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overview of the licensing process

overview of the licensing process

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  • 1. J. Michael Barham, CPA, Deputy DirectorNorth Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners
  • 2. About the Board  Established in 1913 by NCGS Chapter 93 to license and regulate CPAs  Grants certificates to individuals that meet the legal requirements  Adopts Rules of Professional Conduct to be observed by CPAs in this State  Registration of CPA firms  Administration of the Uniform CPA Examination
  • 3. About the Board continued Administration of the continuing professional education (CPE) compliance program Conducts administrative hearings with respect to state statutes and rules (process 150 to 200 cases per year) 7 Board members (5 CPAs and 2 public members; serve 3 year terms ) Monthly newsletter (Activity Review)
  • 4. The Three E’s of LicensureThree E’s are required for CPA licensure Education (to sit for the Exam, to become licensed) Exam Experience
  • 5. Education to Sit for the Exam Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting A concentration in accounting is  At least 30 semester hours, or the equivalent in quarter hours, of undergraduate accountancy courses including no more than 6 semester hours of accounting principles and no more than 3 semester hours of business law; or  At least 20 semester hours or the equivalent in quarter hours, of graduate accounting courses that are open exclusively to graduate students; or  A combination of undergraduate and graduate level courses equivalent to either option above.
  • 6. Education for Licensure 150 semester hours (including a concentration in accounting and 24 semester hours of coursework including at least one 3-semester hour course from at least 8 of the following fields of study:  Communications;  Computer technology;  Economics;  Ethics;  Finance;  Humanities/social science;  International environment;  Law;  Management; or  Statistics Masters or more advanced degree in accounting, tax law, economics, finance, business administration, or a law degree from an accredited college or university is in compliance with 150-semester hour requirement.
  • 7. Uniform CPA Exam According to the CPA Exam Mission Statement, the purpose of the Exam is "To admit individuals into the accounting profession only after they have demonstrated the entry-level knowledge and skills necessary to protect the public interest in a rapidly changing business and financial environment.” The Uniform CPA Exam is the exam that an individual must pass in order to qualify for licensure as a CPA in any of the 55 US jurisdictions (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands).
  • 8. Uniform CPA Exam continued The CPA Exam is presented by three organizations—the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric  AICPA writes (question development) and scores the exam  NASBA issues Notices to Schedule (NTS) to candidates based on Board-approved applications, releases scores to state boards of accountancy, and maintains a central database of candidate records  Prometric offers the Exam Monday – Friday at 300+ testing centers in the US (NC has sites in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Greenville, and Wilmington)
  • 9. Uniform CPA Exam continued Computer-based format since April 5, 2004  Prior to this date the exam was pencil and paper and given twice per year (May and November)  On January 1, 2011, CBT-e (Computer-Based Testing evolution) was launched  Largest revision since 2004
  • 10. Uniform CPA Exam continued 4 sections  Auditing and Attestation (AUD)- SAB & SARS  Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – Corp. governance, economic concepts, financial management, IT, operations management  Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – financial statement presentation, govt., not-for-profit  Regulation (REG) – ethics, business law, taxation
  • 11. Uniform CPA Exam continued• Same test no matter where it is taken (Portland, Oregon is same as Portland, Maine)• Passing score is 75 on a 0-99 scale• Question types include multiple choice, simulation, and written communication
  • 12. Uniform CPA Exam – CBT-e CBT-e changes are available on AICPA exam website (www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam/examcontent ) include:  FASB Accounting Standards Codification made available  New on-line calculator  Improved candidate performance report  New spreadsheet software  Exam content change  International Standards (refer to article in the Spring 2010 issue of the Uniform CPA Examination Alert, available on AICPA exam website)
  • 13. Uniform CPA Exam – CBT-e continued Scoring weights  AUD, FAR and REG – 60% MC, 40% task-based-simulations  BEC – 85% MC, written communications 15% Section structure  AUD, FAR, and REG – 3 MC testlets and 1 testlet containing 6 to 7 task- based simulations  BEC – 3 MC testlets and 3 written communication task on BEC topics Section time allocations  AUD shortened by ½ hour to 4 hours  BEC increased by ½ hour to 3 hours Short task -based simulation questions versus the long format
  • 14. Applying to Take the Exam Exam cost is $973.20, including $230 initial application fee (effective 10/20/12 = $953.20) Don’t procrastinate  Sign up for all four parts while it is fresh in your mind. It is a better approach and it saves you money (Board charges initial application fee of $230 plus re-exam fee of $75)  Your best chance of passing is within the first 6 months of graduation  You never know about the future (job demands, marriage, family) National and State Pass Rates (2012 Q-3)  FAR (53.90/57.00)  REG (51.30/62.80)  AUDI (50.10/57.10)  BEC (57.60/73.20)
  • 15. Applying to Take the Exam continued If you have a questions about the “pertinent data” section of the application, contact the Board for clarification (arrested, charged, convicted, found guilty of, received a Prayer for Judgment, or pleaded nolo contendere to any criminal offense?) Be up front and honest about your court record and any current or previous charges (we need to know about probation, too) Read the application carefully and submit all necessary documentation  Passport-type photo  Method of contact  Official college transcripts (no copies),  3 moral character references (no family members)
  • 16. Applying to Take the Exam continued Takes 10 to 15 business days to process your exam application Notice to Schedule (NTS) from NASBA (valid for 6 months and never extended) How to schedule to sit for the exam (visit Prometric website, www.prometric.com, or call Prometric) Four (4) testing windows available (Jan./Feb., Apr./May, July/Aug., & Oct./Nov.)
  • 17. Applying to Take the Exam continued Read the application instructions carefully and collect all the required information & documents  Picture  Check or credit card info  Transcripts, and  Moral character information If you have questions, call or e-mail us No need to send your application by FEDEX, UPS, or certified mail If your application is not right, we send it back
  • 18. Common Issues for Exam Candidates Not receiving e-mail from NASBA or Prometric  Fastest way to receive NTS, etc., is to elect to have sent to email, but make sure messages don’t get stopped by spam filters, etc. Not getting the day/time you want at the center you want  Schedule your section(s) the day you get your NTS  schedule your section(s) in the first month of the testing window (January/April/July/October ) because seating is limited in the last weeks of second month of testing windows (February/May August/November)  Schedule your exam on off peak days— Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
  • 19. Common Issues for Exam Candidates continued Being late to your testing appointment (if more than 30 minutes late, you are considered a “no show”)  Know where the Prometric center is located & leave early in case of traffic problems Not taking your NTS with you to the test center (without it, not able to test)  When you receive your NTS, make a copy and place it in the glove compartment of your car
  • 20. Common Issues for Exam Candidates continued Not taking your IDs (NTS plus primary and secondary IDs) to the testing center or not taking the proper IDs to the testing center  Before you leave for the testing center, check again to make sure you have your NTS and IDs  Acceptable primary IDs are driver’s license, passport, or US Military ID  Acceptable secondary IDs are credit card, debit card, or ATM card  Unacceptable forms of ID include green card, Social Security card, and college/university student ID
  • 21. Common Issues for Exam Candidates continued Not being admitted to the testing center because the name on you NTS does not match your IDs  When you receive your NTS, verify that the name matches the IDs you will use--if not right, get a new NTS Showing up at the testing center on the wrong day or at wrong time or for the wrong section  When you get your NTS, verify the section and then schedule your appointment and write the appointment day/time down someplace you won’t lose it or add it to your phone’s calendar
  • 22. Common Issues for Exam Candidates continued Not being adequately informed about the Exam policies, procedures, etc.  As part of your study plan, read the Exam information available on the Board’s website, the NASBA website, and the AICPA website (candidate bulletin, content specifications, etc.) Not knowing how to use the Exam software  Software is unique to the Exam—you must complete the tutorial and sample tests available on the AICPA website  You may have the knowledge to answer all the questions on the exam, but if you cannot enter those answers it does not matter
  • 23. Common Issues for Exam Candidates continued Failure to start (launch) the exam section  After being seated and entering your password, you have 10 minutes to get through the screens and begin the exam  If you take longer than 10 minutes, the exam session is terminated and it cannot be restarted. You use lose your session—it cannot be reinstated  Writing down mnemonics and notes from a review course can cause this to happen Taking too much stuff to the testing center  Only NTS , IDs, & materials provided at testing center (pencil, scrap paper & earplugs), are allowed in testing center  Storage is provided for personal items—only take what you must have
  • 24. FAQs about the ExamQ. Do I have 120 days after my Exam application is approved by theBoard to meet the educational requirements?A. Yes, a candidate has 120 days after his/her Exam application isapproved by the Board to meet the educational requirements.Q. How much time do I have to pass all sections of the Exam?A. Once a candidate receives credit for a section of the Exam, he orshe will be allowed a maximum of 18 months to pass all remainingsections of the Exam in order to retain credit for the passedsection(s).Q. When does the 18-month period for my Exam credit begin?A. The 18-month period begins on the date the first passed sectionwas taken
  • 25. Exam Score Notices NC Exam candidates can access their Exam scores online through the NASBA Gateway www.nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/northcarolina/ Scores are usually available 24-48 hours after the AICPA releases grades to NASBA Check the Board’s Twitter feed and Facebook page for notification
  • 26. NC Page on NASBA Gateway
  • 27. Online Score Retrieval
  • 28. Applying for Licensure Pass the Uniform CPA Exam Complete the education requirement Complete the experience requirement  1 year in the field of accounting under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA, or  4 years in the field of accounting Complete the accountancy law course (within 12 months of applying for licensure)
  • 29. Applying for Licensure continued Application for original NC CPA license requires:  Recent passport-type photo  Three moral character affidavits from licensed CPAs,  Experience affidavit(s)  150-semester hour worksheet  Any official transcripts not submitted with your Exam application  Licensing fee of $100 (check or credit card)  Make sure you truthfully answer all questions
  • 30. Applying for Licensure continued If did not sit for the Exam as an NC candidate, must include  Application for transfer of credit  Interstate Exchange form  All transcripts (official only) to show compliance with education requirement
  • 31. Maintaining Your License Keep up with changes in rules and statutes  Activity Review (monthly newsletter)  Website (www.nccpaboard.gov)  Twitter (@NCCPABoard)  Facebook (www.facebook.com/NCCPABoard) Comply with the annual CPE requirements  40 hours annually  Ethics course (2 hours group-study or self-study from a CPE sponsor registered with the Board or on the NASBA National CPE Sponsor Registry)
  • 32. Maintaining Your License continued Renew license annually by June 30  No postcards to remind you  Online  Answer truthfully all questions about CPE, moral character, etc. Register a firm  If you use CPA in or with the name, and  If you perform attest work (audits, reviews, compilations, or agreed-upon procedures)  CPAs may only perform attest work while working in a CPA firm
  • 33. Maintaining Your License continued File and pay all taxes on time (business, individual and 941) Only perform engagements that you are qualified to perform  Do not take on attest engagements that you are not up to speed on without a pre-issuance reviewer Return client records upon request Keep client records confidential Respond to clients in a timely manner Respond to any Board inquiry promptly
  • 34. Questions?