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WEST VIRGINIA CPA EXAM & LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2021
Every state has its own guidelines for its CPAs, so it’s imperative you do your research. Here are West Virginia’s.
A state issued Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license is one of the most desired and esteemed designations in all of the business world. CPAs are able to sign off on tax documents and are given the trust of the state. When you work with a CPA, it is understood that they are held to the highest ethics and standards. If a career in accountancy is in your future, you will likely want to investigate the requirements for licensure in the state you would like to practice. Every state has its own particular guidelines for its CPAs, so it’s imperative you do your research. Keep reading to learn how to become a CPA in West Virginia.
West Virginia has a three-part process for its initial CPA licensees. You will have to prove yourself first in academics, then pass the CPA exam and finally in the workplace, where all of your skill and knowledge will be applied in order to gain practical experience. To achieve a license in West Virginia, you will need to be an in-state resident, have a Social Security number and be at least 18 years of age. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen in West Virginia in order to work as a CPA.
West Virginia’s Board of Accountancy requires that its CPA applicants achieve 150 semester hours for full licensure, but you may take the CPA exam after matriculating with your bachelor’s degree, which usually requires 120 hours. Your credits must come from an accredited institution that has been verified by one of the following accreditation agencies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Any credits earned from a foreign college or university must be evaluated and verified by either Foreign Academic Credentials Services, Inc., or NASBA International Evaluation Services.
As you progress through your education, work with your advisor to ensure that you are taking the proper courses. You will need to satisfy your college’s requirements for graduation, but also the West Virginia Board of Accountancy’s requirements, which has specific guidelines:
27 semester hours in accounting courses such as the following:
- Financial or intermediate accounting–six semester hours
- Auditing and accounting information systems–six semester hours
- Taxation–three semester hours
- Cost, managerial, non-profit or governmental accounting–three semester hours
- Accounting electives–nine semester hours
Business law–six semester hours
27 semester hours in business-related courses such as these:
- Economics–three semester hours
- Finance–three semester hours
- Marketing–three semester hours
- Statistics–three semester hours
- Management–three semester hours
- Business electives–three semester hours
- Ethics courses such as Business Ethics or Accounting Ethics–three semester hours
Once you are ready to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, have all of your official transcripts sent to the board. Note that you must send official transcripts from every institution you have attended, if only for a single course or term. Have the sealed documents sent to:
West Virginia Board of Accountancy
106 Capitol Street, Suite 100
Charleston, WV 25301-2610
You will receive a Notice to Schedule from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, which will then allow you to schedule your first test at a Prometric testing site. In West Virginia there are sites in Morgantown and Charleston.
The test itself is very difficult, so make sure that you are as well-prepared as possible. Since up to half of all takers must retake all or part of the exam, don’t worry if you find you must redo a section. Each of the four parts is taken and scheduled separately and you will have 18 months from your first testing session to complete and pass them. The four parts are:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting–This 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–Your ethics and professional and legal responsibilities are covered in this test.
- Business Environment and Concepts–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Be prepared to use your writing skills to pass this section of the exam.
After you pass the CPA examination, you will have one more part to complete. West Virginia asks that you work for one year in either a public accountancy firm, private industry, governmental, non-profit, private practice or academia. Your work must be verified by a licensed CPA whose credentials are current with either West Virginia or another state.
During the course of this year, be certain to document your duties and time. The board is looking for complex and diverse work, so seek out interesting challenges. Your employer or mentor will likely be able to help guide you towards the types of clients and projects that will ensure the board’s approval.
Once you have your CPA license, you will need to keep current with the state’s requirements for continuing education, as well as other regulatory developments.