Arkansas requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or that they be a resident of Arkansas. There is no age minimum to sit for the exam. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Arkansas
Sitting for the CPA exam in Arkansas requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses. Applicants do not have to have 150 hours of education to sit for the exam. In addition to submitting transcripts, applicants must also submit a color image of a government ID, which can be a state-issued driver’s license, a state-issued identification card or a current U.S. or foreign passport.
Education requirements in Arkansas
Exam applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree or higher from a four-year, degree-granting college or university that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the board.
The coursework includes:
- at least 30 upper-level or 20 graduate hours in accounting (or a combination) above the principles level.
- The accounting component must include coverage of financial accounting, management accounting, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, federal taxation, auditing and attestation and accounting information systems.
- 30 hours of undergraduate courses in business, other than accounting, or 20 hours of graduate business courses other than accounting (or a combination).
Application and test fees in Arkansas
The Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to ASBPA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.
The process to apply for the CPA exam starts with requesting and receiving authorization to take the test, followed by acknowledgement from the state and official notice to schedule (NTS) the exam. Once this process is completed, applicants can select a date to take the CPA exam. The NTS expires after six months, after which candidates must submit a new application. The exam is given the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit an initial fee of $50, a $120 application fee and an examination fee for each section of the exam that they are taking.
The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Business Environment and Concepts
Applicants may take one or more of the four required sections at a time. In addition to the administration fee for each section, CPA exam applicants are charged a separate fee for each testing session they take.
Taking, passing and retaking the CPA exam
The passing score for each of the four exam sections is 75. Applicants may take the sections individually and in any order, but are required to pass all four within a rolling 18-month period, which begins on the date the first examination section passed was taken.
Credit for any section passed shall be valid for 18 months from the actual date the examination sections were taken. Examination credit expires by section, and applicants will lose credit for each section passed outside the 18-month period.
Step 2: CPA license in Arkansas
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Arkansas. Two to four weeks after passing scores are posted, a licensing specialist from the state will automatically send applicants a “Final Success” letter and a license application.
Applicants must submit the licensure application to Arkansas along with a $110 registration fee. The state board meets six times per year (January, April, June, August, September and November) to review and approve applications.
Educational requirements in Arkansas
- 150 hours for licensure
- An additional 30 hours within three years of passing the last section of the exam
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Arkansas allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as they have four years of experience. Arkansas also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided that they meet the requirements of Arkansas’ State Board of Public Accountancy. Foreign accountants must also undergo a federal and state background check.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Arkansas CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Public Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to Arkansas’ CPA requirements.
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