Missouri requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree and be 21 years of age. Applicants are not required to be a U.S. citizen but must be a resident of Missouri. Applicants must also 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 Missouri
Sitting for the CPA exam in Missouri requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which includes coursework in accounting and general business courses.
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and have obtained 150 hours of credit. An advanced degree qualifies in lieu of a bachelor’s degree if the proper coursework is satisfied. Applicants can sit for the exam when they are within 60 days of meeting the educational requirement.
The coursework includes:
- 33 semester hours in accounting, which includes:
- 1 course in auditing
- 18 semester hours of upper-division accounting courses (accounting law and business law are not acceptable regardless of the department in which they were offered.)
- 27 semester hours in general business courses
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 and 150 hours of course work.
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 $132 application fee plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a registration fee and exam fees. Registration fees are $124 for four sections, $108 for three sections, $92 for two sections and $71 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 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 Missouri
After successfully passing all four sections of the CPA exam, the ethics exam and obtaining the required work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Missouri. Applicants must submit a licensure application to Missouri along with a $190 fee.
If it has been more than five years since an applicant passed the CPA exam, he or she is also required to complete 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE), including two hours in professional ethics before obtaining a license.
Work experience in Missouri
Missouri requires one year of accounting experience for licensing, which can be obtained in industry, government, academia or public practice. To sign reports or supervise attest services, individuals need an additional year of experience supervising attest services.
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.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Missouri allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as long as the issuing state has been verified to be substantially equivalent to the NASBA’s Qualification Appraisal. Missouri also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, as long as they meet the requirements of Missouri’s Board of Accountancy.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Missouri 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 Missouri’s CPA requirements.
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