Becoming a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In Arizona
Beating the Arizona heat might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, becoming a certified public accountant is not beyond reach for anyone serious about accounting. Becoming a member of the largest body of professional accountants in the state is a straight forward process.
Besides passing the CPA exam, obtaining an Arizona CPA license is the first step to working as an accountant in the state dominated by finance, insurance, and real estate industries.
In addition to boasting one of the largest manufacturing industries for airplanes and aircraft parts, Arizona is also known for agriculture and mining. Needless to say, there are plenty of jobs for accountants in AZ.
Let’s review the AZ CPA requirements along with what you need to do to take the CPA exam in Arizona and become a licensed CPA in Arizona.
Basic Requirements For CPA Certification in Arizona
While CPA certification is one of the most sought after credentials in Arizona, there are certain credentials that prospective students must fulfill. To take the CPA exam and become a certified public accountant in Arizona, prospective candidates must:
- Be at least 18-years
- Have a Social Security Number
- Have Bachelor’s degree with 120 credit hours
- Show proof of at least 1-year experience as an accountant in the public or private sector
Arizona CPA Certification Education Requirements
Arizona education requirements for CPA certification are not as strict as is the case in other states. The state has a provision that allows prospective who are yet to attain a bachelor’s to sit for the CPA exam. Likewise, candidates can still sit for the CPA exam even before they graduate. However, one must be within 18 semester hours of graduating.
To sit for the CPA exam, prospective candidates must fulfill the following education requirements.
- Complete 120 semester hours
- Complete additional 30 units within three years of passing the CPA exam to get a CPA license
- Complete 30-semester units in accounting courses
- Complete 30-semester units in business courses
Required Credit Hours & Classes
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, candidates must prove at least 24 semester hours of accounting courses; this could include 12-semester hours of upper-level accounting courses and 18 semester hours of related courses such as:
- Advanced mathematics or college level algebra
- Business Administration
International students looking to sit for the CPA exam in Arizona must have their foreign academic credits evaluated by the Association of International Credential Evaluators. The accredited documents should be sent directly to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy ASBA.
Make sure the ASBA approves your education and it meets the Arizona CPA requirements before you apply to take the exam
Arizona CPA Exam Requirements
The CPA exam in Arizona are administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The CPA exam is split into four main sections:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Auditing and Attestation
- Business Environment and Concepts
The test items in each of the sections are either multiple-choice questions simulations or written communication.
In addition to the four sections, CPA candidates must also sit for the Ethics exam. While the test is created by AICPA as well, it is not as rigorous as CPA.
Any student that satisfies all the education requirements can sit for the CPA exam upon making an application and scheduling exams. Prospective candidates can only apply and pay for exam sections they intend to take within six months.
AZ CPA Exam Costs & Fees
The cost to take the CPA exam in Arizona is $743 plus an additional $100 application fee. Candidates that are re-siting exam sections must pay $50 plus the exam fees. The CPA exam fees are broadly split into:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD) $195.35
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) $176.25
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) $195.35
- Regulation (REG) $176.25
- Application Fee: $100
Note that these fees do not include any adaptive CPA study prep courses or other study materials for the CPA exam. These fees are simply the cost of taking the CPA exam in Arizona.
Arizona CPA License Requirements
Passing the CPA exam sets one on the right path to obtaining the Arizona CPA license necessary to work as a certified public accountant in the state. Some of the basic requirements for obtaining a CPA license in Arizona include:
- 150 semester hours of a bachelors
- 30 upper-level hours in accounting or 20 hours un accounting or a combination
Additional CPA license requirements include:
- Passing all 4 sections of the CPA exam with a score of 75 or higher
- Pay the $50 certification fee
- Prove the required 2000 hours of CPA experience verified by a certified CPA
- Complete the AICPA ethics course managed by ASCPA
- Submit all required paperwork
Achieving all the above set requirements increases the chances of one being certified and licensed as a certified public accountant by the Arizona State Board of Accountancy. The agency handles all the applications and provides all the educational material s and other important things as required by public accountants.
Work Experience Requirements
Upon passing all the four sections of the uniform CPA exam, prospects would be a few steps to obtaining the CPA license.
Every CPA candidate must fulfill the following work experience requirements before they are eligible for CPA licensure:
- The experience must be gotten through employment in a public or private entity
- The experience should be a minimum of 2000 hours of paid or volunteer
The experience must:
- Include the recording and summarizing of financial transactions
- Involve the analyzing and verification of financial information
- Involve examining, reviewing, and reporting of financial statements
- Revolve around reporting of financial results to an employer client or other parties
Arizona CPA License Application & Renewal
Once one becomes a licensed public accountant in Arizona, it is crucial to keep the license current by earning Continuing Professional Education each year. CPA license renewal is done every two-years and falls on the last business day of the applying candidate’s birth month.
As a certified public accountant in Arizona, a candidate must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education. Of the 80 hours, the following is required:
- At least 16 hours of live /interactive webinar
- At least 40 hours of accounting auditing taxation business law advisory services
- Four hours of Arizona specific ethics courses
Certified public accountants can earn as much as $73,450 in Arizona. The average hourly pay stands at about $3. The starting salary for new entrants is usually $41,000. Certified public accountants can work as auditors tasked with examining financial records for accuracy.
Likewise, one can work as an environmental accountant tasked with determining the environmental costs of doing business. Similarly, one can work as an investment accountant in asset management firms and brokerage firms or as a managerial accountant tasked with preparing private or public companies’ data.
Additional Arizona CPA Resources
Here are a few different resources you will need to learn how to take the CPA exam in Arizona and become a certified public accountant.