The requirements for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in Kansas are rigorous, but certainly achievable for those committed to a career in the field. Educational requirements are strict, and besides passing the Uniform CPA Examination, CPA candidates must meet the practical experience needs.
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 will want to start with obtaining an Associate’s in Accounting, but you will need to get a bachelor's degree 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 KSBOA.
An applicant must complete a minimum of 150 semester hours with a focus on accounting. At least 42 of those semester hours must include general education and business courses, including:
- Upper level economics course
- Two courses relating to business lawNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Algebra or higher-level mathematics
- Management and administration
- Statistics and probability theory
- Computer systems and applications
- Production or operations research
In addition, candidates must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in accounting theory and practice, including:
- Intermediate or advanced 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 this requirement.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.
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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’s (NASBA) offers 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. 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.
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 pass all of them within an 18-month period. Each section sits for four hours, for a total of 16 test hours. It is permissible 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 a candidate cannot sit for the same section of the exam more than once during each window. Candidates are permitted to sit for the various exam section four times yearly.
Under some circumstances, you may sit for the exam up to 60 days prior to completion of all education requirements.
The Kansas CPA examination is offered in five cities: Hays, Overland Park, Pittsburg, Wichita and Topeka. You can also take the examination in other U.S. 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, completed over one to three years. You may work in private practice, 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
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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