Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Missouri is a great way to start a career in accounting. The state of Missouri has strict requirements for becoming a CPA, but with the right preparation and dedication, you can make it happen. This article will discuss the steps necessary to become a CPA in Missouri, including educational requirements, experience requirements, and exam information. We’ll also discuss the benefits of becoming a CPA in Missouri and how it can help you reach your professional goals. With this information in hand, you can take the first step towards becoming a CPA in Missouri!
Missouri is home to the corporate headquarters of H&R Block and Wells Fargo Advisors. There will always be a supply of demand for well-qualified and eager accounting professionals in Missouri. It’s also a state where accounting firms and businesses know how to treat their employees. The St. Louis Business Journal reports that three Missouri accounting firms consistently make the top 50 list for the best working environment in the United States. Many of the most recognizable names in accounting have a presence there, including international consultancies PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG.
Ten Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Missouri. More than six million state citizens have the usual needs for tax preparation, small business bookkeeping, and financial planning. Accounting professionals can find their niche in any accounting environment between the accounting firms and large corporations headquartered there.
How Can I Become a CPA in Missouri?
- Getting your Accounting Education in Missouri
- Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Missouri
- Gaining the Needed Experience in Missouri
- Getting your Missouri CPA License and Continuing Education
Getting Your Accounting Education in Missouri
A future accountant’s first step is researching Missouri colleges and universities offering accounting programs. The Missouri State Board of Accountancy requires all certified public accountants to have earned 150 semester hours of college credit. These professionals must also hold an undergraduate degree at minimum.
The standard undergraduate degree in accounting includes 120 semester hours. Earning a Master’s in Accounting or a post-baccalaureate certificate is the most common way to get 30 credits. Many of Missouri’s best programs are available entirely online. Accounting students can also find specialized five-year CPA programs. These tracks include a blended bachelor’s and master’s curriculum to give students the needed 150 semester hours to meet CPA requirements in Missouri.
Missouri has a residency requirement for all CPAs. This requirement means that accounting professionals must be a resident of, work in, or own a place of business in Missouri before becoming eligible to take the Uniform CPA Exam. This prerequisite is the way to becoming licensed as a CPA in Missouri.
Current college students and recent graduates should make sure the Missouri State Board of Accountancy will recognize their college credits. The Missouri Board of Accountancy leans on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) when evaluating school accreditation.
NASBA recognizes regional accrediting agencies, including:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools–Commission on Colleges.
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges–Commission for Senior Colleges.
- Higher Learning Commission.
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges–Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
What’s the Breakdown for CPA Education in Missouri?
Meeting the CPA degree and curriculum requirements in Missouri includes multiple steps. Between a bachelor’s and post-bachelor’s education, 150 semester hours of college credit need to have the following:
- There must be 33 semester hours in accounting, including one course in auditing.
- Eighteen credit hours in upper division accounting. These credits cannot include accounting law or business law courses.
- Twenty-seven credit hours of general business courses.
- CPA review courses meet the 150-credit hour credit requirement. Commercial CPA review courses do not qualify.
- Accredited community college courses are acceptable.
- Online, correspondence, and CLEP courses from accredited colleges are acceptable. These courses qualify if credit was received for them at an accredited college.
Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Missouri
All CPAs in Missouri earn an undergraduate degree and acquire 150 semester hours of college credit. Before becoming CPAs, the candidates apply for the Uniform CPA Exam.
The first step of the exam is to log on to the CPA Examination Services (CPAES) website. On the site, students can register online or download needed application forms.
The next step is sending in all needed documentation and a completed Uniform CPA Exam application.
- Submit official college transcripts in a sealed university envelope.
- Students still attending college must send along with their transcripts a Certificate of Enrollment form signed by a college representative. The letter verifies current enrollment in college.
- Submit payment for examination and application. These fees are mailed. They are checks or money orders payable to CPA Examination Services. Applicants may send credit card forms online.
Applicants wait to receive their Notice to Schedule (NTS) the test from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The notice arrives by mail, email, or fax, depending upon the method applicants select when submitting applications.
Candidates can visit the Prometric website and schedule their exams at a Missouri testing center. Testing centers include:
- Kansas City.
- Lees Summit.
- Jefferson City.
- St. Louis.
Testers arrive prepared to test at their chosen Prometric testing site on their selected exam day. They receive exam scores by mail after they are evaluated.
Students needing to coordinate special accommodations for exams or require more information can call the Missouri Coordinator of CPA Examination Services at 800-CPA-EXAM.
Gaining the Needed Experience in Missouri
The Missouri State Board of Accountancy requires certified public accountants to fulfill one year of accounting experience before getting licensed. Future CPAs in Missouri must pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Home Study Course on Professional Ethics.
Applicants then contact their college or university’s career center for a suitable accounting experience opportunity. The experience must meet the following requirements:
- Include one year/2000 hours of content.
- A CPA licensed in Missouri or another state must supervise the work experience.
- The work must be in industry, government, private practice, or academia.
Positions candidates are responsible for may include signing reports or supervising attest services. These applicants must have an additional year or 2000 hours of experience. The work must include attesting services like:
- Public accounting practice in a CPA firm.
- Holding a position as a government auditor.
Experience includes a combination of competencies and skills:
- Management Advisory.
- Governmental accounting, budgeting, or auditing.
Applicants must have their supervising CPA (aka the Endorser) complete all Experience sections of the Application for Initial License to Practice Public Accounting. The Endorser signs the Endorser-Experience Addendum before a Notary Public.
Getting your Missouri CPA License and Continuing Education
Students must first satisfy all educational requirements. The candidates must pass the Uniform CPA exam. Future CPAs then satisfy the Missouri State Board of Accountancy’s experience requirements. Applicants are now ready to apply for Missouri’s CPA license. These candidates must be sure they have completed each of the following steps:
- Fulfill 150-credit hours of college education and earn an undergraduate degree.
- Send college transcript to CPAES.
- Take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Take and pass the AICPA Ethics Examination.
- Fulfill employment experience requirement of one year/2,000 hours of supervised work experience. The Board may require two years/4000 hours for those supervising attest services.
Candidates must complete the Initial License to Practice Public Accounting application. They must list the date they passed the AICPA Ethics Exam. Applicants will detail their experience and give the application to their Endorser to complete. A $90 application fee is payable to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy.
Can Accountants Steer Their Careers in a Specialization?
Missouri CPAs may want to specialize in forensic accounting, external auditing, financial planning, or information systems accounting. These concentrations are available to students pursuing their undergraduate and master’s degrees. Many of the best business schools in Missouri expose students to lessons informing these concentrations. Students are interested in different fields of study. They may decide to gain a position at a firm that focuses on specific business uses. Specializations can be rewarding for CPAs in Missouri.
How Do You Stay Current in Missouri Through Continuing Professional Education?
All Missouri-based CPAs fulfill continuing professional education (CPE) hours to maintain good standing. CPAs complete 120 CPE hours every three years. Twenty CPE hours are required annually. Two CPE hours annually must be in professional ethics in Missouri.
Some CPAs work as government auditors. They must complete eighty CPE hours every two years in audit or attestation. Twenty-four of their eighty hours relate to the government environment.
Current CPAs enroll in approved educational topics. These subjects include:
- Specialized knowledge/applications.
- Personal development (if it relates to a CPA’s professional competence).
Becoming a CPA in Missouri
Professional hard work and years of preparation can result in a Missouri CPA license.
Many CPAs consider becoming members of professional organizations that help them. The AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) gives members guidance and advocacy. Professional CPAs in Missouri gain professional development and continuing education opportunities through this stellar organization. Opportunities at the state level are available through the local Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.
The world will always need accountants. Becoming a CPA in Missouri has many benefits. The steps to get there are as rewarding as the prize itself.
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