Accountancy is one of the oldest professions in business. When ancient traders needed a way to track their sales and inventory, they found mathematical geniuses who tracked the fundamentals of their enterprise. These days, the profession has evolved to meet contemporary standards. It is such a part of our life and culture that we now have state licenses for our top accountants. The road to becoming a CPA is not easy, and it is contingent on state requirements. Keep reading to learn how to become a CPA in the great state of New Hampshire.
New Hampshire's Academic Requirements
New Hampshire, like many states, has specific academic requirements. You will need to obtain a bachelor's degree and 120 semester hours with a major concentration in accounting. The Board does not recognize 3-year baccalaureate degrees, unless you have gone on to complete a 2-year graduate program that meets their academic standards.
You should provide official transcripts to prove to the New Hampshire Board of Accountancy that your education included certain courses. The Board requires at least 30 semester hours in accounting. You must take an upper-level course in each of these subjects:
- Financial accounting
- Management accounting
The Board requires that you take an additional 24 semester hours taking business courses. Here you have a bit more leeway, but try to use these hours studying courses that include, but are not limited to:
- Business law
- Business information systems
- Professional ethics
- Business organizations
All total, you should have 150 semester hours to qualify for your New Hampshire CPA license. Thus, after you have completed your bachelor's degree, you can consider taking CPA review courses. Make sure that your school is fully accredited so that the Board will recognize your hard work. It is also acceptable to take courses in non-traditional environments, such as online. You will need to verify that your coursework is accredited, however. The online option will be helpful if you intend to start working after completing your bachelor's degree but before completing the requirement for a CPA license.
Not only should you take specific courses, but they must be accredited by a regional board. This assures the Board that your education attained the level of quality they expect. Here is a list of accrediting agencies recognized by the Board:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Colleges and Schools
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
If, on the other hand, you have gained semester hours in an institution not accredited by one of the above agencies, you should have that coursework verified by CPA Exam Services. Their consulting services will help ensure that your application is complete and correct the first time.
Some students might have taken courses while studying in foreign universities, or they may be newcomers to the United States. Foreign coursework can be evaluated by one of the following entities:
- NASBA International Evaluation Services
- Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)
- Educational Records Evaluation Services (ERES)
- Josef Silny and Associates
- Educational Perspectives
- International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
- Foreign Academic Credentials Service (FACS)
Sitting for the CPA Examination
Prior to sitting for the CPA examination in New Hampshire, you must first meet certain requirements. Since the test is notoriously difficult, it is a good idea to have a strong academic background prior to paying the fees and spending the time on the test.
The minimum requirements for sitting for the examination are a bachelor's degree consisting of 120 semester hours. Those hours must consist of 30 hours in upper-level accounting courses and 24 hours in business electives.
Once you have satisfied the academic requirements, you can apply online through the CPA Examination Services website and mail all of your documents to the agency at:
CPA Examination Services
New Hampshire Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469
You may send official transcripts yourself, but make sure they are in the original sealed envelop provided by your educational institution. To streamline the process, you might consider having the transcripts sent directly from your school to CPA Examination Services. If you have any credits from foreign institutions, they should be evaluated and that determination should be included with your application packet. You can send this yourself or have the agency send it directly.
Once the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy have approved your application, they will issue a Notification to Schedule to you. You can then contact a Prometric site in New Hampshire to schedule a testing day and time. Prometric has locations in Concord and Portsmouth.
CPA exam periods are open in the following months:
- January and February
- April and May
- July and August
- October and November
NH Experience Requirements
In New Hampshire, you will need to qualify your CPA licensure application with 1,500, full-time, real-world experience. If you choose to work part-time, 2,080 hours is required, with 1,500 of those hours spent in the practice of accounting or auditing. Regardless, the Board requires that you spend a minimum of one full year practicing your profession. This experience requirement can be fulfilled either through work with a government agency, industry, or public accounting. You will need to verify and account for your experience so that the Board will acknowledge this portion of your CPA licensure application.
To verify your experience, your supervisor will need to verify to the board that they hold a CPA or other qualifying license. They should provide the board with their full name, their license type (CPA, CA, CPC, or other foreign credential), the date upon which they became licensed, their license expiry date, and a statement verifying that their credentials are in good standing.
You will also need to account for your time working as an accountant. Thus, as you proceed with your experience, you should be diligent with how you are spending your time. That is, the board will want to know how much time you spent performing the following tasks:
- Auditing or reviewing financial statements or reports
- Performing management advisory
- Performing financial advisory
- Consulting clients
- Preparing tax documents
- Offering taxation advice
- Working in private practice or industry
CPA Licensure Requirements
To satisfy the New Hampshire Board, you will need to fulfill their academic, experience, and examination requirements. New Hampshire does not require that you pass the Ethics examination, as many states do. However, you will need to provide three character reference forms.
To prove your academic performance, you will need to have your official transcripts sent to the Board either by yourself or directly from your school(s). The transcript should show 150 semester hours that include 30 hours studying accounting and 24 studying business related subject matter. Your transcript should also reflect at least a baccalaureate degree.
The Board requires that you complete a minimum of one full year practicing accounting in the professional environment. You can work in public accounting, government, or industry. You should fully account for your time and show to the board the hours you spent performing various aspects of your profession – audits, tax preparation, etc. Your supervisor will need to sign off on your experience while also attesting to her licensure and experience.
After you have completed your baccalaureate degree and 120 semester hours, you can apply for the CPA examination. You can then schedule a day and time for your test with a New Hampshire Prometric location in either Concord or Portsmouth. The test is a multi-part examination and many need to retake at least one portion before passing the entire test. Your scores will go to the Board to help fulfill your application.
The character reference form will ask that the writer state the circumstances of your acquaintanceship, the nature of your relationship, the occupation of the writer, and any information about you that demonstrates the quality of your character.
Continuing Professional Education Requirements
Once you have attained your full CPA license, New Hampshire asks that you continue your professional education. Your license expires every three years, and you must complete 120 hours of CPE credit during that period. Each year you are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours by June 30 each year. You must also take a minimum of 4 hours in ethics education during the triennial period. The board will accept your CPE units from any of the following activities:
- Authoring books or publishing articles
- Instructing, lecturing, or giving presentations
You may study, teach, or write about any of these topics:
- Government accounting
- Public accounting
- Auditing – public or private
- Business law
- Regulatory ethics
- management advisory services
- Personal development
- Computer science
Note that for every 50 minutes you spend on CPE-related activities, you may count as a single CPE hour.
As you practice, you are sure to encounter many opportunities to gain CPE hours. Additionally, you can seek out opportunities by seeking courses at you local college or university, through accounting-related professional associations, and through online resources, such as webinars, universities, etc. You might also be able to accrue CPEs at national or regional conferences.
After you have completed your requirements for a New Hampshire CPA license, you should celebrate. The CPA license is one of the most difficult professional credentials a person can earn. Kudos!