Taking the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is a monumental step in an accountant’s career, and each state in the U.S. has its unique set of requirements.
In Alabama, the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy oversees the process, ensuring candidates meet all necessary prerequisites before sitting for the exam.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on Alabama’s CPA exam requirements, offering clarity and direction to prospective candidates.
- Education Requirements
- Residency and Social Security Requirement
- Ethics Exam Requirement
- CPA Exam Application Process in Alabama
- Sitting for the Exam
- Post CPA Exam Requirements
- Frequently Asked Questions
To be eligible for the CPA exam in Alabama, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution. Additionally, they are required to have earned a total of 150 semester hours of college education, which typically includes a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting or a related field. As part of these 150 hours, candidates must have:
- 24 semester hours in accounting courses above the introductory level, including coverage of financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, and auditing.
- 24 semester hours in business courses other than accounting, including subjects like business law, finance, and information systems.
Candidates must have completed these educational requirements before sitting for the CPA exam.
For those who have earned their credits at an institution outside the United States, the ASBPA requires an evaluation from a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) to ensure that the education is equivalent to U.S. standards.
Residency and Social Security Requirement
Candidates must meet the residency requirements to take the CPA exam in Alabama. They need to be a U.S. citizen, a resident alien, or have a valid Social Security number.
A candidate must also be a resident of Alabama or have a place of business in the state, or be regularly employed in the state.
Ethics Exam Requirement
After passing the CPA exam, but before applying for licensure, candidates are required to take and pass the AICPA Ethics Exam with a score of 90 or above.
This open-book exam is designed to ensure that candidates have a strong understanding of professional conduct in the field.
CPA Exam Application Process in Alabama
To apply for the CPA exam in Alabama, candidates must submit an application through the ASBPA, along with official transcripts and the application fee.
Once the ASBPA approves the application, candidates will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), allowing them to schedule their exam sections within six months.
Candidates must submit official transcripts from all educational institutions attended, showing the completion of the required coursework. These transcripts should be sent directly to the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy.
Application and Fees
The next step is to complete the CPA exam application, which can be found on the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy’s website. The application must be accompanied by the necessary fees, which vary depending on the number of exam sections being taken.
The Notice to Schedule (NTS)
Once the application is approved, candidates will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS), allowing them to schedule their exam sections with Prometric, the testing service responsible for administering the CPA exam.
Sitting for the Exam
Once the educational prerequisites are met, candidates can apply to take the CPA exam in Alabama. The exam is the Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and consists of four sections:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG)
Candidates must pass all four sections within an 18-month rolling period, with a minimum score of 75 on each part.
Post CPA Exam Requirements
To become licensed in Alabama, candidates must have one year of experience in public or non-public accounting under the supervision of a licensed CPA. This experience can be obtained before or after taking the CPA exam.
In Alabama, this includes:
- One year (2,000 hours) of full-time employment in public accounting, industry, government, academia, or a combination thereof.
- The experience must be verified by a licensed CPA and should involve the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills.
Application for Licensure
Once the exam and experience requirements are met, candidates can apply for licensure in Alabama. This process involves submitting an application for the issuance of the certificate, providing proof of passing the CPA exam and ethics exam, verification of experience, and the required fees.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE)
To maintain CPA licensure in Alabama, CPAs must complete Continuing Professional Education (CPE). Alabama requires 40 hours of CPE annually, including at least 8 hours in accounting and auditing and a minimum of 20 hours in technical subjects. CPAs must also complete a four-hour Alabama-specific ethics course every four years.
Becoming a CPA in Alabama requires dedication, preparation, and attention to detail.
By understanding and meeting all the requirements set forth by the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy, candidates can navigate the path to CPA licensure with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take the CPA exam in Alabama if I earned my degree outside of the United States?
Yes, but you will need to have your educational credentials evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation service approved by the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy to determine if they meet the state’s requirements.
Is it possible to get a CPA license in Alabama without a Social Security number?
No, having a valid Social Security number is a mandatory requirement for CPA licensure in Alabama.
How long do I have to pass all four sections of the CPA exam in Alabama?
You have 18 months to pass all four sections of the CPA exam, starting from the date you pass the first section.
Can I start gaining my one year of work experience before passing the CPA exam in Alabama?
Yes, you can gain your one year of work experience either before or after passing the CPA exam, as long as it is under the supervision of a licensed CPA.