To become eligible to take the exam, a four-year degree from an accredited university must be earned. The bachelor’s degree requirements consist of passing college courses totaling to 150 hours of credit. According to AccountingEdu.org, “76 semester hours are upper level accounting courses, 30 semester hours of accounting courses above the intro and principle level, 3 hours of auditing credit, and 9 hours of upper business courses such as Marketing, Finance, Economics, etc.” (5 Steps to Becoming a CPA in Oklahoma). The additional credits consist of the basic level courses that include English, History, Algebra, and many more.
Many academic institutions contain their own requirements in order to graduate from their university. For example, at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the school requires that Business Administration majors must maintain a certain grade point average to remain in the program and graduate. This is a requirement that potential accounting majors must keep in mind when searching for the right university to attend. To apply and take the CPA exam in Oklahoma, the accounting graduate must provide their final transcript to prove they have completed the educational requirements.
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
After graduating from an accredited university with an accounting degree, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy reviews and approves the applicant’s transcript based on the specific state’s requirements. This first step is very important because each state has their own requirements for applicant’s to complete before applying for licensure. Once the accounting program graduate is approved by NASBA to attempt the exam, the applicant is recommended to review “The Candidate Bulletin” which is a guide in providing steps to successfully complete the CPA exam (How to Get Licensed ).
There are 5 steps NASBA shares in their booklet called “The Candidate Bullet” (How to Get Licensed ). These steps include Applying to take the exam, receiving the notice for scheduling, scheduling the exam, taking the exam, and finally receiving your official scores. The first is a section that provides information pertaining to how an applicant can apply for the licensure exam. This handy bulletin not only explains in step in detail, but it provides background information pertaining to CPA’s in the United States. If an accounting graduate is interested in obtaining their CPA license, this is the first website the candidate should visit.
Accounting graduates that obtain their CPA licensure have more options when choosing where they want to work. Financial institutions are more apt to hire management personnel with a CPA license because they believe them to be more knowledgeable and less of a risk. A CPA has proved they are qualified to serve in the best interest of the public. When potential employers see an applicant who has their CPA, it is already known they are aware of the state’s laws and regulations regarding accounting procedures. Another benefit of receiving a CPA license is they a paid more in salaries compared to an accountant that did not get their license.
Chief Financial Officer
There are countless career options open to an accounting professional after they obtain their CPA license. One top paying position is the Chief Financial Officer who has authority over all accounting and has the final word in most important accounting decisions (40 Top Paying Accounting Jobs ). This position requires financial managers to report to them daily and their role is to consistently think about the future stability of the company. Generally, this position does not require a CPA, but it is more beneficial for the organization to hire a candidate who does. The reasoning for this is due to the demands of the CFO and the knowledge that is required to keep all financial processes running smoothly.
Another position that does not necessarily require a candidate to have their CPA is the Financial Controller. The Financial Controller oversees all accounting personnel and assures the board that their department is complying to necessary accounting standards. The Financial Controller is a step down from the CFO and typically answers to them. It is their job to also ensure the financial/accounting department is efficiently running smoothly. When there are questions or problems within the department, the Financial Controller is the one who will assist in resolving issues and leading employees in the right direction.
Finally, a third position that does require CPA licensure is a Tax Accountant. This position entails providing tax services to clients so they can file federal and state taxes for the year. In some instances, tax accountants are employed by well-known tax agencies such as H&R Block because they do not wish to run their own operation. When an accountant chooses this type of employer, they are not always required to obtain their license (40 Top Paying Accounting Jobs ). However, most Tax Accountants have their own business and provide tax services to the public. In this situation they are required to have their CPA. This is the most recognized profession when individuals think of a CPA.
In conclusion, the accounting profession is highly complex and involves candidates to overcome several requirements. All accounting graduates are not required to obtain their license because there are many positions available without the licensure. Although, CPA’s earn more in salaries and are more apt to finding a job easier than an accountant without their license. Obtaining a CPA license gives someone a trusted reputation because they have proved to be knowledgeable which is more attractive to employers. Attempting the CPA license is a goal accounting majors should consider because the certification will separate them from other regular applicants.