CPA Exam Education Requirements in Idaho
Before cpa candidates can apply for a CPA license in the State of Idaho, there are specific educational requirements certified public accountant students must meet in terms of preparation; you must complete a minimum of 150 credit hours or 225 quarter-hours of accounting specific and general college study and receive at least a bachelor's degree with an accounting emphasis from an accredited institution. An easy first step is to obtain an associate degree in business or accounting from an accredited school. This will help you learn a little bit about what you're getting into, prepare you to continue into future learning, provide an overview of what becoming a CPA will look like, and answer any questions you may have about spending your full career. This may also put you in an excellent position to fulfill experience requirements in a local firm or office, even as you apply as a student to baccalaureate programs at top schools.
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Of the hours required, at least 24 credit hours or 36 quarter-hours must be in accounting.
Within the accounting courses, the following content must be included:
- Financial Accounting
- Management Accounting
Another 24 credit hours or 36 quarter-hours must be earned by completing business courses.
Listed below are several examples:
- Business Administration
- Business Ethics
- Business Law
- Business Management
- Computer Science
- Human Resource Management
- Information Systems
- Professional Communications
If you complete your college education without having earned the required credits, you can take graduate-level courses from any institution that is approved by the Idaho State Boards.
The Board recognizes the following institutions and programs as accredited:
- Colleges and universities that are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, formerly known as the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Colleges and universities that have accreditation from other regional or national organizations, if the accreditation standards are equivalent to those of the above-mentioned commission. You should be able to find a full list of acceptable Idaho programs on the board of accountancy main website. Four of these are:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Private colleges in Idaho that issue bachelor's degrees and are certified by the Idaho State Department of Education to train teachers
- Business and accounting programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, also known as "AACSB"
- Business and accounting programs that are accredited by similar agencies with equivalent standards
The American Council on Education, also known as "ACE", has a contract with the Department of Defense to evaluate military courses, training and experience and provide recommendations for college credit. What credit actually transfers is left to the policy of each individual college or university.
If you have military experience, it is well worth the effort to find out what credits you can transfer. This could save both money and time as you pursue your goal of becoming a licensed CPA. Note that a copy of your military transcript is a requirement to get the process started.
Taking the Idaho CPA Exam
To become a certified public accountant CPA, you must take the state board and pass the CPA exam in your state. You can take the Uniform CPA Examination at a Prometric testing center, located on Idaho State University campuses in Meridian and Pocatello, Idaho. The computer-based test is made up of four sections and each section may be taken separately. You must pass all four sections within 18 months of passing the first one.
In order to take the CPA exam in Idaho, you must comply with the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be either a current or former resident of Idaho or intend to become a resident immediately after passing the CPA exam.
- Hold a baccalaureate degree, or its equivalent, in studies that included at least 30 credit hours or 45 quarter-hours in business administration subjects. Of these hours, 20 credit hours or 30 quarter-hours must relate directly to accounting.
- Request that all transcripts be sent directly from the college, university, or other approved program to the Idaho State Board. Transcripts must be signed by an official representative of the institution where you studied. This usually is the registrar. A transcript without an official seal will be rejected, as will transcripts marked "issued to student" and ones sent with the application, even if the transcript envelope is sealed. This is done for security reasons. You can usually request transcript service and similar info by phone, email, or online form and it may or may not be free.
- Obtain, complete, and return the CPA examination application packet, which includes an "Idaho Department of Law Enforcement Criminal History Records Check" form that must be signed. Attach to the application a 2-inch by 2-inch photograph of yourself.
- Pay the initial CPA examination application fee to the Idaho State Board of Accountancy.
- Wait for the Board's decision regarding your application to test. When the Board rules that you meet the requirements to be a candidate for testing, it will submit the Authorization to Test (ATT) to the National Boards of Accountancy.
- The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) then will bill you for all sections of the test that you applied to take. Pay this non-refundable fee within three months of the date your ATT was issued.
After all fees are paid, NASBA will send you the Notice to Schedule (NTS). You then must contact Prometric to schedule the CPA exam at a testing center site. You will not be able to sit for the entire exam in one day because each section takes four hours.
Section titles are as follows:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Business Environment and Concepts
Continuing Professional Education Requirements
Once you are licensed in Idaho as a certified public accountant, pay close attention to the requirements for keeping your license current. Every year, all licenses that are not renewed expire on June 30, no matter when the license was issued. The deadline for annual renewal is July 1.
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To be eligible to renew, you must earn 80 hours of continuing professional education, also known as "CPE," in the accounting field every two years. Of those 80 hours, at least four hours must be in Idaho ethics. One credit hour of college credit equals 15 CPE hours.
CPE must be reported by January 31 each year. It is your responsibility to file the report, and no reminder will be given. A minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 50 can be reported for each calendar year.
Fees for late filing begin in February. These fees start at $100 and increase another $50 for every month the report is late, through the month of June. Late filings are audited, which means that you will be required to submit documentation for every course included in the report. Also, if you fail to file your annual CPE report by the end of June, you will be unable to renew your license until you meet all requirements for reinstatement.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or "AICPA," which was founded in 1887, established baseline CPE requirements that are recognized by the accountancy boards in every state. Many states have set additional requirements, some of them quite stringent.