Becoming a CPA in Louisiana has a few different requirements than many other states. While many states require a CPA candidate to major in accounting in college, in Louisiana any major is acceptable, as long as the person has taken the requisite number of business and accounting courses.
CPA candidates in Louisiana must complete 150 semester hours of college and earn a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in accounting. The State Board of CPAs of Louisiana must find the college or university acceptable, and it must be accredited by one of the national accreditation organizations.
The completed coursework must include 24 semester hours of undergraduate accounting courses, or 21 hours of such courses at the graduate level. Such courses must include:
- Six hours of intermediate accounting (undergraduate) 3 hours (graduate)
- Three hours cost accounting
- Three hours auditing
- Three hours income tax accounting
Candidates must also successfully complete three semester hours in either accounting theory, advanced financial accounting or nonprofit accounting or auditing. They must complete nine semester hours of elective accounting courses beyond the elementary level.
Candidates must also complete 24 semester hours of business courses, including three hours of commercial law, which must address the Uniform Commercial Code. While accounting or business internships do not count toward the educational requirement, up to six hours of such internships may count toward the 150 semester hour requirement.
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How to Sit for the CPA Exam in Louisiana
Once you complete the educational requirements, and have resided in Louisiana for at least four months, you may sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. Register for the exam online at CPA Examination Services. After completing the application forms, include in the packet your original college transcripts, and fee payment for the exam and application. If you attended an out-of-state school and you did not take courses meeting Louisiana requirements, you must petition the board via an Application for Course Substitution. Include course descriptions on this application. Mail the completed packet to:
CPA Examination Services – Louisiana Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469
Once your application is accepted, you will receive a Notice to Schedule from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) via your chosen method, either email, fax or regular post.
The Uniform CPA Examination is held in five Louisiana cities: Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Bossier, Lake Charles and Metairie. Visit the Prometric website and schedule your exam. Appear at the testing site on the test date at least half an hour before the exam is scheduled to begin. You will receive your scores in the mail and you can find them online 48 hours after the exam date.
After passing the Uniform CPA Examination, candidates must obtain 2,000 hours or one year of practical experience before becoming eligible for licensure. All experience requires supervision by a licensed CPA. All experience must take place within four years of licensure application. Candidates may derive experience from employment in academia, government, nonprofit organizations, private industry or public practice. Experience must include at least one of the following:
- Management advisory
- Financial advisory
The supervising CPA must affirm all experience in a letter written on company letterhead, which is sent aong with the license application. This letter must include:
- Job title
- Employment dates
- Job description
For part-time employees, payroll information, time sheets and productivity records are required. If the candidate worked in academia, the titles of the college courses taught, and their dates must be included.
Get Your License in Louisiana
After meeting your experience and other requirements, you may apply for licensure or certification as a CPA in Louisiana. Download the Application for a Certificate for a Certified Public Accountant. Complete the application and include the supervising CPA letter on experience, your official school transcripts and the appropriate fees, with a check made payable to the State Board of CPAs of Louisiana. Mail the completed application to:
State Board of CPAs of Louisiana
601 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
The board meets four times a year, on the last business day of January, April, July and October. To consider your application, the board must receive it at least 30 days before the next scheduled meeting. Once the license is approved, the board will contact you.
CPAs holding a license in another state with similar accountancy requirements, you may apply for a reciprocal license in Louisiana. Currently, all states and U.S. territories with the exception of the Virgin Islands have equivalent requirements.
You must download the Application for a Reciprocal Certificate as a Certified Public Accountant, as well as the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Licensure Information. Mail the latter form, along with applicable fees, to the state accountancy board holding your license. For the reciprocal certificate application, submit letters from supervising CPAs and document your qualifying experiences within the prior four years to the State Board of CPAs of Louisiana.
For sole practitioners, you must include a minimum of three letters from clients stating you have at least one year of experience in public practice accounting during the previous four years. You must also submit three character references from non-relatives who have know you more than one year. If you graduated from college after 1997, you must include college transcripts proving you meet the 150 semester-hour graduation requirement.
Include any applicable fees and send the completed packet to the State Board of CPAs of Louisiana. The board will examine your application and let you know if it is approved.
Continuing Professional Education Requirements
Louisiana CPAs must attain 120 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements every three years. For the first three years of licensing, CPE credits are pro-rated, so a first-year licensee requires only 80 credits until the next licensing period, and a second-year licensee requires 40 credits. The third-year licensee does not need to attain any credits that year but is subject to the 120-hour requirement once their license is renewed. At the time of renewal, all CPAs must furnish a signed statement of their CPE hours.
Of the 120 hours, two hours of professional ethics are required. Personal development cannot count for more than 30 CPE hours. A program hour is at least 50 minutes to qualify as one CPE hour. For those working in attestation, a minimum of 24 CPE hours must include that subject.
Approved formats for CPE credits include:
- Credited college or university courses, with one semester hour equal to 15 CPE hours
- Non-credited college or university courses, with one semester hour equivalent to one CPE hour
- Self-study programs
- Formal group programs
- Approved correspondence courses
- In-house educational programs
- National and state CPA chapter technical meetings
- Completion of exams for certified financial planner, certified management accountant or certified information systems auditor. This credit may not account for more than half of CPE credits. The credits are awarded at five time the length of each exam.
CPE credits are available for those serving as lecturers, speakers or teachers, but cannot make up more than half of CPE credits. Writing books or articles or CPE programs cannot make up more than 25 percent of CPE credits.
It is important to maintain CPE records for at least five years. This information includes:
- Course sponsor
- Course location
- Certificate of completion or attendance
- Dates attended
- Course title and content description
- CPE hours claimed
- Transcripts for college or university courses
- Publication evidence for articles and books.
Accountant Career Salaries in Louisiana by Occupation
Accountants are doing better and better in Louisiana. For instance, in 2014, their median salary was $57,408. Three years later, in 2017, the BLS showed the mean wage at $65,930. Across the state, salaries do vary from town to town, but overall accountants are making comparable wages regardless of where they practice their profession. However, the top mean wage was $66,660 in Lafayette and the bottom mean wage was $56,560 in Natchitoches non-metropolitan area. Your salary is bound to rise when you attain higher-status credentials, however. For instance, forensic accountants in New Orleans earn between $70,785 and $110,385 per year, before bonuses or benefits are accounted for.
|City||Annual Median Wage|
|Natchitoches non-metropolitan area||$56,560|
|Annual Mean Wage||10th Percentile||25th percentile||50th percentile||75th percentile||90th percentile|