Becoming a CPA in Florida can be a great way to jumpstart your career in accounting. It is a challenging but rewarding process that requires dedication and commitment. In order to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Florida, there are several steps you must take. These include education requirements, passing the CPA exam, obtaining the necessary work experience, and applying for licensure with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). With hard work and determination, you can become a successful CPA in Florida.
Florida is one of the most popular states for accountants to find jobs. There are over 70,000 accountants currently working within the state. The average annual salary for accountants in Florida is over $70,000. This average amount is higher or lower according to the area of practice. Florida has the fourth-highest number of accountants and auditors in the country. Projections Central forecasts demand for accountants and auditors to grow 14% between now and 2030. This impressive rate is twice as fast as the national prediction for the occupation.
Florida’s Division of Certified Public Accounting (DBPR) maintains the process for becoming a CPA in the state.
Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Florida
- Getting Your CPA Education in Florida.
- Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Florida.
- Gaining the Needed Experience in Florida.
- Getting Your CPA License and Continuing Education in Florida.
Florida CPAs complete 150 credit hours of accounting-intensive college-level education
To become a CPA in Florida, students must complete a specific education requirement to meet the state’s licensing requirements. The educational pathway typically involves the following steps:
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: Obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While the Florida Board of Accountancy does not specify a specific major, most students pursue a degree in accounting or a related field. The program should include accounting principles, financial reporting, auditing, taxation, and business law coursework.
- Complete Additional Accounting Credits: Besides a bachelor’s degree, aspiring CPAs in Florida must fulfill specific accounting credit requirements. This entails completing a minimum of 36 credits in upper-level accounting courses, including financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and accounting information systems.
- Meet General Business Education Requirements: Alongside accounting coursework, candidates must also complete general business education courses. This typically involves completing a minimum of 39 credits in upper-level business courses, including economics, finance, marketing, management, and business law.
- Obtain 150 Semester Hours of Education: like many other states, Florida requires candidates to obtain 150 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of education to become a CPA. This includes the combination of undergraduate and graduate coursework. Some students pursue a Master’s in Accounting or Business Administration to fulfill this requirement. These top degrees can be found in leading business schools in on-campus and online formats.
By fulfilling the educational requirements outlined by the Florida Board of Accountancy, aspiring CPAs can lay the foundation for a successful career in accounting and take the next steps toward becoming licensed professionals in Florida.
Florida CPAs take the Uniform CPA Exam
Accounting boards of all 50 states require that future CPAs take the Uniform CPA Exam. The examination is developed and offered through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Passing the test is how CPAs earn their certifications to practice their craft. Once the required education requirement has been met in Florida, future CPAs apply to take the Uniform CPA Exam.
The Florida DBPR Division of Certified Public Accounting offers the exam. Once authorization is granted, candidates apply with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Future Florida CPAs schedule and take the exam. Test takers must pass all four exam parts within a rolling 18-month period.
All Florida Uniform CPA Exam test takers must meet a set of education requirements. Though 150 total hours are required for the license, candidates can sit for the Florida CPA Exam after completing 120 semester credit hours (180 quarter credit hours). There is no Bachelor’s degree requirement associated with the exam itself.
The Florida education requirements include the following:
- Upper-division accounting hours of 120 credit semester or 180 quarter hours.
- The 24 semester or 36 quarter hours include auditing and cost accounting topics.
- Three semester or four quarter hours of financial accounting.
- Three semester or four quarter hours of taxation (Financial accounting and taxation courses must be based on U.S. accounting standards.
- Upper-division general business hours of 120 credit semester or 180-quarter hours.
- The 24 semester or 36 quarter hours include three semester or four quarter hours of business law on U.S. Law
Florida CPAs accumulate the required experience hours
CPAs must acquire at least 2,000 hours of work experience. These professionals complete the hours over one year of full-time work experience. They must work at least 40 hours weekly or find the hours through two years of part-time work experience. That format includes at least 20 hours per week of work.
Work experience includes the following:
- Any type of advice or service involving accounting, attest, tax, compilation, management advisory, consulting skills, or financial advisory.
- The experience requirement must be met through employment in public practice, government, industry, or academia.
- Experience must average at least twenty hours a week for part-time and no more than forty hours a week over fifty-two weeks.
Verifying CPAs confirm that the applicants completed services for a minimum of 2,000 hours gained over at least fifty-two weeks. This record is revealed when submitting the Verification of Work Experience form. Experience secured before or after taking the exam, whether partly before the exam and partly after the exam, is immaterial. The two periods should equal at least one year.
Florida CPAs apply for a CPA license
CPA candidates in Florida must create accounts with the Florida DBPR, and:
- They provide evidence that they have met all work and education requirements for licensure.
- They pay an application fee.
- They submit their exam results.
- They complete a license application to the DBPR. These licenses must be applied for within three years of passing the exam. Applicants apply through the online portal. Future Florida CPAs can print and mail application forms.
All applicants apply for licensure and complete the application within three years of passing the last part of the CPA Exam. The NASBA notifies applicants they have passed the test.
Applicants who fail to complete the licensure application within three years watch their CPA exam grades expire. Those applicants then reapply for licensure for endorsement, as stated in the state’s Section 473.308(7)(a), F.S. Licensure requirements.
Application Requirements for Your Florida CPA
Successful applicants obtaining an original license must:
- Submit DBPR CPA 2 CPA Licensure Application with a $50.00 non-refundable fee.
- Show one year of satisfactory work experience described within initial licensure requirements.
- Submit official transcripts showing completion of the required hours listed under initial licensure requirements.
Test takers apply to the DBPR. Applicants receive an email verifying the receipt of their application. They are approved for the license. Applicants then sign on to their DBPR account to print a license. Applicants should receive a wall certificate after three to six weeks of approval.
All Florida CPAs must:
- Pass four parts of the CPA Exam within 18 months.
- Take total required education hours of 150 or 225 quarter hours.
- Take total upper-division accounting hours. These hours include 30 semester or 45 quarter hours. Topics include auditing and cost accounting. There are three semester or four quarter hours of financial accounting. There are three semester or four quarter hours of taxation. These courses are based on U.S. accounting standards.
- Take total general business hours. These hours include 36 semester or 54 quarter hours. There are three or four quarter hours of business law based on U.S. Law.
All lower-level general business courses posted to transcripts after the end of August 1989 do not count. Standardized tests, like CLEP, are not acceptable for accounting and general business courses. Advanced placement courses are qualified if the applicant has been granted college credit for the AP courses by the degree-awarding institution.
How Does a Florida CPA Stay Current?
Once you are a CPA in Florida, it’s time to understand how to keep your certificate current. The DBPR requires all CPAs to complete eighty hours of continuing professional education (CPE) to keep CPA licenses current. These renewals happen every two years. At least eight of these hours are in accounting and auditing. Four hours are in an ethics course approved by the Board.
The four categories for Florida CPE include:
|A minimum of eight hours in accounting and auditing.
|At least four hours in ethics.
|No more than twenty hours of behavioral coursework.
There is additional information on the DBPR website.
These CPE requirements for all Florida CPAs assist these professionals in maintaining their professional competence and knowledge. The four categories included helping these professionals keep on top of their game. Technology and money management are moving at the speed of business today. Accountants need excellent training and resources to stay ahead. All Florida CPAs complete a total of 80 CPE hours. The hours in accounting and auditing help them stay sharp. The four hours in Board-approved ethics every two years ensure they make the right decisions with organizations’ resources.
It is a great time to consider becoming a CPA in Florida.