Alaska CPA Exam & License Requirements 2020
Learn how to become a licensed CPA in Alaska.
Every business and government agency relies on one or more accountants to make sure that its books are in order, that there is no undue waste, and that all of the taxes are paid. If you are in Alaska, there is always demand for a good accountant to help the state’s growth and expansion. Keep reading to learn how to become a certified public accountant by Alaska’s Board of Public Accountancy.
To become an Alaskan accountant, you do not need to be a full citizen of the United States and you can be any age whatsoever. In fact, you don’t even need to be a resident of the state. However, you will need to have most or all of the credits for a bachelor’s degree. Once you have satisfied the state’s educational requirements, you will need to take a comprehensive, 4-part exam given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) – the CPA exam. The CPA exam is considered by many to be one of the most difficult licensing exams.
On top of the difficult exam, you will need a minimum of two years’ experience working directly under a Certified Public Accountant. If you have been working with a private or government accountancy firm, then Alaska’s board requires three years of experience.
The Alaska application is very comprehensive and will ask for your employment history, professional or academic references and verifiable statements of professional fitness. Once complete, the application must be signed and notarized.
Alaska’s educational requirements are a bit looser than some other states. In fact, they make an allowance for those who have not yet completed their full bachelor’s degree to take the CPA exam. That does not mean that the process will be quick or easy, but it does mean that an eager student can get a head start on their career in accountancy without much fuss. There are a few ways to achieve your goals:
You have a degree and have concentrated in accounting with the following coursework:
- 24 Semester Hours in Accounting
- Three Semester Hours in Business Law
- Three Semester Hours in Economics
- Three Semester Hours in either math, statistics, or computer science
You can also earn a degree that includes 15 hours of Accounting coursework.
If you don’t yet have your degree but wish to start the process of becoming a CPA, make sure you meet the following requirements:
- Be within 18 hours of a bachelor’s degree
- Have completed 15 hours of accounting coursework
If you have a degree, but did not concentrate on accounting while in school, you may still take the exam in Alaska if you meet these conditions:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in another subject
- Less than 15 hours in accounting coursework
- One year of experience under the direct tutelage of a Certified Public Accountant
To demonstrate your education level, you will need to provide original transcripts from all of the institutions you attended. If you are applying under the concentration in accounting provision, indicate to your colleges or universities that this must be indicated on the transcripts. If you attended the University of Alaska and graduated with an accounting major, all you need to have is a copy of that transcript.
When you have qualified to take the exam, you will need to sit for four separate sections that test your knowledge of the following:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Auditing and Attestation
- Business Environment and Concepts
Once you have passed the four main sections of the CPA exam, you may need to take the Ethics Exam. However, Alaska’s Board of Accountancy might waive the requirement if you have completed a similar exam from some other licensing jurisdiction. The ethics exam must also be retaken by anyone who has let their Alaska CPA license lapse for three years or more.
The standard Ethics Exam is administered by the AICPA and is accompanied by an 11-hour self-study course. This course is most often administered on a CD-ROM that includes all pertinent information plus a 40-item battery of multiple choice questions to help you prepare. Though the test is not considered to be very difficult, it is very detailed and all applicants must pass it with a score of at least 90.
Alaska has very flexible educational requirements for its aspiring CPAs, but it makes up for that by requiring more experience in the field. After all, business practices often outpace academics and your success in business will be measured by your ability to keep up with current trends. The minimum work experience requirements for an applicant with a bachelor’s degree is two years in a public accountancy firm, and three years in a private or governmental firm.
For more information, including a full copy of the application, all pertinent rules and regulations as well as contact information, please visit the board’s website: Alaska Board of Public Accountancy.
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