The requirements for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in Kansas are rigorous, but certainly achievable for those committed to a career in the field. Educational program requirements are strict, and on top of passing the Uniform CPA Examination, CPA practitioners in KS must meet the practical experience needs in an office, residency, in a public practice, or on the job with one of various firms.
Kansas’ educational requirements for pursuing a CPA include obtaining a BS degree or higher from an institution of higher learning approved by the Kansas State Board of Accounting (KSBOA). You may want to start by obtaining an associate in accounting, to give you more time to gain work experience with a firm and help you answer any questions you have about the profession, but students will need to continue to study and gain a bachelor's degree to have enough credit hours to become a CPA. If you plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in accounting and later practice in Kansas, make sure the college or university you attend is approved by the Kansas Board of Accountancy.
A student must complete a minimum of 150 semester hours with a focus on accounting. At least 42 of those semester hours must include general education courses and some in business, with content to help you learn skills based on CPA requirements, which include:
- Upper level economics course
- Two courses relating to business law and legal studies
- Algebra or higher-level mathematics
- Management and business administration
- Statistics and probability theory
- Computer systems, technology, applications, and security
- Production or operations research
In addition, students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in accounting theory and practice, including:
- Intermediate or graduate level accounting
- Managerial accounting – not an introductory course
- United State income tax course
- Accounting information systems – not an introductory course
Candidates must also complete a minimum of 11 semester hours in communication courses, which include English composition, business communications, and speech. Other liberal arts courses such as poetry, theater, literature and foreign languages do not count toward exam requirements.
You'll find that the necessary coursework is quite specific, and while the KSBOA may waive up to six hours total consisting of three hours of course requirements in each of the three categories, the Board make it clear that a waiver “is an exception, not the rule,” and anyone seeking a waiver must present a very good reason or accept the terms of educational requirement and other info as written.
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Degree Requirements for Accountants in Kansas
A two-year associate degree in accounting will help launch your career with an entry-level position as a bookkeeper or an auditing clerk. Learn More
A four-year bachelor's degree in accounting is a great way to kick off a career. The state Board of Accountancy requires 150 credit hours of undergraduate work, including at least a bachelor’s degree, to sit for the CPA exam. Learn More
A Master of Science in Accounting or an MBA with an accounting concentration will take your career to the next level. Learn More
Doctorate or PhD
Though many firms would be pleased to have a doctoral-level accountant on staff, this degree is primarily for those who wish to pursue a career in academia. Learn More
Online Degree Programs
An online accounting degree is a fantastic way to pursue your education while maintaining your obligations at work and home. Once you decide to explore the online degree option, you can choose from programs nationwide. Learn More
How to Sit for the CPA Exam in Kansas
Once you successfully complete the education requirements, you may sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) provide an online application for CPA Exam Services. After completing the application, you must read and acknowledge the Kansas Board of Accountancy’s cheating policy form, and send it along with a 2” x 2” recent photograph of yourself to:
CPA Examination Services – Kansas Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469
Have your schools send their official transcripts to this address. Currently, the registration fee for the exam is $145, and the exam fee is either $185.10 or $207.15, depending on which components you are taking. You may pay online with a credit card, or pay via credit card, check, or money order if sending a paper application. Checks and money orders are made payable to CPA Examination Services.
Your application requires approval. You can expect this process to take between four to six weeks. Once approved, you will receive the Notice to Schedule (NTS) by the method you previously indicated, whether email, fax, or regular mail. If you don’t receive the NTS within four weeks of your application approval, contact CPA Examination Services. You can schedule your exam online through the Kansas contractor, Prometric, to be taken at any available testing site in the state, which are available in Overland Park, Wichita, and Topeka, KS, and others.
The four sections of the exam
There are four components of the Uniform CPA Exam: Financial Accounting and Reporting, Business Environment and Concepts, Regulation, and Auditing and Attestation. While you can take the exam sections at different times, you must gain a passing score on all of them within an 18-month period. Each section sits for four hours, for a total of 16 test hours. It is permissible, though perhaps impossible, to take all four sections at one sitting.
Kansas examination windows
In Kansas, the Uniform CPA Exam is offered every quarter, a period known as a window. The exam is offered at least twice during every window, but you cannot sit for the same section of the exam more than once during each window. You are permitted to sit for the various exam section four times yearly.
Under some circumstances, you may be free to sit for the exam up to 60 days prior to completion of all education requirements.
The Kansas CPA examination is offered in three cities: Overland Park, Wichita, and Topeka. You can also take the examination in other US jurisdictions and identify yourself as a Kansas candidate. If you take the exam in Guam, extra fees are involved.
The results of the examination are sent to you directly by NASBA. Using your date of birth and section identification number, you can access your results online. Scores are also sent to the KSBOA, which will also notify you.
A two-tier state
Kansas is a two-tier state when it comes to practicing as a CPA. The first tier involves around passing the exam. Once you have done that, you receive a certificate allowing you to use “CPA” in your credentialing, but that certificate is not a practice license. There is a $25 fee for the certificate. An oath is taken by all certificate holders, and you must sign it. Before you can obtain a license, you must acquire experience.
The experience tier requires 2,000 hours of performance services which act as CPA review and proof that you can do the work involved; this time is completed over one to three years. You may work in private practice, company, government, academia, or industry to obtain the necessary experience. In Kansas, your work does not require direct supervision by a CPA as it true in some jurisdictions, but you must have your performance verified by a CPA with a current license to practice. Kansas considers attest and non-attest services separately. If you plan to offer attest services, such as financial statement review, prospective financial information examination or audits, you must acquire 375 hours of attest performing experience. These 375 hours are part of the 2,000-hour requirement, not additional hours.
Once you have completed your 2,000 hours of experience, fill out the Certificate of Experience and present it to the CPA doing your verification. You must include this form when filling out your licensing application.
Licensure requirements in Kansas
Those who successfully pass the CPA exam and AICPA professional ethics course and complete the qualified experience may apply for their license, or permit, as it is referred to in Kansas. You can download the permit application from the KSBOA website and send it to the KSBOA along with your certificate of experience. Your fee depends on the year and your certificate number. If the latter is odd and the year you are applying is odd, you will pay $150. If the certificate number is odd but the year you are applying is even – or vice-versa- you will pay $75.
Continuing Education Requirements for Kansas
Permit renewal is required every two years, with expiration date of July 1. Those with odd-numbered permits must renew theirs in odd-numbered years, and the same holds true for even-numbered permits in even-numbered years. When a CPA receives his or her initial permit, they are given a number of continuing education hours they must complete before their first renewal.
Renewal requires 80 hours of Continued Professional Education (CPE) within those two years, which includes two hours of CPA ethics. Those ethics hours must consist of courses on professional standards; SEC oversight; competence; licenses and renewals; independence; confidential client information; acts discreditable; advertising and solicitation; integrity and objectivity; commissions; contingent fees; conflicts of interest; malpractice; record retention; full disclosure; professional conduct; risk management and corporate ethics.
If you earn a maximum of 20 CPE hours beyond the 80 hours required for the renewal, you may carry them over toward your next CPE hours requirement. The additional hours do not count toward fulfillment of the ethics component.
Special Kansas CPA considerations
If you are a licensed CPA in another state, and those requirements are basically equivalent to those of Kansas, but you don’t have a primary place of business in Kansas, you may become a permit holder. If you want to practice public accounting in Kansas, but your license is from another state, you must pay a $250 licensing fee and ask your state’s licensing board to give your information via the Authorization for Exchange of Licensure Information.
Those with an equivalent degree in accounting from Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Hong Kong may take the International Qualification Examination (IQEX) and then apply for a Kansas certificate and permit. For those with accounting degrees from any other countries, fulfillment of the Kansas education, examination and experience qualifications is necessary.
Accountant Career Salaries in Kansas by Occupation
Popular Concentrations and Careers
This is an increasingly valued concentration. Managerial accounting involves performing in-house audits that isolate specific areas of the business that may need improvement. These audits are not for taxation purposes but are seen as a way for firms to fine-tune their operations for maximum efficiency. Learn More
This concentration blends the methods and practice of accounting with legal concerns. It trains accountants to work with attorneys and/or law enforcement. Forensic accountants might seek to prosecute organized criminals or corporate embezzlers. They can also work with divorce attorneys to track down hidden marital assets for their client. Learn More
Non-Profit or Governmental Accounting
This specialty is often overlooked, but government agencies need accountants to audit their books so that they remain in compliance with laws. Non-profits also need to account for their finances in order to maintain their non-profit tax status. Under current rules, students who work for non-profits or government agencies can defer their student loans. Learn More
Finance is a terrific concentration area for accounting students. This focus will help students land a position with an investment bank or could help them launch a career as a financial advisor. In fact, this might be the perfect focus area for a mid-career MBA.
Accountant in Kansas are making a very good living. In 2014, for example, accountants with more than five years worth of experience were earning $100,400/year. While once thought of as a primarily agricultural state, Kansas is now the leader in aviation, and is home to both Cessna and Spirit Aerosystems. This thriving business environment bodes well for salaries. In 2015, entry-level accountants in Kansas City were earning between $43,893 and $53,593 per year. Forensics specialists are doing even better, earning between $69,355 and $108,155. With a CPA license and years of hard work, you can potentially earn between $282,513 and $451,778 as a CFO.
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Kansas Accounting Frequently Asked Questions
How much do accountants make in Kansas?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for accountants and auditors is $68,000 per year. This is just under the national average salary, which the BLS reports is $71,000. By comparison, Kansas bookkeepers, accounting, and auditing clerks earn an average salary of $36,000. The national average wage for that employment sector is $41,000.
What are the educational requirements to sit for the CPA examination in Kansas?
To sit for the CPA examination in Kansas, applicants must have completed 150 hours of undergraduate credits culminating in at least a bachelor’s degree. At least 30 of those hours must have been spent studying accounting theory and practice beyond introductory level classes. Licensure candidates must also complete one full year of accounting experience under a licensed professional CPA.
How many accounting jobs are there in Kansas?
Kansas currently employs more than 12,000 accountants and auditors. The vast majority of those professionals work in the Kansas City area with smaller pockets in Wichita and Topeka. The bulk of the state only employs 2,600 accountants and auditors. Nationally, the profession is slated to continue to grow by 4% through 2029.
Can I get an online accounting degree in Kansas?
Yes, Kansas students can complete an online degree in accounting. Though the state college and university system doesn't currently offer much in the way of online accounting degrees, that is likely to change soon. In the meantime, students in the most remote corners of Kansas can earn an online accounting degree from numerous institutions nationwide. If you are intending to sit for the CPA exam, you’ll want to make sure the program is accredited by either the AACSB or the ACBSP.