For many accounting students, become Certified Public Accountants (CPA) is an important objective for their career. Each state has its own rules and regulations for becoming a certified public accountant. In Texas, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) sets requirements to become a CPA. This paper will illustrate those requirements for becoming a CPA in Texas, especially focus on CPA exam, including the requirements to sit for the exam, the topics of the exam, testing windows, and the prepare options for the exam. In addition, the specific steps of scheduling CPA exam in 2013 also will be contained in this paper. Licensure as a CPA is under the jurisdiction of each individual state. In the State of Texas, the TSBPA administers the rules and regulations governing certified public accountants. The Board has a statutory obligation Section 901.252 to ensure every person engaged in the practice of public accountancy meets specific eligibility requirements. Specifically, the board issue a certificate to a person who: (1) be of good moral character, (2) pass the CPA Exam, (3) pass an exam on the Board’s Rules of Professional Conduct, and (4) meet the work experience requirements.
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According to TSBPA, good moral character means lack of a history of dishonest or felonious acts. The Board considers several areas in evaluating an applicant’s moral character. First of all, The Board will conduct the responses to questions on the application relating to arrests, charges, convictions, probations and/or deferred adjudications of a felony or misdemeanor other than misdemeanor driving offenses such as moving violations. Furthermore, the Board will access the Texas Department of Public Safety – Crime Records Division using a computerized criminal history (CCH) verification check of each applicant who submits an Application of Intent and a second check on applicants who submit an application for the Issuance of the CPA Certificate. Finally, the Board also considers the status of any type of professional license and denial of examination privileges by any other state or federal agency. The numeric scores of CPA Exam are reported on a scale of 0–99, with 75 as the passing score. Because a score of 75 or above indicates the applicant’s performance reflects sufficient knowledge and skills to protect public interest.
Moreover, a passing score of 85% is required on the open-book examination on the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. For work experience, the current requirement is one year of full-time non-routine accounting work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA. One year of required work experience is consisted of full-time employment that between one and three years and includes not fewer than 2000 hours of performance of services described in Board Rule 511.122. Work experience should be obtained in one or more of the following categories: attest services, and professional accounting services or professional accounting work. Non-routine accounting involves attest services as defined in Board Rule 501.52(4), or professional accounting services or professional accounting work as defined in Board Rule 501.52(21), and the use of independent judgment, applying entry level or higher professional accounting knowledge and skills to select, correct, organize, interpret, and present real-world data as accounting entries, reports, statements, and analyses extending over a diverse range of tax, accounting, assurance, and control situations.
It is very important to notice that the work experience must be gained under the supervision of a CPA who is responsible for supervising, evaluating and reviewing the applicant’s work. In order to prove the work experience, two statements are required: A statement describing the type and amount of experience the CPA possesses that qualifies the individual to supervise the applicant. A copy of applicant’s job description detailing the non-routine accounting work that the applicant performs, or has performed, for this employer. Among the four requirements of becoming a CPA in Texas, the CPA Exam is the hardest part. It needs the applicants to obtain sufficient knowledge and skills in accounting professions. Therefore, the requirements to sit for the Texas Uniform CPA Exam are strict and complex, especially the education requirements. In order to be eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA exam in Texas, candidates must have the following: an earned undergraduate degree, at least 150 hours of college credits, 30 hours of Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) approved advanced accounting courses, 24 hours of TSBPA approved non-accounting business courses, and 3 hours of TSBPA approved Business Ethics for Accountants course. On July 1st, 2011, the TSBPA added requirements of 2 hour course in Research and Analysis in Accounting and 2 hour course in Business or Accounting Communications to be part of the 30 hours of advanced accounting requirement, For 24 hours of non-accounting business courses TSBPA accepts up to 6 hours in each business area: Economics, Finance, Management, Marketing, Statistics, Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, Management Information Systems. Additionally, the TSBPA will only accept up to 15 hours of on-line coursework. The first step for taking CPA Exam is to submit an Application of Intent, with the exam fee of $773.20 in total (include initial application fee of $50, $190.35 for audit section, $190.35 for financial section, $171.25 for regulation section, and $171.25 for Business section of the Exam).
However, there are no residency and age requirements for the exam. That means all the international students have the chance apply for the CPA Exam if they meet the education requirements. The CPA Exam is a fourteen-hour exam, includes the sections of Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). AUD section takes four hours and covers knowledge of planning the engagement, internal controls, obtaining and documenting information, reviewing engagements and evaluating information and preparing communications. FAR test, with knowledge of concepts and standards for financial statements, typical items in financial statements, specific types of transactions and events, accounting and reporting for governmental agencies, and accounting and reporting for non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations, needs candidates to finish it within 4 hours. The REG section is a three-hour exam that covers knowledge of ethics and professional responsibility, business law, Federal tax procedures and accounting issues, Federal taxation of property transactions, Federal taxation for both individuals and Federal taxation. And for BEC section, which is another three-hour exam, covers knowledge of business structures, economic concepts, financial management, information technology, and planning and measurement. All in all, the Uniform CPA Exam tests primary understanding and the ability to apply authoritative literature, such as auditing and accounting standards, the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Internal Revenue Code.
For most of the new applicants of CPA Exam, an important term that is needed to be known is “testing windows”. The Uniform CPA Examination is available during specific periods called testing windows. The first two months of each calendar quarter is an open testing window. Therefore, there are four testing windows each year. March, June, September and December are closed for testing. There is no minimum number of sections that must be completed in a testing window. Candidates may take any section in any order, and they do not have to pass one section prior to applying for another. Currently there are tons of courses and options that are available to help people study and prepare for and take the Texas Uniform CPA Exam. For example, the Master Collage website illustrates the top nine CPA Exam Review Programs, which are Becker CPA Exam Review, Bisk Education CPA Review, CPAexcel, Gleim Publications CPA Review, Kaplan CPA Review, Lambers CPA Review, Roger CPA Review, Wiley CPA Exam Review, and Yaeger CPA Review.
Those programs are available online, and provide all the materials and services that are related to CPA Exam, such as course tuition-free or packages includes free access to study manual content updates. However, the online programs are usually quite expensive with the price arranged between $1000 and $2000. Other than the online programs, there are also books and CDs that could help people review the exams. In addition, CPA Training Center provides the latest CPA training and CPA exam review courses, like CPA Self Study Course Complete. So whether candidates are looking for CPA exam study guides, CPA textbooks that provide accounting practices and rules, CPA online training software that familiarizes the CPA exam format, or products with sample test questions, CPA Training Center can assist them in preparing for the CPA exam. When plan to take CPA Exam, it is necessary to pay attention on the exam schedules in current year. Therefore, if someone wants to take CPA Exam this year, he or she need to gain the information of scheduling the Exam in 2013. Normally, once the Board approves the Eligibility Application, candidates have ninety days to remit all applicable examination fees to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
Candidates will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) from NASBA once the fees have been paid. Then, NTS lists the sections that the candidate is approved to take, as well as the deadline for testing. An examination appointment cannot be scheduled without a valid NTS. Candidates with a valid NTS can schedule the exam and proceed to sit for the approved sections of the exam. Candidates may schedule and take each section of the CPA Exam only once during a testing window. Testing windows of 2013 are January 1 through February 29, April 1 through May 31, July 1 through August 31, and October 1 through November 30. Becoming a CPA could bring better careers for accounting students, but it is difficult to earn the certification since its requirements are complex and strict. And the hardest part is the CPA Exam, which needs the applicants had high education. For passing the exam, candidates has to achieve 75% or above in all four sections. Therefore, applicants has to pay attention on the testing window of the current year, and follow the application steps to schedule the exam in time. It is also important to look for good textbooks, courses, and other online programs for preparing and studying the exam.