Louisiana CPA Exam & License Requirements 2017
Here are Louisiana’s requirements for the CPA exam and licensure.
If you are considering a career in accountancy, you might already know that there are many different certificates and credentials you can attain. You can specialize in forensics, auditing, financial management and fraud examination—or many other types of accounting roles. However, the top licensure in the accounting world is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA). CPAs have passed one of the most difficult professional examinations there is, as well as a rigorous experience and education requirement. Since each state has particular requirements regarding how it licenses its CPAs, it is important to pay attention to each state’s specifications. Keep reading to learn more about how to become a CPA in Louisiana.
Louisiana’s general requirements for licensure are a bit more exacting than other states. For instance, the State Board of Certified Public Accountants of Louisiana requires that all applicants be residents of the state, U.S. Citizens and have a Social Security number. If you do not presently reside in the state, you will need to have lived there for at least 120 days prior to sitting for the CPA exam. If you attended college or university out of state, this requirement may be waived. You must also satisfy the Board’s requirements for earned semester hours, experience and exam scores.
To qualify to sit for the CPA exam, you need to have 150 semester hours from a regionally accredited college or university. You may take coursework at community colleges or online institutions, but those credits must be transferable to your 4-year institution. Before spending the time and money, make sure that your coursework will transfer and count towards your future CPA application. The accrediting agencies and institutions recognized by the 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
You must earn at least have a bachelor’s degree. Considering that a baccalaureate degree usually requires 120 hours, you might consider rounding off the requirements with graduate-level coursework. Regardless, your transcripts must reflect coursework along the following breakdown:
24 hours of undergraduate accounting courses (21 hours of graduate work will suffice) that includes work in the following areas:
- Intermediate accounting
- Cost accounting
- Income tax
Nine hours of electives that include the following:
- Three hours studying advanced financial accounting, non-profit accounting or theory
- Six hours’ worth of elective courses above the introductory level
24 semester hours in general business courses, including:
- Three hours in commercial law in accounting that covers the Uniform Commercial Code
If, during the course of your study you take academic credit for internships, those hours may not be used to satisfy the accounting or general business requirements. However, they may count elsewhere among your 150 required hours. Note that the Board does not accept credit from CLEP or CPA review courses.
Once you have completed the educational requirements for the CPA exam, you will need to send your transcripts to the Board as part of your application. If you attended multiple institutions, have transcripts from each sent to the board. If the transcripts are mailed to your personal address, do not break the seal of the envelope. It will be easier to have all transcripts sent directly to: CPA Examination Services c/o Louisiana Coordinator, P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219-8469. If all of your paperwork is in order you should receive a Notice to Schedule. You can take your test at a Prometric site located in:
- Bossier City
- Lake Charles
- Baton Rouge
The CPA exam itself is a very difficult test. Many consider it to be the hardest professional exam, even more difficult than the Bar Exam that attorneys must pass. Your test will be comprised of four parts, each of which must be passed with a minimum score of 75. Those 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 is a test of your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
- Regulation (REG)–Your ethics, professional and legal responsibilities are covered in this test.
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Good written skills are vital to successfully completing much of this section.
After you pass the CPA exam, you will need to fulfill one final requirement—gaining experience. Your experience must take place inside the state of Louisiana and under the tutelage of a licensed CPA. Your supervisor will be asked to attest to your experience with a letter that verifies the dates of your employment, job title and job description. The letter must be signed and on official letterhead.
Once you have completed all of the portions of the CPA process for Louisiana, the board must receive your complete application packet 30 days before its meeting to accept applicants for the forthcoming period. These meetings are held on the last business day of these months: January, April, July and October.
To learn more about Louisiana’s CPA license and process, visit their website: State Board of Certified Public Accountants of Louisiana.
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