Delaware requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants be 18 years old and hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Delaware. However, applicants are required to have a valid Social Security number. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Delaware
Sitting for the CPA exam in Delaware requires that candidates posses a bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework in accounting. Applicants can sit for the exam when they have completed 120 hours of education.
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university.
The coursework includes:
- 24 semester hours in accounting, including coverage of each of the following subjects:
- financial 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 12 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 application fee of $150 plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a $75 registration fee per section plus exam fees.
In addition to the state’s application fee, there are substantial administrative costs that must be paid in advance to the NASBA.
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.
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 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 Delaware
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply for a public accounting certificate in Delaware by submitting an application and a $115 fee. Individuals with a certificate cannot claim to perform certified or public accountancy and must include the words “not in public practice” on all documents.
Once individuals complete the experience requirement, they can apply for licensure, which gives them full practicing rights. Applicants should submit a licensure application to Delaware along with a $131 application and licensing fee.
Individuals who have completed the experience requirement can also submit a dual certificate and licensing application for a cost of $175.
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.
Education in Delaware
Delaware requires CPA license applicants to have completed 150 hours of education and hold a bachelor’s degree. Of the 150 hours, 24 semester hours must be in accounting courses covering some or all of the following:
- financial accounting and reporting for government and not-for-profit entities
- financial accounting and reporting for business organizations
- auditing and attestation services
- managerial or cost accounting
- fraud examination
- internal controls and risk assessment
- financial statement analysis
- accounting research and analysis
- tax research and analysis
- accounting information systems
- ethics business law
Those applying for a license more than four years after obtaining a certificate are also required to obtain 80 hours of continuing professional education.
Work experience in Delaware
Work experience is not required for a CPA certificate, but is required for full licensing. The experience must be obtained after applicants obtain their degree and must be earned under the supervision of a licensed certified public accountant. Experience must include one year of accounting experience as an employee of a firm engaged in public accountancy or as an accountant in government, industry, academia or public practice.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Delaware 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. Applicants must also pass the ethics exam. Delaware also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of Delaware State Board of Public Accountancy.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Delaware 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 Delaware’s CPA requirements.
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