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KENTUCKY CPA EXAM & LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2021
There is no better license for an accountant than that of the Certified Public Accountant.
If you are taking your first steps towards a career in accountancy, you have every right to be excited about your decision. The field is diverse, growing and well-paid. Accountants are used by nearly every business, non-profit and government agency, not to mention the millions who rely on an accountant to help them maintain and build their wealth.
Accountants are found in a myriad of other places, too, and hold a wide range of certificates and credentials. However, there is no better license for an accountant than that of the Certified Public Accountant. Since each state has its own criteria for licensure, it is important to plan ahead so that you will qualify to sit for the CPA exam in the state of your choice. If you are seeking an accountancy career in the Bluegrass State, keep reading to learn how to become a CPA in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Board of Accountancy’s general guidelines are pretty straightforward for candidates that wish to take the CPA exam. The Board asks that you be at least 18 years old, have a Social Security number and meet certain educational criteria. You must also be of good moral character. You do not need to be either a U.S. Citizen or a resident of the state, and you will not need to take an ethics exam once you’ve passed the 4-part CPA exam. However, once you pass all four parts of the exam, you will be required to gain the necessary experience for full licensure.
The educational requirements for Kentucky are in line with many other states. To sit for the exam, you must have 120 semester hours from a regionally accredited college or university. Given the specific course requirements, you should graduate with a major in business and/or accounting. Keep in mind that to achieve your full license you will need to complete 30 more semester hours to fulfill the 150 hour requirement. The six accrediting agencies recognized by the Kentucky Board are:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools–Commission on Colleges
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges–Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools–Higher Learning Commission
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges–Commission for Senior Colleges
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
As you pursue your degree, be mindful of your coursework. To complete the full 150 semester hour requirement, Kentucky asks that you take a total of 39 credits that directly relate to the study of business and accounting. That coursework is broken down as follows:
27 hours of accounting courses that might include:
- Financial Reporting
- Managerial Accounting
- Cost Accounting
The remaining 12 hours must be in general business courses including, but not limited to the following:
- Business Communications
- Information Systems
- Business Law
- Business Ethics
Once you fulfill all of the educational requirements to sit for the exam, have your official transcripts sent to the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy in Louisville. If you have the documents sent to your home, keep them sealed in their original envelope. Opened transcripts are not considered valid. You must also send transcripts from every institution you have attended, which includes the extra courses you took at community colleges or online. Note that those institutions, even if they weren’t your graduating school, must also be fully accredited by a regional agency that the Board recognizes. With that in mind, be careful if you take courses while at home for a summer break or for some other reason.
Once your academic work has been accepted and you have met the other general qualifications—such as providing your SSN—you can apply to sit for the Uniform CPA exam as devised and administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. They are a professional organization that offers continuing education, networking and advice on the profession. The organization also solicits exam items from its membership—working CPAs who are interested in helping others learn more about the profession.
The test is comprised of four parts, each of which must be passed with a score of 75 or better. Though many do not pass every part the first time, you can retake portions until you satisfy the requirements. The four parts are:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)–This section covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)–This section tests your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
- Regulation (REG)–Your professional, ethical and legal responsibilities as a practicing accountant are covered in this test.
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Written communication skills are essential to successfully completing much of this part of the exam.
Once you have passed the AICPA’s difficult test you will need to make sure that you have the full 150 semester hours to complete licensure requirements, and then gain practical experience that satisfies the board.
Within five years of passing the CPA exam, you will need 2,000 hours—or one year—of supervised experience in a public or private accounting firm, a private business such as a manufacturing plant, academia or government. Your experience must be verified by a CPA who is familiar with your work, ideally a manager or other supervisor. The supervising CPA must submit a Certificate of Experience as provided by the Kentucky Board.
To learn more about current rules regarding the license in Kentucky, please visit the Board’s website: Kentucky Board of Accountancy.