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MAINE CPA EXAM & LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2021
Every business relies upon CPAs to balance the books, figure out the taxes, and audit the organization so that it can operate at maximum efficiency.
Business careers are very rewarding and exciting, but few are as necessary as accountancy. Every business relies on accountants to balance the books, figure out the taxes, and audit the organization so that it can operate at maximum efficiency. Accountants are vital to mergers and corporate acquisitions as well as preparing quarterly and annual filings to the SEC. If you work as an accountant and wish to work at a higher or corporate level—or simply be the most trusted independent accountant in your local area—you must be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Every state has its own criteria for the CPA license, so keep reading and learn how to become a CPA in Maine.
Maine’s Board of Accountancy has a set of qualifications for CPA licensees that are much like other states, but they do have specific requirements. The state has no age requirement, nor does it ask that you be a resident of the state. And, though you do not need to be a U.S. Citizen, the Maine Board does ask that you have a Social Security number. Beyond these basics, the state has strenuous education, examination and experience requirements. However, unlike many states, Maine does not require that you pass an Ethics examination.
The education specifications for Maine will take at least four years to complete. You will need to have a baccalaureate degree with a concentration in business or accounting that meets a specific set of requirements for coursework. The state requires that you have a total of 150 semester credit hours for licensure, but you can take the CPA exam after completing 120 hours, or roughly the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.
Your transcripts must be from regionally accredited institutions and must include 15 semester hours in some or all of the following:
- Ethics in accounting
- Tax research and analysis
- Financial statement analysis
- Fraud investigation
- Cost accounting
- Information systems in accounting
- Financial accounting and reporting
Note that the Board will not allow credits from CLEPs, commercial CPA preparation courses or non-accredited institutions. You may, however, use credits from community colleges, online institutions or any other accredited body that meets coursework requirements.
Maine’s requirements are far less stringent and exacting than several other states. Therefore the onus will be on you to take the necessary classes that will prepare you to pass the CPA exam. While you are a student discuss this with your advisor and make sure that you select courses that will best prepare you for an accounting career rather than just the section topics of the CPA exam. It is important to note that the CPA exam is one of the most difficult professional exams in the nation, one which many do not pass on the first attempt.
While you are an undergraduate, you may wish to work as an intern for a CPA. When you find a professional mentor, you can gain extra insights into the profession and how to thrive once you have passed the CPA exam. Interning may also help you network, find your first job and complete the experience requirements for licensure.
Once you have met the education standards to sit for the exam in Maine, you need to have all of your official transcripts sent to CPA examination services:
CPA Examination Services – ME
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219
If your school offers electronic transcript services, you can have your official documents sent to email@example.com. Check with your registrar to discover if this service is provided, as not all institutions have yet implemented the protocol.
The CPA exam is a rigorous, 4-part test created by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Maine allows you to schedule to take one or all of the parts after you complete 120 semester hours. When your documents have been accepted, you will receive a Notice to Schedule that gives you six months to schedule and sit for at least one of the test modules. You can schedule test days and times with Prometric, which has testing sites in the following Maine locations:
- Presque Isle
- South Portland
The four parts of the exam are as follows:
- 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 is a test of your knowledge of U.S. and International Standards of Auditing.
- Regulation (REG)–This section tests your ethical, professional and legal responsibilities as an accountant.
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. You will need excellent written skills to successfully complete the BEC.
Once you pass all four parts of the exam, Maine requires that you complete two years of experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Your supervisor can be licensed by any other state or country. Your experience must be in a public accounting firm unless the Board is satisfied with the nature of your work for a non-public institution. Your experience needs to cover the following areas:
- Management advisory OR
- Financial advisory OR
- Consulting services
Once you have earned your CPA license, you will be at what is considered the apex of the career field. You may want to join the AICPA to keep abreast of changes in regulations and policy, and keep current on colleagues both in and outside of Maine.
For more information, including up-to-date information regarding licensure and renewal, consult the Board’s website: Maine Board of Accountancy.