Earning your CPA licensure in Nebraska involves a combination of education, experience and examination. Read through our guide to determine the steps you must take to earn this coveted licensure.
CPA Education Requirements
The first step in becoming a certified CPA in Nebraska is to meet the educational guidelines required to sit for the CPA exam. Besides colleges and universities online, correspondence, and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits are all accepted as long as they are notated on the official transcripts of an accredited institution. Because the required education is specific your first step should be to verify accreditation of your school before you register.
To sit for the CPA exam in Nebraska you must earn your Bachelor's degree and have passed 150 credit hours of education. Of the 150 hours 30 must be undergraduate or graduate level upper-level (not introductory courses) accounting courses as well as 36 semester hours of general business coursework. In addition, 60 hours must be in general education classes covering mathematics, statistics, humanities, arts, social studies, natural sciences, and oral and written communication. Because accounting is a competitive field and the CPA requirements are rigid you may wish to work towards your Master's degree in accounting while you earn your license. The Nebraska CPA exam is overseen by CPA Examination Services (CPAES) and you will apply directly to CPAES during the process. Note that Nebraska requires state residency for CPA certification, so you should also establish your residency (or Nebraska employment) before submitting your transcripts.
Here are the accepted subjects you'll need to take in the 30 hours of upper-level accounting courses you'll need to cover:
- Accounting information systems
- Financial accounting theory and problems
- Cost and managerial accounting
- Governmental and not-for-profit accounting
- Tax preparation and planning
- The information systems course must be specific to accounting
- There is a three credit limit for an internship with an accounting prefix
- There is a three credit hour limit for independent/self study with an accounting prefix
- Special seminars and topics may be used as long as they are not a "self-paced" course, meet regularly with a professor, and cover at least 25 percent of the coursework subject matter
- CPA Exam Review courses do not meet the requirement but may be used in the Electives section
For your Business course requirements your 36 hours should cover the following subjects:
- Business communication
- Business ethics
- Business law
- Principles of accounting
- Quantitative applications in business
Once you meet the educational requirements you will have each school send your transcripts directly to CPAES. Keep in mind schools typically take two to six months to post grades to official transcripts and another 10 to 15 days to process requests.
How to Sit for the CPA Exam
Your first step in taking the CPA exam is to apply via the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website to access the CPAES for Nebraska. You'll be asked to create an online account; the exam process is lengthy so make sure your personal information is correct and keep the account information updated if you move or change your name. If you're not sure you've met the educational requirements you may pay a $100.00 fee and request an evaluation called the NASBA Advisory Evaluation before you pay your application and exam fees and schedule your exams. If you have a disability that needs special accommodations for the exam you can inform CPAES at this time.
There is an initial application fee of $165.00 payable at the time you apply. The Nebraska CPA exam is in four parts and you can take them all at once or individually. In order to meet licensure requirements all four sections must be taken within an 18 month period. All fees must be paid at the time of application and there is a registration fee each time you sit for exams. This means if you apply for one exam at a time you'll pay the $75.00 fee four times; if you apply to sit for all four exams you'll pay the $75.00 fee once. The exam titles and their corresponding fees are as follows:
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)||$208.40|
|Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)||$208.40|
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)||$208.40|
Notification to Schedule
Once your application is approved you'll receive a Notification to Schedule (NTS) from NASBA with instructions on where and when you may schedule to sit for the exam or exams. You will need your NTS to enter the exam facility so keep it in a safe place. Your NTS will be valid for six months so you should schedule your exams within that time frame. The Nebraska CPA exam is given by Prometric and you will select your exam site, date, and time from their website.
Each exam will take four hours. You may only take your NTS and identification into the exam room; all other personal belonging will be stored in a secure locker while you test. Your scores will be available one to two weeks after you test, and you'll need a minimum 75 percent score in order to pass. Remember that all four exam sections must be completed within 18 months, so if you fail a section plan to retake it within the time frame.
Complete the AICPA Ethics Course and Exam
In addition to the CPA exams you'll also be required to take and pass the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) course in ethics. This is a self-study course and online exam on a basic level and requires no prerequisites or preparation. The topics covered are:
- AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
- Acts discreditable to the profession
- Conceptual Framework
Apply for a Certificate to Practice
Once you've taken and passed the CPA and Ethics exams you'll be eligible for certification. You can apply for your CPA certificate through the Nebraska Board of Accountancy and must have the certificate before you can begin accumulating the required experience for licensure. The AICPA must send a certificate of completion of the Professional Ethics course; a copy will not be accepted.
CPA Experience Needed in Nebraska
Once you've successfully passed all four sections of your CPA exam you'll need to meet the minimum experience requirements before you can apply for your license. In Nebraska CPA experience must be acquired through industry, government, public, or academia accountancy work as follows:
- A minimum of 4000 hours during a minimum of two years
- Under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA firm
- If in government a minimum of three years with the Federal Internal revenue Service, Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, or Nebraska Department of Revenue
- Private and governmental experience may be combined within three years
Once you've met the experience requirements your supervising CPA within a registered/licensed CPA firm must complete the Nebraska Public Accounting Experience Form and have it notarized.
Nebraska Licensure Requirements
Your final step to becoming a licensed Nebraska CPA is to submit your Permit to Practice application. You'll need to verify the following information and submit the $200.00 permit fee to The Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy:
- Educational requirements
- CPA exam scores
- AICPA ethics exam score
- CPA certificate
Once you've submitted the required documentation it will take about 10 business days for the state board to issue your license.
Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements
As a licensed Nebraska CPA you must renew your certification every two years on January 31. During that time frame you are required to complete 80 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE). Four hours of ethics training is required; no more than 50 percent of the hours may be in self-study. In addition, a minimum of 40 percent of the hours must be in attestation and accounting subjects and a maximum of 30 percent of the hours may be in non-technical subjects. Qualifying Nebraska CPE hours must be formal programs that contribute to your competence and professional skills, given by a qualified instructor, a minimum length of one hour, with a detailed outline and timeline prepared in advance and you must retain proof of registration and attendance. The Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants offers a wide variety of courses in nine locations throughout the state. Coursework is available at conferences, via webcasts and webinars, and self-study materials at nominal fees to both members and non-members of the society. While Nebraska doesn't have strict regulations for CPE the courses and subjects should directly contribute to your professional competency in accountancy.
- If you teach an accepted course in CPE you can generally claim two hours of preparation for each hour of instruction
- If you're unsure whether a course is accepted you can file a Program Qualification Form with the board
- The Nebraska Board of Accountancy accepts all NASBA approved courses for CPE
Because CPE guidelines may change by the time you receive your license you should stay updated on current requirements once you are a practicing CPA. Joining professional organizations will give you invaluable networking resources to enable you to complete your CPE requirements in a timely manner.