Florida requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not have a minimum age requirement for licensure or require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Florida. However, applicants must 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 Florida
Sitting for the CPA exam in Florida requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the board and have 120 hours of education, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.
The coursework includes:
- 24 semester (or 36 quarter) hours in upper-division accounting, including taxation, auditing, cost/managerial, financial and accounting information systems
- 24 semester (or 36 quarter) hours in upper-division general business, including 6 hours of business law that must cover torts, contracts and the Uniform Commercial Code. One lower-division course will be accepted in each of these subjects:
- intro to computers
- Candidates with degrees from non-accredited schools can qualify to sit for the exam by obtaining a graduate degree that includes:
- 9 hours in accounting
- 3 hours in graduate-level tax courses
Application and test fees
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the exam. However, the initial application is processed by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and the required 120 education hours.
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 exam is available the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $50 application fee directly to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a registration fee in addition to exam fees. Registration fees are $105 for four exams, $90 for three exams, $75 for two exams and $60 for one exam.
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 license in Florida
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam and completing the work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Florida. Applicants must submit the application to Florida along with a $50 application fee.
Work experience in Florida
One year of experience is required for licensure and can be gained through employment in public accounting, government, industry or academia.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Florida 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 National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s Qualification Appraisal. Florida does not recognize CPAs from the Virgin Islands. Florida does recognize individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure as long as they meet the requirements of the Florida Division of Certified Public Accounting.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Florida CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to Florida’s CPA requirements.
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- "Division of Certified Public Accounting," Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation