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SOUTH CAROLINA CPA EXAM & LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2021
Practicing as a CPA in South Carolina will surely provide you with a career that is rewarding.
The demand for great accountants continues to grow, even in this day and age. Businesses need audits, the government needs taxation experts, and individuals need to learn how to maintain and grow their wealth. If this is the field for you, you will want to consider achieving its top credential, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Each state has unique requirements for their CPAs, so it is vital to investigate how to proceed toward licensure. Keep reading to learn how to become a CPA in South Carolina.
South Carolina, like the majority of states, requires that licensees pass the standards on four points: academics, CPA exam scores, an ethics test and experience. The South Carolina Board of Accountancy does not ask that you be an in-state resident or a U.S. citizen, but you will need a Social Security number or a Lawful Permanent Resident Number (Green Card.) Though you will need 150 semester hours of academic work on your official transcripts to qualify for a license, you can sit for the CPA exam with 120 hours, provided that you have matriculated with a bachelor’s degree.
Getting Your Education
When you begin your education in accounting, first verify that your college is fully accredited to meet the standards of the board. Every state requires that your institution be accredited, and South Carolina is no exception. Discuss this matter with your admissions counselor or academic advisor. The school should be accredited by one of the following:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
If you attended a non-U.S. institution for all or part of your education, those credits must be evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Services.
Once you are on your way with a school that will satisfy the SC Board, work with your academic advisor to ensure that you take the classes that will steer you towards both graduation and an eventual CPA license. Your coursework must fall under this rubric:
- 36 hours of accounting classes, including:
- Managerial/Cost Accounting
- Financial Accounting
- 36 hours of business-related courses, including:
- Business Law
- Corporate Finance
- Computer Science
- Commercial CPA review courses are not acceptable for licensure
- Online and/or correspondence courses are accepted if they have transferred to an official transcript from a 4-year institution
Taking the CPA Exam
Keep in mind that you can sit for the CPA exam once you have 120 semester hours and a baccalaureate degree. However, the exam is one of the most rigorous professional examinations, so unless you are confident, you may wish to wait until you have completed the extra 30 hours of post-graduate work.
When you are prepared to take the exam, you will need to fill out an application and mail it, along with all of your official transcripts to this address:
CPA Examination Services–SC
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219
To save time and energy, you can have your transcripts mailed directly to examination services. They must remain sealed in any case. Be certain that you have official documents sent from every institution you attended.
When your application is accepted and processed, you will receive a Notice to Schedule. This means that you will have six months in which to schedule and sit for one of the four parts of the Uniform CPA Examination, as created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA.) You can take the parts in any order you desire. If you need to retake a part, you will need to allow for a 60-day window between retakes. The four parts of the test are:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)–Covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)–A test of your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
- Regulation (REG)–Your professional and legal responsibilities are covered in this test.
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Written skills will determine your passing much of the test.
You can schedule the test through Prometric, which has several South Carolina testing centers:
- Rock Hill
Once you have passed the CPA exam, you will need to take another AICPA test: the Ethics Exam. You can order an 11-hour self-study course from them. All of the materials you need will be on a CD-ROM and then the test itself is open-book. It may be an easy test, but you must pass with a minimum score of 90.
The final stretch to your South Carolina CPA license is the experience portion. You must have completed the education portion prior to entering the experience, so it may be best to complete your education prior to passing the examinations so that you can pass smoothly into the workforce.
You can either work for one year, logging 2,000 hours in public accountancy, governmental work or private industry, or you can gain five years of experience teaching accounting for accredited colleges and universities in South Carolina.
After the experience portion, your career will be primed for success. You will need to continue to learn and take courses to maintain your license, but you can chart your own course as a CPA. Keep current with the board by visiting their website: South Carolina Board of Accountancy.