The CPA Designation
CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is the highest accounting credential in the United States.
The Uniform CPA examinations are conducted by the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) which is the world's largest accounting body. AICPA offers membership to all candidates who successfully clear the CPA exams.
The CPA license is issued by one of the 55 states or territories of the United States all of which are members of NASBA (National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy).
CPAs have knowledge of:
- US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) & IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards)
- Auditing and Attestation standards and procedures
- US federal taxation and business laws
- Business and financial concepts
For Indian CPA candidates, the US CPA designation can be summarized as:
- US equivalent of India CA (Chartered Accountant)
- Single-level exams with only 4 exam parts (vs. 3-levels & 16 exam parts on CA)
- Roadmap of less than 12 months (vs. 4-5 years for CA)
- Exams in Middle East locations including Dubai [effective Oct-2014] as well as US
Click on relevant posts below on Miles Blogs for Indian CPA candidates:
- Why CPAs are required in India?
- Given the limited supply of CPAs in India, what do MNCs and Big 4s do?
- CPA (US) vs. CA (India)
- Only 4 Exam Parts - “Culture-shock” for CA candidates!!!
- CPA Eligibility - Expert guidance & Bridge Course by Miles
- CPA License - “ONLY” Miles helps you get there
- Miles vs. Competitors
- Miles ensures the needed “discipline” to be a CPA
- Roadmap to CPA = 12 months
Why CPA ?
CPA ensures global recognition for accounting & finance professionals. And with academic content organized over just 4 exam parts and the designation achievable over less than 12 months, the CPA designation offers an extensive value proposition:
- International Credibility
- Strong Knowledge Base - Auditing, Accounting (US GAAP & IFRS), Finance, Tax
- Significant career progression opportunity with Big 4 and MNCs
- Other benefits: Leadership skills, international perspective, elite professional network
CPA course USPs:
- Academic Advantage (4 parts, single-level exam, objective-pattern exams)
- Convenience (Exam locations including US & Middle East, computerized online exams, exams held over 8 months/year)
- Short Course duration (can be completed within 12 months)
Road to CPA
Miles CPA Review offers personal counseling to enable you to understand and appreciate the role of the CPA course in the advancement of your career. The first-hand experience of its director coupled with the extensive research carried out by the academic team in the course offers you the best advice and support throughout the entire process of becoming a CPA.
In case of international CPA candidates from India, generally 3-year commerce graduates from recognized universities in India qualify to take the CPA exams. Qualifications for Indian students need to be assessed by a foreign academic credential agency
The CPA exams comprise 4 parts - (i) Financial Accounting & Reporting, (ii) Auditing & Attestation, (iii) Regulation and (iv) Business Environment & Concepts. Subjects tested and testing pattern on the Uniform CPA Examinations are summarized below:
Miles CPA Review will ensure that you understand the structure and format of the exams with relevant practice questions and simulations. The study material is prepared after thorough understanding of the Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) for each of the 4 parts of the CPA exams.
Upon assessment of their academic credentials, CPA candidates need to obtain a NTS (Notice to Schedule) from the state board. NTS is sent by the state board only after it is satisfied regarding eligibility to appear for the exams and takes upto 4 weeks after application and exam fees are received by the board.
After obtaining the NTS, you can schedule convenient CPA exam dates with Prometric in the order desired (suggested order - FAR, AUD, REG, BEC).
The CPA exams are administered 8 months a year over 4 testing windows (Jan-Feb, Apr-May, Jul-Aug, Oct-Nov) with no exams conducted in Mar, Jun. Sep and Dec.
Use expert mentoring and resources for logistical support at Miles CPA Review.
Key pointers for CPA exams:
- FAR / AUD / REG = 100% objective pattern; BEC = 85% objective
- Passing score of 75 on each part (on a scale of 0-99)
- Candidates have 18 months to clear the remaining 3 parts from the date they clear the 1st part, i.e., the 4 parts can be spread out over as long as 18 months (Note: this is different from the 6-month validity of the NTS which can be taken for one or more parts at a time)
- If a candidate does not clear a part, the candidate only has to re-appear for that part in a subsequent testing window
(i.e., does not affect credits for exams already cleared) CPA exam testing windows: Jan-Feb, Apr-May, Jul-Aug, Oct-Nov (8 months/year, take it ANYTIME!)
- Exams can be taken ANYWHERE in the US or international testing locations including Middle East: Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and UAE
Scores for the exams are released within 10-40 days after appearing for the exams as per the score release timeline released by the AICPA for each testing window.
W.e.f. 1-Oct-2014, Indian CPA candidates can take the CPA exams in Middle East locations including in Dubai, UAE. To read the AICPA press release, Click here
It is recommended that the exams be taken over 15-30 days of stay in Dubai with gaps of about 3-7 days before each exam. However, candidates may vary the length of the stay given constraints of leaves available, budget and level of preparation.
Alternatively, candidates have to take 2 (or more) trips to Dubai and take, say, 2 exams at a time. The rule is that candidates need to clear the remaining 3 parts within 18 months from the date they have cleared the first part, which actually gives enough time and flexibility to candidates.
Miles CPA Review will guide and support you through all logistics - whether it is exam eligibility, Notice to Schedule (NTS), exam scheduling or foreign travel.
After clearing the CPA exams, candidates need to apply for the CPA license (same as CPA certificate) which is issued by one of the 55 states or territories of the United States.
Note: Only clearing the CPA Examinations does not make one a CPA; need to fulfill the other 3E requirements: Education, Experience, Ethics.
As per regulations, for CPA exams taken in international locations (like Dubai, UAE), the exam credits would lapse unless the candidate is able to get the CPA license within 3 years after clearing the CPA exams.
With Miles CPA Review, there is 100% clarity on what gets you where. Miles would certainly guide you to the shortest route to destination 'CPA'.
The CPA License
Eligibility: 3 + 1 E's to Becoming a CPA
Just passing the CPA Exams does not make you a CPA – you need to fulfill the other 3 Es:
- Education – if required, Miles can help you with a bridge course (PGDA)
- Experience – experience under a CPA is acceptable to most state boards; however, if work-ex is under a non-CPA, we have full-time licensed CPAs who are allowed to verify experience for the CPA license (which is accepted by a few state boards)
- Ethics – Online on-demand exams; no travel requirement
As per regulations, for CPA exams taken in international locations (like Dubai, UAE), the exam credits would lapse unless the candidate is able to get the CPA license within 3 years after clearing the CPA exams. For further details and to read the "International Consent Agreement" to be signed by candidates taking exams in international locations, Click here
Career Opportunities for CPA
A career in accounting with the CPA qualification will certainly prove to be extremely rewarding in terms of increased credibility, opportunities and pay.
Career opportunities for CPAs include but are not limited to:
- The Big 4 and other US-based accounting firms
- Financial services or consulting firms
- MNCs and corporates listed in the US
- Companies providing accounting, taxation and other financial services to US clients
Opportunities for CPAs are boundless as they often expand their careers beyond the traditional accounting realm to provide related services for many different types of organizations.
CPAs are required in all areas of the business world:
- Financial / International Accounting
- Corporate Finance (M&A, IPO, Share & Debt Issues)
- Venture Capital
- Assurance and Attest Services
- Internal Auditing
- Information Technology (especially as applied to accounting and auditing)
- Management Consulting & Performance Management
- Financial Planning
- Financial Analysis
- Tax Preparation and Planning
- Income Tax
- Estate Planning
- Corporate Governance
While some CPAs are generalists and may offer a range of services (especially those in small practices) many CPAs specialize in just one area.