Nebraska requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. Candidates do not have to be a U.S. citizen but must reside in Nebraska. Applicants are also required to have a valid Social Security number. There is no minimum age requirement. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Nebraska
Sitting for the CPA exam in Nebraska requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.
Education requirements in Nebraska
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and have 150 hours of education. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s graduate accounting program is the only acceptable advanced degree. Other graduate applicants must have their credentials verified by the board. Applicants can sit for the exam when they are within 60 days of completing the educational requirements.
The coursework includes:
- 30 semester (45 quarter) hours in accounting above the introductory level, including:
- financial accounting theory
- cost/managerial accounting
- accounting information systems
- governmental/not-for-profit accounting
- 36 semester (54 quarter) hours in general business subjects, including:
- business law
- business communication
- business ethics
- quantitative applications in business
- principles of accounting
Application and test fees
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to NASBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree or higher 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 in six months, after which candidates must submit a new application. The examination is available in the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $160 application fee plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a registration fee and exam fees. Registration fees are $110 for four sections, $95 for three sections, $80 for two sections and $65 for one section.
The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Business Environment and Concepts
Each section of the exam has a specified administration fee. 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.
In addition to the state’s application fee, there are substantial administrative costs that must be paid in advance to the NASBA.
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 is valid for 18 months from the actual date the examination section was taken. Examination credits expire by section, and applicants will lose credit for each section passed outside of the 18-month period.
Step 2: CPA certificate and license in Nebraska
Nebraska is a two-tier state that provides a certificate first and then CPA licensing after work experience is completed. After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, the ethics exam, and obtaining 150 hours of education, applicants may then apply for a public accounting certificate in Nebraska by submitting an application, which has no fee. Individuals with a certificate cannot claim to perform certified or public accountancy.
Once individuals complete the experience requirement, they can apply for licensure, which gives them full practicing rights. Applicants should submit a licensure application to Nebraska along with an application fee of $200.
In addition to passing the CPA exam, applicants must take the AICPA Ethics Examination. Official verification, mailed directly from the AICPA, showing that the applicant passed the exam with a score of 90 or higher is required.
The work experience required for full licensing can be obtained in the following methods:
- 2 years of public accounting work experience
- 3 years of auditing experience in the Department of Revenue or in the Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts
- 3½ years gained through employment by the federal government as a special agent or an IRS agent
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Nebraska allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as the issuing state has been verified to be substantially equivalent to the NASBA’s Qualification Appraisal. Nebraska recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of the Nebraska’s State Board of Public Accountancy, are approved by the board and pay a fee of $50.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Nebraska 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 the Nebraska’s CPA requirements.
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