If your goal is to become a CPA in New York you've made a wise choice: while the 10 year national projected job growth for CPAs is 10 percent in New York it's projected at a robust 21 percent. That said; there are strident rules to become a CPA in New York. Your first step should be to verify your program is accredited by the State Department of Education or the New York State Board of Regents before you begin so you know your education will be accepted.
According to the State Board of Accountancy, to become a Certified Public Accountant CPA, you need to obtain a bachelor's degree and complete the 150 credit hours experience requirements. After you complete your education, you will need to take the CPA Exam to become a certified public accountant CPA. When you pass the CPA Exam in your state, you will become a certified public accountant. Becoming a CPA is challenging but rewarding. Here’s a guide to what can expect in the process of becoming a licensed CPA in New York.
Education Requirements to become a Licensed NY CPA
The educational requirements to become licensed are very specific. One of the first steps is to obtain a Bachelor's degree and complete a minimum of 150 credit hours including 33 hours in accounting courses and 36 hours of business courses. Each of these requirements must be fulfilled as follows and all classes must be above the introduction level:
The 33 hours of accounting courses must be from the following subjects:
- Accounting information systems
- Auditing and attestation services (must be earned from junior, senior, or graduate level; also satisfies the Ethics and Professional Responsibilities requirement. Minimum one course required)
- Cost or managerial accounting (may be earned at a community college, minimum one course required)
- Financial accounting and reporting (junior, senior, or graduate level, minimum one course)
- Fraud examination
- Internal controls and risk assessment
- Taxation (may be earned at a community college; also satisfies the Accounting Research requirement; minimum one course required)
Each required subject has a wide range of course titles to choose from so you can customize your study to the area of accounting in which you plan to practice. Here are some course examples of each area of accounting study:
Financial accounting and reporting:
- Accounting for governmental and nonprofit purposes
- Accounting principles
- Advanced accounting
- Accounting theory
- Corporate financial reporting
- Financial accounting
- Financial reporting
- Financial statement analysis
- Intermediate accounting
- Principles of accounting
Cost or managerial accounting:
- Advanced cost management
- Cost accounting
- Cost management
- Managerial accounting
- Advanced taxation
- Basic taxation
- Business taxation
- Corporate taxation
- Individual taxation
- International taxation
- Taxation of business entities
Auditing and attestation services:
- Advanced auditing
- Auditing and assurance services
- Auditing and attestation
- Principles of auditing
- Accounting research
- Accounting theory
- Corporate taxation
- Individual taxation
- Tax research
The 36 hours of general business courses must be a combination of the following subjects:
- Business law
- Business statistics
- Business strategy
- Computer science
- Information technology and systems
- Operations management
- Organizational behavior
- Quantitative methods
In addition, these two specific subjects are required and may come from the business areas or may be taken from the Liberal Arts department:
- Ethics and Professional Responsibilities
- Business and Accounting Communications
The Ethics and Professional Responsibilities requirement can be met with a class such as:
- Business ethics
- Business law
- Commercial law
Samples of classes that will meet the Business and Accounting Communications are:
- Accounting communications
- Business communications
- Business writing
- International business communications
- Managerial communications
- Professional speaking
Once you have your Bachelor's degree and have met the educational requirements you will be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam, which is your next step to becoming a CPA.
Featured Online Programs
Campus and Online Degree Options in New York
An associate degree in accounting will teach you things like business communication, how to understand financial components, spreadsheets, accounting systems, and the accounting cycle. While this degree will usually not grant you access to higher level career options, it can get you an entry-level position through which you can earn vital work experience while you complete a higher-level degree. Learn More
With a bachelor's degree, you will advance your accounting knowledge by learning about additional accounting practices, taxation, auditing as well as financial information systems and financial reports. This degree is enough to earn you a position in a small to large firm and allow you to earn promotions. A certification may be necessary if you want to hold supervisory positions or enter the C-suites, but with enough experience, this may be the last degree you need to earn. Learn More
This advanced degree will teach you skills in managerial finance, data modeling, decision making that is data-driven, planning and control, corporate taxation, and financial accounting. With a master’s, you’ll be able to earn promotions and hold supervisory positions. You might even make it into the C-suites. Learn More
Doctorate or PhD
Individuals pursuing their doctorate can expect to thoroughly cover topics like modern economic theory in addition to financial theories concerning today's corporate and financial markets. While doctorates are not necessarily required for most accounting positions, many students who earn doctorates move into high-level academia positions. Learn More
Online Degree Programs
You can get an accounting degree online through a New York college. They offer many different degree options for you to choose from. This can be a convenient and affordable way to earn your accounting degree. Programs are available at the associate level through advanced degrees. Check with a school near you to see if their accounting courses are available online. Learn More
How to Apply for the New York State CPA Exam
The New York CPA Exam is overseen by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) so CPA candidates first step will be to register an account with the association, which can be done online using a credit card. If CPA candidates are not sure whether they meet the academic requirements they offer an Advisory Evaluation; otherwise CPA candidates need to submit the application and applicable fees as well as school transcripts. Transcripts must be submitted directly from the school or schools the CPA candidates attended to CPA Exam Services (CPAES) and NASBA allows 45 days for the process. If CPA candidates need special accommodations due to disability CPA candidates should submit the request at this time, too. Once all documentation is received CPA candidates receive an acknowledgement of completion via email and within two to four weeks the application will be processed.
The CPA Exam consists of four parts that can be taken individually or all at once. CPA candidates need to score at least 75 percent on each section and may take a failed section again but must pass all four sections within an 18-month time frame. Besides the initial application fee there is a fee for each test section as well as a registration fee to sit for the exam. The test sections and fee structure is as follows:
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)||$208.40|
|Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)||$208.40|
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)||$208.40|
Because the registration fee is for the testing facility it is the same amount whether you register for one test section or all four. You should plan to only register for the test sections you can complete within a six month time frame:
|1 examination section||$75.00|
|2 examination sections||$75.00|
|3 examination sections||$75.00|
|4 examination sections||$75.00|
If you fail one or more sections of the test you will be required to pay an additional testing fee as well as a registration fee but not the application fee.
How to sit for the New York CPA exam
Once your application is complete, all fees are paid, and your application has been processed you'll receive a Notice to Sit (NTS). You're required to show the NTS in order to be admitted to the exam location so keep it in a safe place.
New York Certified Public Accountant CPA exams are given at Prometric Test Centers which are located throughout New York City as well as Albany, Buffalo, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, and Rye. Once you receive your NTS you'll schedule your exams via the Prometrics website.
You should plan to arrive at the testing site about an hour before your scheduled testing time. You'll be required to show a valid photo identification as well as your NTS to enter the exam and will be allowed no other personal items during the test. Prometrics will supply a secure locker for your other personal items.
Each exam section is allotted four hours to complete. Both AICPA and NASBA offer resources to help you practice for the test sections and you should plan to study hard before attempting the test.
You'll receive your scores anywhere for 48 hours to two weeks after the exam; Prometrics will have a schedule posted to let you know when scores will be available.
You need to pass all four sections of the New York Certified Public Accountant CPA Exam. Once you pass the CPA exam, you'll need to meet the experience requirements before you're eligible for licensure. New York requires one year of full-time experience working between 35 and 40 hours a week under the guidance of a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Alternatively you can work part-time at least 20 hours per week with two weeks being counted as one week for the year requirement.
Your work experience must meet specific requirements, too. It must involve the practice of accounting consultation or services using skills related to:
- Auditing and attestation
- Financial or tax consulting
- Management advisory services
The work must be documented and performed under the supervision of a licensed Certified Public Accountant CPA or New York licensed accountant; it can be performed at a range of industries such as:
- An educational institution
- A government agency
- A private industrial firm
- A private organization
- A public accounting firm
Once your work experience is met you'll fill out a Certification of Employer form and give it to your employer. Your employer in turn will fill out their required sections and submit it directly to the New York State Board of Education for processing. If you've had more than one employer while gaining your year of experience you'll need to submit a separate form for each employer.
New York Licensing Requirements
Besides the educational, exam, and work requirements in New York you must be at least 21 years old and of good moral character to apply for your CPA license. The license application fee is $377 and must be submitted with your application; if there is an interim raise in fee amount you will be billed for the balance.
Your application will request all of your pertinent personal information as well as any criminal history or current charges. You must have the form notarized before submission and your work experience forms should be included with the application; your educational and exam requirements should already be on file with the state via your NASBA application. Once your completed application is processed, you'll receive your certificate and become a certified public accountant in New York state.
Renewal and Continuing Education
In New York you'll need to renew your CPA license every three years. During the first renewal cycle you won't be required to complete any professional continuing education (CPE) but after the first renewal you'll be required to complete the following CPE each year of the three-year period:
A minimum of 40 hours of formal education in the accepted subjects or a minimum of 24 hours of accepted formal education in a single accepted subject.
The following activities are considered as CPE:
- Taking a live CPE course within the state
- Taking a live CPE course outside the state that is presented by a NASBA approved provider
- Completing a self-study course by a New York registered provider
- Preparing and teaching a sponsored CPE college course (first time only)
- Authoring an article that is published in a journal
- Publishing a book in a CPE subject area
Approved subjects for CPE requirements are:
- Advisory Services
- Specialized knowledge and applications pertaining to specialized industries
Four semester hours of continuing education in professional ethics must be included in each three-year window, with credit given to the annual period in which the course was completed.
You will be required to maintain detailed records of your CPE work so you should verify the following as you complete each course:
- The title of the course
- The sponsor's name
- The sponsor's New York ID number
- The name of the program
- The course subject area
- The number of CPE credits awarded
- The date and location of the course
You are required to retain your CPE records for a five-year period so it's a good idea to set up a file system for CPE as soon as you receive your New York Certified Public Accountant CPA license.
Accountant Career Concentrations & Salaries in New York
A controller is a vital asset to a company's financial health. They oversee the day-to-day accounting operations. That includes things like payroll and accounts payable and receivable. A smaller company may make its financial decisions with the guidance of a controller and, in larger companies, they will provide financial reports to CFOs so that they fully understand the position of the company.
Legal Billing Coordinator
Legal billing coordinators operate under confidentiality for the client and the firm. They manage, compile, and execute all attorney billing. Depending on the firm, they may do other bookkeeping and accounting duties as well.
Senior Audit Advisor
Some of the responsibilities of a senior audit advisor are risk assessment, auditing documentation quality, continuous monitoring, results reporting, and plan management.
Chief Financial Officer
This is a senior executive position that oversees all financial aspects of the company. A CFO tracks the cash flow as well as handling financial planning. They also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the company's finances and suggest the proper actions to correct it.
Accountants and auditors earn more than in more rural states in the country. The annual mean wage for this area is $101,520. Rochester’s mean annual wage is $48,600 with an employment ratio of 9 to 1,000 jobs. Central New York’s area has a mean annual salary of $48,403 and an employment ratio of 5 to 1,000 jobs. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Buffalo Falls’ mean wage is a little higher, at $47,400. In the Dutchess County-Putnam County area, the annual mean wage is noticeably higher, at $86,010. Nassau County-Suffolk County boasts an even higher mean annual wage, at $67,700.
|City||Annual Median Wage|
|Central New York||$48,403|
|Dutchess County-Putnam County||-|
|Nassau County-Suffolk County||$67,700|
|Entry Level||Mid Career||Late Career|
New York Accounting Frequently Asked Questions
What accounting jobs are available in New York?
There are numerous career paths available in the accounting field.
Here are some of your options in New York:
- Senior Auditor
- Tax Manager
- Program Finance Accountant
- Independent Asian Forensic Accounting Analyst
- Claims Analyst
- Legal Billing Coordinator
- Restaurant Management Analyst
- Investigative Auditor
- Payroll Coordinator
- Accounting Supervisor
- Education-Related Evaluations and Billing Coordinator
- Senior Audit Advisor
- Full Charge Bookkeeper
What is the salary expectation with an accounting degree?
Salaries vary based on the field you have chosen.
Here are some salary range examples:
- Budget Analyst - $58,000-$75,000 | The average annual income is around $64,700.
- Accountant - $50,000-$128,000 | The average annual income is $76,800.
- Controller - $100,000-$210,000 | An average of $146,500 can be earned annually
- Chief Financial Officer - $154,000-$400,000 | The average annual salary is $230,000.
- Payroll Coordinator - $93,000-$142,762 | The average annual income is $118,300.
Do colleges in the state offer online degrees?
Yes! You can earn your accounting degree online from schools like:
- Niagra County Community College
- Finger Lakes Community College
- Jamestown Community College
- Erie Community College
- Genesee Community College
- SUNY Polytechnic Institute
- New Paltz University College
- Old Westbury University College
- Empire State College
How long does it take to earn an accounting degree?
It will take you 2-6 years to earn an accounting degree generally, depending on whether you want an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate. The field of study you choose can also contribute to the time it takes to complete a degree, but most accounting fields do not require much extra time to complete.
Are there scholarships available for accounting students?
There are multiple scholarships available to accounting students who meet specific criteria. Some of the best scholarships available come from the AICPA and the NYSSCPA, who specifically support accounting and CPA-focused majors. You can check with your high school counselor or your college's financial aid office for more information on scholarships available or you can do your own research and find scholarship offerings from all over the US online.