Iowa CPA Requirements

How To Become a CPA in Iowa: Step By Step Guide

iowa-cpa-exam-requirementsLearn How to Become a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In Iowa

Iowa is a hub for manufacturing, farming, and food processing industries. Each of these industries depend on CPAs for guidance, advisory services, and tax compliance.

Accountants familiar with the tax structure and financing demands of big agriculture and large industrial practices do well in the Hawkeye state. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to become a CPA in Iowa.

Iowa has several unique qualifications that CPA candidates must before they can obtain a license. Let’s look at the IA CPA requirements and what you will need to do to take the CPA exam and become a CPA in Iowa.


Basic Requirements For CPA Certification in Iowa

CPA candidates must first meet these CPA requirements in order to take the CPA exam and become a licensed certified public accountant in Iowa:

  • Have a social security number
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or within 120 days of graduation
  • Show proof of 1-year work experience as an accountant
  • US Citizenship: not required
  • Iowa Residency: not required
  • Minimum Age: not required

Unlike other states, Iowa does not have any age requirement to take the CPA exam. Likewise, candidates do not need to be U.S citizens, or Iowa residents.


Iowa CPA Certification Education Requirements

Becoming a certified public accountant in the Hawkeye State requires candidates to meet specific academic requirements. The state requires candidates to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, but they do not require you to complete an accounting degree specifically.

Iowa offers four different college pathways to complete the required accounting and business coursework:

Graduate Degree in Accounting

  • 24 credit hours in Accounting

Graduate Degree in Business

  • 24 credit hours in Accounting

Undergraduate Degree in Accounting or Business

  • 24 credit hours in Accounting

Undergraduate Degree with Non-Accounting or Business Major

  • 24-semester hours in upper-level business courses including finance, management, marketing, economics, and business law

All four academic pathways require a minimum of:

  • 150-semester credit hours
  • 24-semester hours in upper-level accounting courses including at least one course in each of financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting

All candidates that meet the basic education requirements must have their official education transcripts sent to NASBA. It’s important to have the State Board review you academic coursework to make sure it meets the Iowa CPA requirements before you apply to take the CPA exam.

Iowa does accept approved college level CPA exam classes to count toward your education requirement as long as they are through an accredited university. Many colleges offer some type of CPA class to prepare you for the exam. This is a good double benefit for students. You get a few extra college credits and get ready to sit for the exam. It’s a win, win!


Iowa CPA Exam Requirements

Since Iowa has no minimum age, US citizenship, or Iowa residency requirements, once you complete the educational qualifications you will be eligible to sit for the uniform CPA exam.

The application process is simple. You will need to fill out the application forms with the Iowa State Board and send in the following:

  • Valid Government Issued ID
  • Social Security Number
  • College Transcripts

One thing to note is that your transcripts must be original and sealed. If they are opened or tampered with in any way, the Board will not accept them. You also need to send them your complete transcripts. This means if you transferred schools several times, you will need to send in transcripts for each college you attended.

After your education is approved, the Board will approve your application and allow you to get a NTS from NASBA to schedule your first exam.

IA CPA Exam Costs & Fees

The cost to take all four CPA sections is $743. Likewise, candidates are required to pay an additional $145 application fee. The re-examination fees vary and depend on the number of sections one is taking

  • 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: $145

It’s important to only apply for the CPA exam sections that you want to sit for in the next six months. Otherwise, your NTS will expire and you will be required to pay additional fees to re-apply.


Iowa CPA License Requirements

Completing your college education and passing the CPA exam is only the first part of become a licensed CPA in Iowa. There are two more steps to complete before you will be fully licensed. Here are the full Iowa CPA license requires that you must meet:

  • Complete a minimum of an Undergraduate Degree including 150- semester hours
  • Pass all the Four CPA Exam Sections
  • Pass the CPA Ethics exam
  • Complete 12 months or 2,000 hours of qualified accounting experience

All applications with all the required documents should be sent to the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board. With the application, CPA candidates must also enclose an application fee of $100 and $100 for those applying for attest privileges.

Candidates who are already certified public accountants in other states can receive Iowa CPA license via state reciprocity.

AICPA Ethics Exam

In addition to passing the uniform CPA exam, CPA candidates must also pass the AICPA Ethics exam. The exam is pretty straightforward because it is open book, but you can only take it online three times. If you fail three times, you will need to take it in person at an approved testing center.

CPA candidates must score more than 90% for a pass.

Work Experience Requirements

Upon passing the uniform CPA exam and the Ethics exam, CPA candidates are required to complete sufficient work experience to be considered for a CPA license in Iowa. The work experience must be obtained in the practice of public or private accountancy. Likewise, accountancy in academia government agency does count.

The Work Experience must be

  • A minimum of 12 months
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours or practical accounting experience
  • Supervised and verified by a licensed CPA

Some of the competencies that must be practiced as part of the work experience program include:

  • Compilation and review of financial statements
  • Taxation budgeting cost analysis
  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Projection and forecasts of standards

Iowa CPA License Application & Renewal

Licensed CPAs are required to renew their license each year. The renewal process is easily done with an online form. You will also need to submit a licensing fee and proof of your CPE credits.

CPA license holders are required to stay on top of their profession and incorporate changes that take place. That’s why Iowa requires CPA holders to obtain at least 120 hours of Continued Professional Education every three years following the initial license.

The $120 hours of study must include areas of Ethics and accountancy as well as professional conduct. Eight of the 120-hours must also cover accounting and auditing.

Iowa CPA Salary

The average Iowa CPA salary is $70,000 according to the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau. However, this salary varies depending on the geography, work experience, and position of the Certified Public Accountants.

Licensed and certified public accountants can work in diverse fields in the state. CPA holders intrigued by detective work can leverage their accounting skills as forensic accountants, while those eyeing managerial roles can pursue managerial accounting opportunities.

Tax accounting has to be one of the best career paths for holders as there will always be people or businesses looking to keep their tax returns in check.


Additional Iowa CPA Resources

Here’s a list of several resources for you to learn how to take the CPA exam in Iowa and become a certified public accountant.

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