Maine requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. There is no minimum age requirement, and applicants do not have to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Maine. 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 Maine
Sitting for the CPA exam in Maine requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, and have 120 hours of credit, which includes coursework in accounting and related courses.
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university that is recognized by the board and have 120 credit hours. Applicants can sit for the exam when they are within 120 days of satisfying the educational requirements.
The coursework includes:
- 15 semester hours in one or more of the following:
- financial accounting and reporting for business organizations
- financial accounting and reporting for government and not-for-profit entities
- 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 relevant to the practice of public accounting
- 3 semester hours in auditing and attestation services
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 exam is available the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $145 application fee plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are also required to pay a registration fee in addition to exam fees. Registration fees are $110 for four sections, $95 for three sections, $80 for two sections and $65 for one section.
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 Maine
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Maine. Applicants must submit a licensure application to Maine along with a $50 application fee, a $75 license fee and a $21 background check fee.
Licensing requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and complete 150 semester hours of education, which include the coursework required to sit for the CPA exam.
Two years of public accounting experience is required for licensing, which must include the use of accounting or auditing skills, including the issuance of reports on financial statement and at least one of the following:
- the provision of management advisory services
- financial advisory services or consulting services
- the preparation of tax returns
- the furnishing of advice on tax matters
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Maine 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. Maine also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of Maine’s State Board of Public Accountancy and submit a Reciprocal Permit to Practice form.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Maine 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 Maine’s CPA requirements.
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