Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Georgia is an excellent way to start a rewarding career in accounting. It requires dedication, hard work, and a thorough knowledge of the Georgia CPA requirements. You must fulfill educational requirements, gain practical experience, and pass the Uniform CPA Exam. With these steps, you can begin your journey to becoming a CPA in Georgia!
Although the process can be complex, the benefits of earning a CPA license are substantial. Holding a CPA license can lead to multiple benefits. Benefits include expanded job opportunities, increased salaries, and enhanced credibility within the accounting field.
This article outlines the tasks that must be completed to become a CPA in Georgia, including the education and experience prerequisites, details on the CPA exam, and the licensing process.
How to Get a CPA License in Georgia
The Georgia State Board of Accountancy oversees the licensing of CPAs in the state. To become a licensed CPA in Georgia, you must follow these steps:
- Meet the general requirements.
- Meet the education requirements.
- Pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Meet the work experience requirements.
- Apply for your license.
- Renew your license.
Professionals must be at least 18 years of age or older to become a CPA in Georgia.
Educational Requirements for a CPA in Georgia
To qualify for a Georgia CPA license, you must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Professionals must also have completed at least 150-semester credits. Of those 150 credits, at least 24 of those credits must be in:
- Accounting and auditing,
- Business law,
- Tax, or
- Other business-related subjects.
Additionally, 30 of those credits must be higher-level accounting courses.
Professional training programs, such as a Chartered Accountant program, are not considered towards the education requirements for the CPA exam. All academic coursework must be completed at an accredited institution.
It is helpful to note that, unlike many other states, Georgia does not require an ethics exam to become a CPA.
The Uniform CPA Exam
The Uniform CPA Exam assesses competencies and expertise across several fields in four distinct sections:
- Business environment and concepts,
- Auditing and attestation,
- Financial accounting and reporting, and
Administered via computer, each CPA exam section is four hours long. All units are comprised of multiple-choice questions.
Studying for the Exam
Numerous practice exams are accessible to assist you in preparing for the real CPA exam. To prepare for the exam, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy provides Examination Blueprints. These cover the content, skills, and tasks for each of the four sections. It also offers sample tests to help familiarize you with the types of multiple-choice questions, simulations, and written prompts for each of the sections. These sample tests provide a chance to get used to the software the exam uses. The following are a few other options:
- AICPA Practice Exam: The official practice exam created by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the organization that develops and administers the CPA exam. The AICPA Practice Exam will emulate the actual CPA exam and can be obtained through the AICPA website.
- Becker CPA Review: Another extensive CPA review course, Becker CPA Review, also includes practice exams. The practice exams are intended to mimic the actual CPA exam and include detailed answer explanations. Becker CPA Review provides adaptive technology that adjusts the difficulty level of each question based on your performance.
- Gleim CPA Review: A self-study CPA review course, Gleim CPA Review, features practice exams. The practice exams are intended to simulate the actual CPA exam and come with detailed answer explanations.
- Surgent CPA Review: A comprehensive CPA review course, Surgent CPA Review includes practice exams. The practice exams are designed to emulate the actual CPA exam and include detailed answer explanations. Additionally, Surgent CPA Review also provides adaptive technology.
- Wiley CPAexcel Exam Review: Wiley CPAexcel is a comprehensive CPA review course that features practice exams. The Wiley practice exams are designed to simulate the actual CPA exam and provide detailed answer explanations. Furthermore, Wiley CPAexcel also provides adaptive technology.
There are numerous CPA practice exams available. It’s important to select one that closely resembles the actual CPA exam and includes detailed answer explanations. This enables you to learn from your mistakes.
Scheduling Your Exam
To schedule your CPA exam, contact the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). As a Georgia resident, you can apply for the exam using the CPA Examination Online Application System. To sit for the exam, you are required to submit your academic transcripts. Your educational institution(s) must send transcripts directly to NASB CPA Examination Services (CPAES) and a Testing Accommodations form to CPAES if necessary. The state of Georgia doesn’t have any residency requirements regarding sitting for the Uniform CPA exam.
Once you’ve submitted your exam application and paid the fees, NASB will email you a Notice to Schedule (NTS), which takes about two to four weeks. Your NTS will include the contact details for Prometric, which is the entity that oversees the exam, and you will have to schedule your exam time through them. You will need to have a copy of your NTS with you when you go to the exam. The name on the NTS must match the name on your identification. If there is any discrepancy, you won’t be allowed to take the exam, and you’ll lose the fees paid for that section of the exam.
To pass the CPA exam, you must pass all four parts within a rolling 18-month period and achieve a minimum score of 75 in each section. This timeframe starts from the date of your first passed section. The cost for each section is between $200 and $300.
Once your exam has been reviewed, you will receive your results from the Georgia State Board of Accountancy.
Work Experience to be a CPA in Georgia
In order to apply for a Georgia CPA license, specific experience requirements must be met. These requirements differ based on the type of accounting experience that the applicant possesses.
For public accounting experience
The individual must have been employed as a staff accountant by a practicing CPA who holds a current license or by a firm of such licensed accountants certified to practice public accountancy in Georgia or any other state or country. The work must involve the use of:
- Auditing or attestation skills, and
- The application of appropriate technical and behavioral standards.
The experience must have been at least one year in duration and completed within one year preceding the application date. The work must have been full-time, with a minimum of 2,000 hours completed within a 12-month period. The experience must have been supervised by an individual who holds a CPA license.
For industry accounting experience
The applicant must have been employed by an individual or entity and performed duties primarily involving financial accounting and auditing skills that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The experience must have been at least one year and completed within one year preceding the application date. It also must have been full-time, with a minimum of 2,000 hours completed within 12 months. The experience must have been supervised by an individual who holds a CPA or registered public accountant license.
For government accounting experience
The applicant needs to have been employed by a government agency that is appropriated public funds and recognized by the Board as having the responsibility and organizational structure for performing auditing and accounting functions. The experience must have been at least one year and completed within one year preceding the application date. The employment must have been full-time, with a minimum of 2,000 hours completed within 12 months. The experience must be supervised by an individual with a CPA or equivalent license.
For teaching experience
The individual must have taught accounting courses for academic credit at an accredited four-year college or university. The teaching must have included at least two accounting courses above the introductory or elementary level. One year of experience shall consist of no less than 24-semester-hours or the equivalent in quarter hours, taught in a period consisting of not less than twelve months and not more than thirty-six months. Courses outside the field of accounting will not be counted toward full-time teaching.
Apply for a CPA license in Georgia
To obtain a CPA license through NASBA’s Licensing Service, you will need to:
- Create a user account on the online application tool,
- Apply for the license,
- Update your information, and
- Check the status of your application.
Once you have submitted your application, fees, and all other required materials, it may take up to two weeks from the completion date of your file for your application to be processed. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your application unless you have indicated otherwise. It’s important to note that this notice only confirms the receipt of your application.
Continuing Education and Renewal as a CPA in Georgia
During your first year of licensure, there are no mandatory continuing education requirements to fulfill. If your license has been active for less than two years, you will need to complete 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) before your first renewal deadline.
After your initial renewal, you must complete 80 hours of CPE every two years, with at least 16 hours in auditing and accounting. You must earn a minimum of 20 CPE hours each year. Failure to meet the CPE requirements by the end of the renewal period will result in the expiration of your license, requiring you to reactivate it.
It’s essential to keep a record of your CPE credits for five years. If selected for an audit, you must provide proof of your completed CPE credits to the Board. Licensees who are 70 or older are exempt from the CPE requirement.
In Georgia, there are several ways to fulfill the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements for CPA license renewal. The Georgia State Board of Accountancy accepts CPE credits from various sources, such as:
- Self-study, and
CPE credits must be offered by providers approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
It’s important to note that the specific CPE requirements vary depending on the license type and the reporting period. For more information on CPE requirements for CPA license renewal in Georgia, you can refer to the Georgia State Board of Accountancy’s website or contact them directly.
If you plan to become a CPA in Georgia, now is a great time to start your journey.
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