Becoming a CPA in Minnesota differs somewhat than other states, as Minnesota does not require a candidate to have yet graduated from college before sitting for the Uniform CPA Examination.
In Minnesota, there are different educational requirements for receiving a CPA certificate and sitting for the CPA exam. For the former, candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher that includes at least 24 semester hours of accounting at the junior/senior or graduate level. Courses must include financial accounting, taxation, auditing and management accounting.
For the latter, candidates must have successfully completed at least 150 semester hours, which includes at least 24 semester hours of accounting at the junior/senior or graduate level and courses in financial accounting, taxation, auditing and management accounting, as well as at least 24 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate courses in business or accounting. Of these 48 hours, only six may apply to life experience or internships.
To take the Uniform CPA Examination in Minnesota, the candidate must be either a Minnesota resident or have regular employment in the state. Other options include working in Minnesota to obtain qualifying experience or planning to work in Minnesota within three months of passing the CPA exam.
Exam Requirements – How to Sit for the CPA Exam
Minnesota allows those who are within six months of completing a degree to apply for the Uniform CPA Examination under its Early Examination program. Once such a student application is accepted, the person may sit for the exam within three months of the date on which the educational requirements are completed. In such situations, the student has 150 days after the exam date to provide the Minnesota Board of Accountancy (MBA) with proof of completion of the educational requirements.
Whether or not the applicant has graduated from college, he or she should visit the website of CPA Examination Services (CPAES), register and download application forms. If the person has not yet graduated from college, they must ask for official college transcripts along with submitting a Certificate of Enrollment form filled out by a college representative that confirms all courses will be completed within four months of taking the exam. Those who have already graduated college must send in the transcripts, and both types of applicants must include a 2” x 2” photo of themselves and a check, money order or credit card number for paying CPAES in their application package. Mail the package to:
CPA Examination Services – Minnesota Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469
You will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) the Uniform CPA Examination from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The NTS arrives as per your instructions, either via email, fax or regular mail. When you receive the NTS, visit the Prometric website and schedule the exam at a Minnesota location. Arrive at the test site at least one hour prior to the start of the first exam.
You can find your scores online just 48 hours after taking the exam. You will receive a copy of your score in the mail.
The Uniform CPA Examination consists of four sections, each of which sits for four hours, for a total of 16 hours. The sections are Regulation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation and Business Environment and Concepts. You may complete these sections in any order and take them in the same testing window. However, you cannot repeat a test during the same testing window. You must earn a score of at least 75 in each section to pass the exam.
Before starting the experience requirements, you must pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s Home Study Course on Professional Ethics.
You must complete one year, or 2,000 hours, of accounting experience before applying for licensure in Minnesota. The experience requirements cannot take less than one year and longer than three years to complete. Candidates must provide the following services:
- Financial advisory
- Management advisory
While gaining experience, the candidate must work in either industry, government, public practice or academia. A licensed CPA must provide verification of the work done. This supervising CPA must fill out the CPA Experience Verification Form, which is submitted with the application for licensure.
How to Get Your License in Minnesota
Once you have completed your educational requirements, passed the Uniform CPA Examination and finished your experience requirements, you may apply for Minnesota CPA licensure, or certification, as it is known in Minnesota. Start the process by downloading and completing the Application for Minnesota CPA Certificate. Along with the completed CPA Verification Form, give the three personal reference forms found in the packet to the people you choose as personal references. The references mail the forms directly to the MBA. Include a college transcript verifying completion of the 150 semester hours needed. Get in touch with the AICPA to send documentation proving you passed their ethics exam directly to the MBA. Send a check in the amount of $150 to the MBA. Mail the completed packet to:
Minnesota Board of Accountancy
85 East Seventh Place
St. Paul, MN 55101-2143
The MBA’s Exam and Credentialing Committee reviews the documents and contacts the applicant when the certificate is approved. Once you receive certification, you may call yourself a CPA.
Reciprocal CPA licenses
If you are licensed in another state with qualifications equivalent to those in Minnesota, you may receive a reciprocal CPA certificate. Currently, in the United States or its territories only the Virgin Islands is not considered equivalent. Minnesota does not require those holding a valid out-of-state CPA license to apply for Minnesota certification or even notify the MBA before beginning to practice in Minnesota. However, if the license is from a non-equivalent area, you may receive a Minnesota certificate if you meet the educational, examination and experience requirements of Minnesota. The application requirements are the same as for those seeking Minnesota CPA certification, except that instead of completing the Application for Minnesota CPA Certificate, you must complete the Application for Minnesota CPA Certificate by Non-Minnesota CPA Examination Candidate. You must also complete the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Information and Certificate Information, which is included in the application packet. Send this form to the board in the state holding your license. Mail the rest of the application to the MBA.
Continuing Professional Education Requirements
To maintain CPA certification, Minnesota requires 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every three years, with a minimum of 20 hours completed each year. CPE hours cannot carry over to the next three-year period. Other requirements include:
- Eight CPE hours in behavioral or regulatory ethics
- A maximum of 60 CPE hours coming from lecturing or instruction
- A maximum of 60 CPE hours derived from publishing or serving as author
- A minimum of 24 CPE hours spent in instructor-led training
- A maximum of 24 CPE hours coming from personal development
- A minimum of 72 CPE hours must come from an approved sponsor.
You should keep all records relating to CPE hours for at least five years. Such documentation includes:
- Attendance dates
- Program name
- Program content
- Program location
- Number of CPE hours
- Contact info for sponsor
- Detailed copy of the program agenda
- Program presenter and developer biography
- Your statement attesting to how this program aided your professional competence.