Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Arkansas is a challenging and rewarding path for accounting students and professionals. Obtaining a CPA license can open doors to a variety of career opportunities and provide a strong foundation for long-term success in the accounting and finance industries. However, the process of becoming a CPA in Arkansas can be complex and time-consuming, with several requirements and steps that need to be met. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to becoming a CPA in Arkansas, including education and experience requirements, exam registration and preparation, licensing procedures, and more. Whether you’re a student just starting your accounting journey or a seasoned professional seeking to advance your career, this guide will equip you with the information you need to successfully become a licensed CPA in Arkansas.
Arkansas is a great state to pursue a CPA license. This credential can add substantially to an accountant’s earning potential. Candidates with a CPA credential are highly desirable to employers. Arkansas is home to boutique accounting firms and mega-corporations. HoganTaylor Wealth, one of Arkansas’ most prominent accounting firms, was recently recognized by Assets Under Management among the Top 150 accounting firms.
The average annual salary for a CPA in Arkansas is $71,040. More senior CPAs have opportunities to work as CPA managers or consultants, increasing their earning potential. Top CPAs make well into the six figures. CPAs also enjoy job security, outstanding benefits, advancement opportunities, and competitive bonus structures. Arkansas offers CPA jobs in metropolitan areas such as Little Rock, Texarkana, Jonesboro and remote positions.
Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Arkansas:
- Getting your CPA Education in Arkansas.
- Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Arkansas.
- Gaining the Needed Experience in Arkansas.
- Getting your CPA License and Continuing Education in Arkansas.
What Education Requirements Must I Meet to Become a CPA in Arkansas?
This guide outlines the prerequisites set by the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy to sit for the CPA exam. Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree can sit for the exam. However, applicants must complete 150 college credit hours before becoming fully licensed. These credits must be completed within three years of passing the last section of the exam.
Applicants will generally pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. This degree option allows candidates to earn the required hours within specific accounting fields. Thirty hours must be in upper-level accounting courses. An additional 30 hours must be in business classes other than accounting. These hours can also be obtained through a master’s degree.
Classes must cover the following six accounting topics:
- Accounting Information Systems.
- Auditing and Attestation.
- Federal Taxation (Advanced Income Tax or Fundamentals of Taxation).
- Financial Accounting (Intermediate Accounting).
- Government or Not-for-Profit Accounting (Institutional Accounting).
- Management Accounting (Cost Accounting).
MBA or MS in Accounting
Though a master’s degree is not required, many candidates fulfill the 150-hour requirement by completing a graduate degree. When applying for a job, having a master’s degree and a CPA license helps candidates stand out. Students can pursue an MBA if they prefer to be more well-rounded. This is ideal for candidates interested in pursuing management roles, especially if they supervise employees from multiple departments. MBA degrees often allow students to pursue a concentration or specialization in accounting.
Candidates who prefer to focus only on accounting can pursue a Master of Science in Accounting. An MS in Accounting can generally be completed in a shorter time frame. Think about your career goals and where you see yourself practicing accounting. If you dream of working for an accounting firm, employers may view an MS in Accounting as more desirable. However, an MBA may open more doors if you plan to apply for a job at a large corporation with an accounting department.
Business School Accreditation
You can sit for the CPA after completing any accredited accounting program. However, more prestigious employers recruit from AACSB-accredited schools. AACSB accreditation is recognized globally and gives students a career advantage.
|University of Arkansas||Arkansas State University||Arkansas Tech University|
|University of Central Arkansas||Southern Arkansas University||University of Arkansas at Little Rock|
|University of Arkansas at Fort Smith||Henderson State University||Ouachita Baptist University|
Accountants often work grueling hours. This may leave limited time for outside studies. However, online degrees can make it easier to achieve your goals. Many AACSB Arkansas universities offer convenient virtual programs that work around your schedule. Classes are generally taught by the same high-caliber professors that instruct on-campus programs. Hybrid courses offer the best of both worlds. In this flexible format, students complete most classes online with in-person sessions blended in. Students may also attend in-person residencies a few weekends throughout the semester.
The Arkansas Uniform CPA Exam
The Arkansas Uniform CPA Exam application must be completed online. Official transcripts must be sent from colleges attended. Additionally, you send a color copy of your ID. Examinees must also pay an initial application fee and testing fees.
Upon the Board determining an applicant’s eligibility, an Authorization To Test will be submitted to the National Association of State Board of Accountancy. NASBA will then email applicants a Notice to Schedule. After submitting all documents, receiving the NTS may take up to four weeks. Applicants have six months to schedule and complete the exam sections from receiving the notice.
How Do I Schedule My CPA Exam?
Scheduling your test is easy! You can use the seat availability tool on the Prometric website to check for testing locations near you. If you need any test accommodations, you must request these before your test day. You will need to confirm your appointment 24 hours before your scheduled test.
The CPA exam will likely be the most challenging test you will ever take. However, with ample study time, you can pass! The AICPA Exam page and the NASBA Exam page offer excellent resources. This site fully breaks down the four current sections of the exam. Condensed versions of the exam can also be taken as practice tests. These practice tests include multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and written communication tasks. Candidates can also find information about the new CPA exam anticipated to launch in 2024. NASBA provides an online forum for aspiring CPAs to share tips. The Candidate Bulletin also provides a “roadmap for CPA Success” and should be read before signing up for the exam. A CPA exam quiz is also available that ensures you’ve met all the criteria to sit for the exam.
2024 Exam Blueprint
The demands on public accountants have evolved over the years. Therefore, a new exam featuring technology components and personal financial planning will be rolled out. The new exam will feature three core sections and allow students to select a discipline as the fourth section. The core sections will feature content similar to the current exam.
The three core sections will include:
- Auditing and Attestation.
- Financial Accounting and Reporting.
- Taxation and Regulation.
Students can select one of the following disciplines to align with their career goals:
- Business Analysis and Reporting.
- Information Systems and Controls.
- Tax Compliance and Planning.
To become a CPA, you must pass all four sections of the exams. A minimum of 75 must be obtained on each section of the exam. Scores will be sent to the Board and can be accessed via their website. Applicants will need their NTS Section ID to view their scores. It’s essential to save your score reports because they are only available for a limited time. Candidates must pass all sections within 18 months of passing the first exam section.
Gaining the Needed Experience
To become a licensed CPA in Arkansas, candidates must meet specific experience requirements in addition to education and exam requirements. According to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy, candidates must complete one year of accounting-related work experience. This experience must be verified by a licensed CPA who has worked with the candidate and can attest to their competency in accounting and related skills.
The experience must include providing services or advice involving the use of accounting, compilation, attest, management advisory, tax, financial advisory, or consulting skills. This experience can be gained through employment in public accounting, industry, government, or academia.
After meeting the education, exam, and experience requirements for becoming a CPA in Arkansas, the next step is to apply for certification. Here are the steps to follow:
- Create an account with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and obtain a Uniform CPA Exam score report. You can do this by registering for the CPA Exam and taking the exam in Arkansas or another state.
- Request an official transcript from your college or university to be sent directly to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. The transcript must show that you have completed a bachelor’s degree and the required accounting coursework.
- Submit the completed Application for Certification as a CPA to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy.
- Pay the application fee.
- Once your application is approved, you will receive a letter from the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy authorizing you to take the Arkansas Ethics Exam.
- Register for and pass the Arkansas Ethics Exam.
- Once you pass the Ethics Exam, you will receive your CPA certificate in the mail.
It’s important to note that the process of applying for CPA certification in Arkansas can take several weeks or even months, so it’s best to start the process early and be patient.
In Arkansas, CPAs are required to complete Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses in order to maintain their license. The Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy requires CPAs to complete 40 hours of CPE each year. These CPE hours must be in ethics, accounting, and taxation subjects.
It’s important to note that the CPE courses must be taken from a provider that is approved by the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. Failing to complete the required CPE hours or providing false information about CPE completion can result in disciplinary action, such as license suspension or revocation. Therefore, it’s important for CPAs in Arkansas to stay current with their CPE requirements to maintain their license and professional standing.
Becoming a CPA in Arkansas
While the CPA exam and licensure process may seem like a marathon, the results are rewarding. As a CPA, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries, from public accounting firms to corporations and government agencies. You will also have the ability to make a positive impact on your clients’ financial success and contribute to the growth of Arkansas’s economy. So, if you’re up for the challenge and ready to take the next step in your career, becoming a CPA in Arkansas may be the perfect choice for you.