Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Definition - What does Certified Public Accountant (CPA) mean?

The Uniform Public Accountant Examination, or CPA, is meant to assess if new accountants have the knowledge and skills needed to effectively practice public accounting. This exam is developed by the AICPA with significant input and assistance from both the state boards of accountancy and the NASBA.
The CPA Exam is completely computer based and is made up of four distinct sections: Regulation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Business Environment and Concepts, and Auditing and Attestation. Candidates will have 14 hours to take this exam, which is comprised of simulation, essays and multiple-choice questions.

Cost for the CPA exam is substantial and will vary by state. However, candidates can expect to pay roughly $1,000 to sit for the full exam. Also, keep in mind that some states will also require you to sit for an ethics exam and pay a licensing fee. These fees can add up quickly and are something that should be considered before choosing to sit for the exam. Keep in mind that this fee schedule does not include the cost of a CPA prep course or study materials.

Successful candidates will receive a score of 75 or greater on a 0-99 pt. scale. Candidates must register their testing appointment with Prometrics and sit for the exam at one of their testing centers.

Testopedia explains Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

For an accountant to be licensed as a CPA they must meet three distinct criteria, experience, examination and education, also known as the 3 E’s. The CPA exam is a consistent requirement in all 55 jurisdictions. While both education and experience are also required, the specifics in these areas can vary depending on location.

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