Haub School of Business

Department of Accounting

CPA Exam Information

 

CPA Exam Information 
 
The CPA Exam is prepared by the AICPA and administered all across the United States and its jurisdictions. Each U.S. state has its own board of accountancy that administers the licensing function. For instance, if you desire to work in New York, the New York Board of Accountancy will determine your requirements for licensure, issue your license to practice, and supply your CPA certificate. The requirements do vary state-by-state. Please be sure to check with your state's board of accountancy for its requirements to sit for the exam and to then become licensed after your pass the exam.

The following is tested on the CPA Exam:

1. Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

This section covers knowledge of auditing procedures generally accepted auditing standards and other standards related to attest engagements, ethics, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

2. Business Environment and Concept (BEC)

This section covers knowledge of general business environment and business concepts that candidates need to know in order to understand the underlying business reasons for and accounting implications of business transactions, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

3. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

This section covers knowledge of GAAP for business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental entities, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

4. Regulation (REG)

This section covers knowledge of federal taxation, ethics in tax practice, professional and legal responsibilities, and business law, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

 
Section Coverage

 

1.  Auditing and Attestation

  • Engagement Acceptance and Understanding the Assignment (12-16%)
  • Understanding the Entity and Its Environment (including Internal Controls) (16-20%)
  • Performing Audit Procedures and Evaluating Evidence (16-20%)
  • Evaluating Audit Findings, Communications, and Reporting (16-20%)
  • Accounting and Review Services Engagements (12-16%)
  • Professional Responsibilities (16-20%)

2. Business Environment and Concepts

  • Corporate Governance (16-20%)
  • Economic Concepts and Analysis (16-20%)
  • Financial Management
  • Information Systems and Communications (15-19%)
  • Strategic Planning (10-14%)
  • Operations Management (12-16%)
3. Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Conceptual Framework, Standards, Standard Setting, and Presentation of Financial Statements (17-23%)
  • Financial Statement Accounts: Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, Calculation, Presentation, and Disclosures (27-33%)
  • Specific Transactions, Events and Disclosures: Recognition, Measurement, Valuation, Calculation, Presentation, and Disclosures (27-33%)
  • Governmental Accounting and Reporting (8-12%)
  • Not-for-profit (Nongovernmental) Accounting and Reporting (8-12%)
4. Regulation
  • Ethics, Professional, and Legal Responsibilities (15-19%)
  • Business Law (17-21%)
  • Federal Tax Process, Procedures, Accounting and Planning (11-15%)
  • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions (12-16%)
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals (13-19%)
  • Federal Taxation of Entities (18-24%)

 *From the Kaplan CPA Review: Passing the CPA Exam, 5th Edition

CPA Exam FAQs

 

1. How do I register for the CPA exam?

1. Apply to your state board of accountancy

Create a profile on this site: https://cpacentral.nasba.org/

2. Complete Payment of Exam Fees

3. Obtain your Notice to Schedule (NTS)

This is your confirmation of eligibility to sit for the exam. 

4. Schedule your exam

5. Take your exam

For more information: NASBA Bulletin-2013

 

2. What types of questions are included on the Examination? (Per Kaplan CPA Review: Passing the CPA Exam, 5th Edition)

A.  Auditing and Attestation 
  • 3 Multiple-Choice Question Testlets-90 Questions Total
  • 1 Testlet containing 7 task-based simulations
  • Time Limit-4 Hours

B. Financial Accounting and Reporting 

  • 3 Multiple-Choice Question Testlets-90 Questions Total
  • 1 Testlet containing 7 task-based simulations
  • Time Limit-4 Hours

C. Regulation 

  • 3 Multiple-Choice Question Testlets-72 Questions Total
  • 1 Testlet containing 6 task-based simulations
  • Time Limit-3 Hours

D. Business Environment and Concepts 

  • 3 Multiple-Choice Question Testlets-72 Questions Total
  • 1 Testlet containing 3 written communication tasks
  • Time Limit-3 Hours

 

3. When is the CPA exam administered? 

The exam is offered 5 (and sometimes 6) days per week during:  

  • January and February
  • April and May
  • July and August
  • October and November

THERE IS NO TESTING IN: March, June, September, and December

 

4. When can I take the exam? Do I need 150 credit hours before I sit for the CPA exam?

No, you do not need 150 credit hours to sit for the exam. Students holding a bachelor's degree with at least 120 college credits may sit for the exam. 24 of these credits must be in accounting related topics.

 

5. What does the exam look like? Can I see a demonstration?

The CPA exam is administered by Prometric. The exam is taken at a Prometric testing facilities. A demonstration can be found at http://www.prometric.com/TestDrive/default.htm.

 

150 Hour Requirement

In Pennsylvania, to receive a CPA license under the 150-hour rule, students need (Per PICPA):

  • 120 credit hours to sit for the exam
    • Including 24 credit hours in accounting
  • Must obtain 150 credit hours of education to receive certificate
    • Including 36 credit hours in accounting subjects
  • One Year (1,600 hours) of work experience through employment in government, industry, academia, or public practice within 5 years of the date of certification application. Work experience includes:
    • Accounting
    • Attest
    • Compilation
    • Consulting
    • Financial Advisory
    • Tax

 

Options to Acquire the 150 Credits

 

  1. SJU Accounting curriculum currently requires 40 courses. Students could take ten additional 3-credit courses to bring you up to 150 credit hours.
  2. Take the ten additional 3 credit-courses at any certified community college.
  3. SJU currently offers a graduate option: the professional MBA program
  4. SJU currently offers a Master of Science in Financial Services

 

150 Credit Requirement FAQs

 

1. I don't plan on getting my CPA, do I need 150 hours?

150 hours is a licensure requirement only. Students who do not plan on becoming a CPA do not need 150 credit hours.

2. Do the additional courses need to be taken at SJU?

No, the eight additional courses do not need to be taken at SJU. The courses may be taken at any institution approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy.

3. What additional courses should I take?

It is recommended you take some of the additional courses in accounting related topics to help with the CPA Exam. While accounting related topics are recommended, no official requirement exists as to what subjects the classes must be in.

4. When can I take the additional ten classes?

The major public accounting firms are strongly advising that the additional classes are taken prior to beginning full employment. Possible time slots for courses include summer, intersession, as well as a sixth course during the fall and spring semesters.

5. I am currently registered for five classes, how do I add a sixth class?

Check with the registrar's office about the add/drop period for the current semester. To add a sixth class, you can complete the course overload form (found online at here or in the William F. Leahy Advising Center.) This form requires the approval of your faculty adviser and then the associate dean. This must be completed by the end of the drop/add period.

6. I took the same course at two different institutions; does each course count towards 150 hours?

No, repeat coursework does not go towards the 150 hour requirement. Credit will be given for only one class. Transcripts will be reviewed by the State Board of Accountancy in order to sit for the exam.

7. Do AP classes from high school count?

If college credit was given for the AP class, the class will count towards 150 hours.

 

Additional Resources