Certified public accountants enjoy the prestige afforded by being members of an elite professional group. Obtaining your Delaware CPA licensure also might help you to stand out to potential business employers that respect people who are able to obtain the CPA license as compared to other accountants. There is also a demand for CPAs, allowing you to enjoy good job security.
Becoming a certified public accountant in Delaware state will require you to complete five main steps. You will first need to complete the required education and take the required exam. Before you will be able to obtain your license, you will first need to satisfy the state's policy of work experience requirements as an accountant. Then, you will need to complete the CPA requirements for licensure in order to secure it. After you have obtained your license from the Delaware State Board of Accountancy to practice as a certified public accountant, you will need to complete your ongoing continuing education units to maintain your licensure.
Delaware's education requirements to become a CPA
The state of Delaware's first requirement forces people to complete a minimum of 150 semester hours of college that includes a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or higher before they can gain licensure as a CPA. Your studies should include a concentration or major in accounting or an equivalent field of study as determined by the Delaware State Board of Accountancy. If you haven't yet enrolled, ask for info from colleges and universities in Delaware that offer degree programs in accounting.
If you are already attending college, you should verify that the program in which you are enrolled is one that is accredited by one of the accrediting bodies that are approved by the state Board. To become a certified accountant, you may want to start with getting a two year diploma with an associate in accounting emphasis. Students find that this can give you access to a job in accounting with a firm or office. You won't move into management, but it will give you experience in accounting service and be a learning experience while giving you additional funds to continue to a bachelor's degree. Delaware requires accounting programs to be accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. However, if you are taking online classes from an out-of-state school, it should be accredited by one of the following:
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
If the program that you are currently attending is not accredited by one of these bodies, you should contact the Board to have your program evaluated so that you can determine your eligibility to sit for Delaware's Uniform CPA Examination. The state board may have a list of acceptable programs on their website.
You will next need to make certain that you sign up for the right courses. Your studies must include a minimum of 24 credit hours of accounting classes that includes content in auditing, financial accounting, reporting, and federal tax courses. Online classes that are taken through a college or university in the U.S. that is regionally accredited are accepted, but CLEP examinations, correspondence classes, and commercial CPA review classes are not.
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Degree Requirements for Accountants in Delaware
Accounting associate degrees provide individuals with opportunities in various entry-level positions, such as accounting assistants, payroll clerks, and bookkeepers. Many individuals will continue their education with a bachelor’s while they work, after earning an associate degree.
The minimum to sit for CPA certification is a bachelor’s degree and certification. Many accounting programs today allow students to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five or fewer years.
Master’s degrees in accounting are essential for managerial and executive positions, such as controllers and CFOs. You could also choose to complete a dual degree during undergrad to finish both degrees at the same time more quickly.
Doctorate or PhD
Those with a PhD or doctorate degree in accounting will often be the most ideal candidate for any executive accounting position, as well as it being required to become a professor or researcher in accounting.
Online Degree Programs
Delaware colleges and universities are beginning to offer online accounting degrees at a higher rate so that students can more easily access these prestigious programs for a better future.
Before you will be allowed to take the DE Uniform CPA Examination, you will first need to have completed your bachelor's degree with a minimum of 120 semester hours, including the 24 hours of required accounting coursework.
Once you have completed the required minimum education, you can apply to take the exam through the CPA examination services division of the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy.
After you have downloaded the application and registered with CPAES, you will need to make certain that you gather the required documents that must be submitted along with every candidate's application. Your undergraduate or graduate school must mail your transcripts to CPAES directly rather than giving them to you to submit. You will also need to submit an attestation form that is notarized and that you have signed. If you require accommodations because of a disability, you will need to submit an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation form with your other documents. If you submit your application online, you will need to pay for each required fee with your credit card. If you instead choose to submit a paper application, you can pay for the fees with your credit card by filling out a form, or you can send a money order or check for the full amount with your application and other documents. If you still have questions, you can contact the state board by email.
Once your payment and application have been received, you will be sent a notice to schedule by the NASBA. Your notice to schedule your exam will provide you with a password that you will use to access the four exam sections and will tell you the dates on which you are able to take each part. You will then need to schedule to take the Uniform CPA Exam at a building registered as one of the participating testing centers in Delaware.
Make sure to be on site at the testing center when your scheduled testing date arrives. When you have completed your exam, it will be scored and CPAES will submit your scores to the Delaware Board of Accountancy. You will then receive your scores via mail from the Board to find out if you pass and what your score was.
Experience needed to gain licensure in Delaware
Delaware has some practical experience requirements before you will be able to apply for licensure in the state. Before you begin the process of working on your experience component, you will first need to take and finish the regulation ethics course through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the ethics course is a self-study class. However, the course isn't free, it costs around $190 in total. When you finish it, you will be given a certificate that you will need to print. You will then mail the report out and with your application for your permit and to practice to the Delaware Board of Accountancy.
You will need to finish a minimum of a one year period of full-time work as an accountant while you are under the supervision of a CPA before you will be eligible for your license. You must earn your practical experience by working in private industry, for the government, in academia, or in public practice. The CPA who supervises you must verify your work by completing your affidavit of supervised work experience form. Countable supervised experience must have been earned in the past 10 years, and your supervising CPA must have a valid license. Required experience includes auditing, taxation, dealing with accounting law, understanding terms, working in an advisory capacity, accounting technology, and more.
After you have completed your educational requirements, your Uniform CPA Exam, and your practical experience, you will be ready to obtain your licensure. In Delaware, all CPAs must first obtain a certificate and then a permit to practice.
If you have a license from another state or an international certificate, you will need to prove that you have met the requirements of Delaware before you can get your license in the state. You will also need to submit the following to the Delaware Board of Accountancy:
- A statement from your current state's accountancy board that you are not currently the subject of a disciplinary proceeding;
- A sworn declaration that you have not engaged in any activities that would subject you to disciplinary action; and
- Your active CPA license that is in good standing.
In addition, you will need to have at least five years of experience working as a certified public accountant. You may also be able to gain licensure with fewer than five years of experience if you can prove that you met all of Delaware's requirements at the time your license was issued or that you meet Delaware's current requirements for licensure in the state.
Continuing education requirements for CPAs in Delaware and in general
All states and U.S. territories require that CPAs complete a certain number of continuing education units in order to maintain their licenses. In Delaware, you must complete a specified number of continuing education units biannually. The courses that you complete must be programs that have been approved by the NASBA and must directly contribute to your competence as a CPA.
In Delaware, you are required to complete at least 80 continuing education units every two years. The hours that you complete must include the following types of continuing education classes:
- At least eight hours in auditing or accounting
- At least eight hours in taxation
- At least four hours in professional ethics that are specific to Delaware
- At least 20 more hours in audit, accounting or taxation
Every CPE class that you complete must be taught by a qualified instructor and must be a minimum of 50 minutes long. Internet seminars or webinars will only count if you are able to engage in live interaction and if they provide you with a certificate upon their completion. If you opt to take individual study or correspondence courses, the Board of Accountancy will determine how much credit will be allocated for your completion of them. If you publish articles or books, you can count them for up to 50 minutes each for a maximum of 20 CPE hours of your biannual requirements.
You are required to keep proof of your required CPE hours for five years. Your documentation must include information about the location, time, date, name of the course, name of the instructor, number of hours and the manner of instruction.
Being a CPA can be a rewarding career choice. Once you are licensed as a CPA in the state, you might want to join professional accounting associations. You are also able to specialize in a variety of areas of accounting. Specializing in a subdiscipline may help you to focus your practice on a specific clientele and practice type.
Accountant Career Concentrations & Salaries in Delaware
Fund accounting is primarily based out of investment companies of various sorts, including hedge funds and investment funds. Individuals will work tracking interest and yields, financial reports, and financial transactions. These professionals will work with all individuals involved in the fund and focus on accountability rather than profitability.
A cost accountant centers their work around the specific costs related to providing a product or service. Professional cost accountants will meticulously review the supply chain expenses. Budget preparation, profitability analysis, month-end reporting, inventory management, and more will be a part of the cost accountancy role.
Fiduciary Tax Accountant
A fiduciary tax accountant often prepares income tax returns for dedicated trusts in the case where a bank or alternative legal entity is the trustee. These professionals require specialized accounting training to be able to practice as such an accountant. A bachelor’s degree and one year of work experience is often the minimum requirement to secure such a position.
Hospital accountants are responsible for the numerous financial transactions within a hospital setting in addition to financial reports, financial papers, and budget preparation. These individuals will also be responsible for the accuracy and timely completion of financial statements each month.
Delaware has fewer accountants than almost any other state, but their services are as crucial there as they are anywhere else. In fact, the annual mean wage for all accountants in Delaware is higher than the national mean wage. However, location has a large impact on compensation. The best-paid accountants are concentrated in Wilmington, while those in other locations like Salisbury or Dover are paid significantly less. The good news is that any accountant earning above the 50th percentile can expect to earn more than most other accountants, and potentially more than most other professionals.
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Delaware Accounting Frequently Asked Questions
What types of accounting positions are available in Delaware?
Delaware hosts some highly prominent accounting, financial management, banking, and other corporations including JP Morgan Chase, BlackRock, Inc., and INGDirect Bank. Accounting professionals may also work for non-profit organizations, global insurance agencies, and government agencies including the Nemours Children’s Hospital, AIG, Delaware Army National Guard, and New Castle County Finance.
What is the earning potential for a mid-career accounting position in Delaware?
The average mid-career salary as an accounting manager in Dover, Delaware is $56,500, according to PayScale. Though salaries will vary greatly depending on various aspects including the employer size, location of the business, degrees and certifications, and much more.
Are any specific licenses or certifications required by the state of Delaware?
You can secure accounting positions in Delaware with as little as an associate degree. However, it is recommended that individuals continue their education to complete at least a bachelor’s degree to secure better pay. And a CPA license is encouraged at some point if you want to move into the highest positions and pay brackets.
Do any Delaware colleges or universities offer online accounting degrees?
Very few higher learning institutions offer online accounting degrees in full. Those that do include Delaware State University and Wilmington University. However, several Delaware colleges and universities offer online accounting courses under various degrees, such as public administration and MBA programs.