Before understanding what CPA exam requirements are, you need to understand why this exam is important. The CPA exam is one that individuals must pass in order to qualify for and be licensed as Certified Public Accountants. The exam is only one part of the three Es required for licensure ISACA CISM . These are Education, Examination and Experience. The aim of the exam is to test entry level accounting skills and knowledge of individuals before they can be entrusted with financial accounting responsibilities.
There are four basic sections in the CPA exam. One of these is AUD or Auditing and Attestation, which covers the auditing process. Areas covered include acceptable auditing standards as well as other standards of attest engagements, and the skills necessary for applying this knowledge. The second section is Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), which covers the business concepts in general and also teaches the reasons for taking particular business actions as well as accounting implications of business transactions.
The other two sections in the exam are Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulations (REG). FAR covers the general accepted principles of accounting for businesses, non-profitable organizations and government entities, while REG deals with ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, federal taxation, and business law. Thorough knowledge of each concept and the skills needed to apply the knowledge are major exam requirements for each of the sections.
Educational CPA exam requirements may differ by state. The minimum requirement in most states is a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited university. A bias in financial accounting and reporting, taxation, cost or managerial accounting, or auditing and attesting is required. A total of at least 120 semester hours is a necessity. Required are 24 semester units in accounting and a further 24 semester units in business related studies. These educational requirements must be met no later than 180 days after the date the candidate sits for the first exam section.