, please visit the Board’s website: Georgia State Board of Accountancy.

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