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Becoming a CPA in Massachusetts is a great way to establish yourself as a trusted financial professional. To become a CPA in Massachusetts, you must meet the requirements set forth by the state’s Board of Accountancy. This includes passing the Uniform CPA Examination and obtaining an active license from the board. With hard work and dedication, you can become a CPA in Massachusetts and pursue a rewarding career in accounting.

CPA in Massachusetts

Becoming a CPA

A CPA is a person who is licensed in their state to perform the duties of a public accountant. In the state of Massachusetts, only those with a CPA certification are permitted to issue independent reports on financial statements for businesses, individuals, and other organizations.

Once certified, individuals will have demonstrated the knowledge and competency necessary to fill this role. The title comes with a high degree of prestige that will give clients confidence in the skills and the services they provide. It will also provide you, as a certified public accountant, with plenty of job opportunities, great pay rates, and job security.

Each state has similar educational and experiential requirements before CPA certification can be granted. The first step to becoming qualified in this profession in Massachusetts is to complete an accredited course designed to adhere to the most current relevant rules and regulations regarding certification. There are many readily available courses of this kind from a range of reputable and accredited schools.

In this article, we will provide a complete description of the steps you need to take to become a qualified CPA in Massachusetts. This will include the educational requirements, what to expect on the final examination, what experience one should have to obtain employment as a CPA in Massachusetts, as well as any additional licensure you may need.

If accounting is a field that interests you, then you will be pleased to know that those with a certified public accountant’s certification in Massachusetts will likely enjoy great job security and can expect their expertise to be in high demand well into the foreseeable future.

The Advantages of Being a CPA in Massachusetts

Career Development

Passing the CPA exam will make you stand out to employers and show your commitment to quality and professionalism in accounting. This certification is also needed in order to take most accounting jobs in the state of Massachusetts. It is a common career step for those with this certification to go on to obtain a master’s degree in accounting.

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Job Satisfaction 

Certified public accountants typically perform a range of highly specialized functions such as auditing, business consulting, financial reporting, information technology, and more. In Massachusetts, you need this certification to do any kind of financial reporting. Those who do often go on to work in high-level subcategories of the field, such as forensic accounting.

Pay & Benefits

Those who obtain this level of certification have exclusive access to a high-paying field with a great deal of growth potential and attractive benefits. CPA positions tend to have competitive health, vacation, and paid time off benefits, as well as some compelling retirement options. According to Payscale, the average pay for CPAs in Boston is $90,000 annually, with experienced CPAs reaching $150,000 and higher.

Steps to CPA Licensure

The process of obtaining your CPA certification in Massachusetts is simple, though one or more of the steps themselves may prove to be a challenge. 

  1. Meet the education requirements
  2. Submit your exam application
  3. Request your college transcripts
  4. Pay your NASBA schedule fees
  5. Schedule your exam sections at a Prometric Center
  6. Find an exam mentor to help you pass
  7. Find a review course to study
  8. Complete professional experience hours

Steps six and seven are recommendations that will help you with accountability and structure as you prepare for the test. The average pass/fail rate for the CPA exam in Massachusetts is approximately 45%-50%. That is why we recommend good study habits and especially good note-taking in the section on education below.

Meeting the educational requirements may be the most complex part of the CPA examination process in Massachusetts. Once you have completed the educational prerequisites, passing the exam will be just another step toward meeting your professional goals. It is advisable to complete the certified public accountant exam as soon as possible after the required education hours. This will ensure that you have the most up-to-date information possible as you study and take the test. 

Sometimes, getting the experience requirement filled is challenging for logistical reasons. But with persistence, you should be able to check this box off your list and finally apply for your license. Now, let’s look at the steps in greater detail.

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Education

The first step is to get the requisite education. In Massachusetts, this step must be completed in full and is necessary to master the fundamentals of the profession and to receive your certification. Once the education component is complete, students can move on to their examinations. From there, your school should be able to help you obtain the experiential requirements through contacts, school counseling, or by connecting you directly with employers looking for someone like you.

The educational steps are as follows:

  1. Register with an accredited college or university.
  2. Complete 150 semester hours of college credit.
  3. Complete a bachelor’s Degree.

Thirty semester hours must be taken in the areas of accountancy, taxes, financial management, and auditing. An additional 24 semester hours in coursework business information systems, business law, and professional ethics are also required. Finance, business management, business communication, and economics may be substituted for the previous three areas of study. It is strongly advised that you consult an academic counselor if you are unsure which classes to take or which substitutions may be best for your educational and employment goals.

Those educated outside of the US or from an unaccredited school must have their transcripts evaluated by the International Evaluation Services or Center for Educational Documentation.

Tips for Studying for the Massachusetts CPA Exam

Studying for the CPA exam can feel overwhelming. Luckily there are many test preparation and review courses available. Many students choose to complete their review online through test prep sites such as surgent.comefficientlearning.com, or Becker.com. There are also other prep options available for those who prefer to study one-on-one with a tutor through services like Varsity Tutors

The most important key to success is to create a schedule for studying. You will also want to connect with others who are either taking the exam or have taken it before. This will help you create a sense of community and a place to ask questions from those who are working towards similar goals. 

Exam

GRE Prep

The next step is to take and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Exam. You may not need to have completed 100% of your educational requirements to take the exam, but your certificate may not be officially issued until the requirements are complete. For example, students with a bachelor’s degree may take the exam. Further, you may sit and take the exam if you have just 120 of the total 150 semester hours needed.

You will also need to complete the following steps:

  • Apply via the Certified Public Accounting Examination Services (CPAES). You will need to submit all required documents with your application. These may include your transcript, certificate of enrollment, as well as application and exam fees.
  • Schedule your exam through the Prometric website. After you receive a notification, you may choose from seven convenient testing locations.

Experience

Finally, before the Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy will honor your certificate, you will need to complete the practical work experience requirements. Those who possess a graduate degree are exempted from the experience requirement.

The board requires applicants to have one year or 1,820 hours of full-time work in public accounting. The 1,820 hours come out approximately to full-time employment or eight hours a day, five days a week for one year. These hours can be completed over a period of time longer than one year. For example, if you worked part-time while completing coursework and took a full or part-time job. The hours must include 1,000 hours of experience in the full disclosure of financial statements. Among those 1,000 hours, 300 should be in full disclosure compilation.

Your 1,820 hours must be spoken for by a licensed certified public accountant who has direct knowledge of or witnessed your work during these hours. 

Finally, you will need to demonstrate that you are competent in attestation, full disclosure financial statement public account reporting, and compiling full disclosure.

Licensure

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Once you obtain your licensure, you will need to renew it periodically. The rules regulating renewal are always changing, so you will need to check your local laws each time your license is coming up for renewal. Currently, for a certified public accountant in Massachusetts, the period for renewal is two years. The general requirement for continuing education during each two-year period is 80 hours. While this may sound like a lot, you will find that continuing your education will help you stay up-to-date for licensure and stay current within your profession. 

Become the Next CPA in Massachusetts

As you can see, there is much to do and learn in order to become a qualified certified public accountant. Once completing the rigorous professional requirements for certification, you will enjoy a promising career in a growing field with many perks and job security!

Related Resources

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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?