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MISSISSIPPI CPA EXAM & LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2020
The very best accountants are licensed by the state as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
The economy is growing and so is the demand for accountants. Though there may be plenty of software packages that help businesses and individuals balance their books, nothing surpasses the specific skills of a human accountant who is versed in the theories, ethics and methods of accountancy. When a business or individual portfolio becomes too complex, an accountant is always needed. Not just an accountant will do, however, as there are many different sorts of accounting certifications. The very best accountants are licensed by the state as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These professionals meet the many requirements of each state to perform many high-level functions. If you wish to pursue accountancy, please keep reading to learn how to become a CPA in Mississippi.
Mississippi has a specific set of guidelines for CPA applicants. The Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy requires you meet to its standards for academic achievement, experience, moral character—and that you pass the CPA examination. Though the Board does not require that you be a U.S. Citizen, you must be a state resident, have a Social Security number and have completed the other conditions of becoming a CPA in the state.
For the residency requirement, the board asks that you either have a permanent residence in the state or that you regularly conduct business through an address located within the state. You could, for instance, operate for part of a year out of an office in Biloxi, but maintain a permanent residence out of state in New Orleans. If you intend to do a long-term contract as a CPA in Mississippi and meet the state’s requirements for licensure, contact the board to investigate reciprocity or state licensure so that you can sign documents for financial reporting.
As of November 2015, the board has decided to ask that applicants prove that they are of good moral character. Therefore, you will be subject to an online background check. This applies to those seeking initial licenses, license reinstatement and reciprocal licenses. If you know that your record may include a black mark, prepare to show cause as to why the Board should disregard the matter. If the matter was of a criminal nature, try to have any documentation handy to show that you have satisfied the court.
In Mississippi, you must compete a full 150 hours of semester credit prior to applying to sit for the CPA exam. Many other states allow you to take the test with 120 hours and a baccalaureate degree, so be sure that you are following Mississippi’s guidelines. Those 150 hours must be broken down in a specific way. You must take 48 credit hours of upper-level or graduate-level accounting or business-related courses, with 24 of those in accounting including, but not limited to topics such as these:
- Financial Accountancy
- Management/Cost Accounting
- Not-for-Profit/Government Accounting
When selecting your business courses, you might consider the following:
- Business Law
- Business Communications
- Business Ethics
- Information Systems
Note that the board requires that your education be conducted at an institution with regional accreditation and that your accounting concentration or major be deemed sufficient to the board’s needs. If you are attending a Mississippi college or university, your advisor should be able to assure you of the validity of your work.
Since you will need a full 150 hours prior to sitting for the CPA exam, consider working on a graduate degree once you have met the requirements of your undergraduate program. Look for a Masters of Accounting program, or a business program that will offer the opportunity to take plenty of accounting courses. These days, a graduate degree is nearly a requirement for advancement in corporate America, so make the most of this time to bolster your resume.
Once you have completed the academic requirements, you can submit your official transcripts to the board. You will need to create an account on the board’s website to find full information, but once your transcripts are accepted and processed, you should receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). Once you have the NTS, you will have six months to schedule and sit for one of the four parts of the CPA exam.
The four parts of the examination are:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting–This part covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
- Auditing and Attestation–This section tests your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
- Regulation–Be prepared to be tested on ethics and your professional and legal responsibilities in this section.
- Business Environment and Concepts–This portion of the exam covers general business concepts and international business. Your written communication skills will be put to the test in this section.
Once you have taken and passed all four parts of the CPA exam, you can then complete your application with the requisite experience. The state requires one full year of full-time employment. You must work under a licensed CPA. Note that the state does not acknowledge experience in academia for licensure. Your experience must demonstrate significant competency in one or all of these areas:
- Accounting and Auditing
- Management Advisory
- Financial Advisory
A CPA license will pave the way to a career that is long and profitable. To receive up-to-date information on Mississippi’s standards for licensure, please visit their website:Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy.