business advisors

How to Become a CPA in New York

Ready to start your journey?

Becoming a CPA in New York can be a great way to start or advance your career. As a CPA, you will have access to the many benefits of the profession, such as increased job security, higher salaries, and more opportunities for growth. In order to become a CPA in New York, you must meet certain requirements set by the New York State Board of Accountancy. This includes passing the CPA exam and completing an approved accounting program. With dedication and hard work, becoming a CPA in New York is within reach.

new york picture

There are many benefits to becoming a CPA. There is no denying the excellent salary potential, the chance to seamlessly change industries, or the ability CPAs have to start their own CPA firms in New York. Did you know there are some hidden benefits to becoming a CPA in New York that you may not be aware of?

Benefits of a CPA

The knowledge working professionals gain as CPAs can prove financially beneficial. All CPAs learn to file taxes properly. They are familiar with the latest laws and regulations. This allows them to capitalize on them and save themselves the most amount of money on taxes over a lifetime. 

Accounting professionals working for a CPA firm or who run their own firm often process many tax returns. They see and review so many of them that they learn the best ways to claim and categorize funds. Knowing these facts can allow you the chance to share your knowledge with friends and family. Saving them money will feel good and can help you earn respect and the potential to pay clients in the future. Many professions lack that kind of opportunity.

Accountants are found in every industry in e-commerce and business. Accountants work for state and federal government, non-profit organizations, and law enforcement. None can surpass the work and industry respect that Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) garnered. 

Professionals who achieve this professional designation are qualified to sign official financial statements and tax documents and guarantee the accuracy of all financial documents. New York State awards this designation to those who meet its specific guidelines. 

Are you wondering what it takes to become a CPA in New York? This article serves as a resource for future New York state CPAs and includes CPE requirements for people interested in sitting for and obtaining their licenses.

Another great place to start your journey is by checking the New York CPA requirements—the New York Board of Accountancy licenses all CPAs. 

Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in New York:

  1. Getting Your CPA Education in New York.
  2. Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in New York.
  3. Gaining the Needed Experience in New York.
  4. Getting Your CPA License and Continuing Education in New York.
pexels vlada karpovich 4050315

The basic requirements of becoming a CPA in New York involve education, an exam, and required experience. New York CPAs need 150 semester hours of academic credit delivered by an accredited institution for their license. Completing 120 hours will suffice to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Test takers must pass all four exam parts with a minimum score of 75. After that, professionals must fulfill the New York State Board of Public Accountancy’s requirement of one year of work experience.

New York CPA Minimum Education Requirements

First, determine that your program will satisfy the New York board.

Before seeking out an accounting program, ensure it satisfies the New York board’s accreditation standards. Candidates should check with their academic advisors and make sure their degrees will be honored by the New York State Department of Education or the NY Board of Regents. Next, work with an advisor to plan a course load that meets the specifics needed to sit for the CPA exam and qualify for full licensure.

Ensuring the program is accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or another accrediting entity acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education is vital.

Future CPAs in New York hoping to sit for the exam before completing all 150 credit hours must have qualifying transcripts.

These transcripts must include one from each of the following course lists:

Financial AccountingCost accounting
Auditing and AttestationTaxation

Credits can come from an NYSED-approved program to qualify for a license. It must include the following:

  • One hundred and fifty credit hours.
  • An undergraduate degree from an AACSB-accredited program.

The undergraduate degree (plus additional credits) must include 33 hours in accounting courses, including coursework in:

Financial AccountingCost accounting
TaxationAccounting Research

The 36 credit hours in general business courses must include the following:

Business CommunicationsBusiness Law
Business EthicsMacro or Microeconomics
college class

Candidates must have matriculated with at least an undergraduate degree. Accounting students can look at top business schools around the nation to find on-campus and online accounting courses and degrees.

Once the education requirements are met, they may then elect to sit for the four-section CPA exam. The Uniform CPA Exam is among the nation’s most demanding professional exams. Half of all applicants retake all or part of the test. Many test takers form study groups from their graduating classes or work through CPA review courses.

What are the New York CPA Licensure Requirements?

Candidates receiving their licenses must meet the following requirements:

  • The minimum age is 21.
  • They must present themselves to be of good moral character.
  • There are experience requirements.
  • There are minimum education requirements.

Education Requirements

Candidates must apply for licensure or complete their degrees after August 1, 2009, and have completed 150 credit hours. These individuals must meet one of the following:

  • Complete a 150 credit program approved by NYSED. 
  • Complete a graduate program with a major in accounting from an AACSB-accredited school.
  • Complete an undergraduate or higher degree and at least 150 credit (225 quarter) hours in college-level learning. This must include 33 semester (49.5 quarter) accounting hours. Topics must include financial accounting at the upper division beyond the introductory level. Taxation, cost accounting, audit, and attestation at the upper division are also included. There is also a need for accounting research and 36 semester hours in general business.

The subjects of Ethics and Responsibilities and Communications are required. They may come from accounting or business.

Facts on The Uniform CPA Exam in New York

Applicants will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). From that point, they have six months to schedule, take, and pass one part of the four-part exam. Test takers unable to meet the deadline must pay another application fee and schedule another test. Candidates scheduling a test choose one or all the exam sections:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting.
  • Auditing and Attestation.
  • Regulation (Ethics).
  • Business Environment and Concepts.

Experience Requirements for CPAs in New York

All certified public accountants in New York must meet New York CPA experience requirements: 

  • At least one year of full-time experience for the 150-hour education pathway. Students within the 120-hour education pathway must complete at least two years of satisfactory full-time experience.
  • Acceptable experience can be earned in an educational institution, a public accounting firm, government, or private industry.

Accounting Skills

Experience can be gained within one of the following service areas:

Financial advisoryTaxation

All qualifying experience is gained under the watchful eye of a U.S.-certified public accountant. This professional must be registered and licensed. They can be authorized to practice in the jurisdiction of their principal business organization.


Time Requirement

After passing all four parts of the exam, future CPAs have the experience portion of the licensure application. The New York board requires CPAs to work under a licensed CPA for one year. These professionals can work full-time for an entire year or part-time for two years. CPAs in New York can choose from many work environments, including in a private company, for state or federal government agencies, accountancy firms, or in academia.

CPAs must document all their time and duties during their pre-license tenure. Once they have completed the time requirements, supervisors fill out the Application Form and Certification of Employer form. Applicants who worked for multiple employers get each to complete the form. 

Facts about CPA License Renewals in New York

New York CPAs renew their license every three years. The cycle runs from January 1 – December 21 triennially. Continuing professional education (CPE) must be completed three years before the year a license is renewed. All CPAs must complete 24 or 40 hours of CPE credits each year of the reporting period. CPE credits in New York comply with New York Board of Accountancy rules.

These rules include the following:

  • Twenty-four CPE credits are earned if continuing education is concentrated in one of the recognized subjects.
  • Forty CPE credits are earned if continuing education is in any recognized subject area. A list of recognized subject areas is at the NY State Office of the Professions.
  • Four contact hours of acceptable professional ethics are completed every three years. 
accounting analytics balance 209224

New York offers many opportunities for CPAs. The top four accounting firms in the nation are in New York City. Upstate New York has many options for public and private accountants. For more information on becoming a CPA in New York, visit the New York State Board of Public Accountancy website.

Becoming a CPA in New York is a rewarding career choice. It requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are worth it. CPAs in New York have access to many different job opportunities, including working with businesses, government agencies, and public accounting firms. With the right preparation and determination, anyone can become a successful CPA in New York.

Related Resources:

What is a Doctorate in Accounting Degree?
What is an Associate’s in Accounting Degree?
Ultimate Guide for Accountants

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?