Accountancy forms the backbone of commerce, government, and even computer systems. Accountants prepare and file tax documents, audit organizations, and can be vital to the operations of an IT department. For that reason, attaining the top accounting credential, a CPA license, is one of the most strenuous tasks in professional life. Each state has its own requirements for its CPAs and Utah is no different. Keep reading to learn the steps you must take to become licensed by the Utah Board of Accountancy.


Education

The bulk of your preparation for the CPA test and licensure consists in your education. It's vital to put in long hours studying and make sure that you get the highest GPA possible. Not only do you need all of the information for the CPA examination, but your future employers may be interested in your class rank. Naturally, they will want an assurance that they are providing their clients with the best advice and service possible.

According to Utah's statutes and rules, you must complete your undergraduate degree and complete a total of 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours.) The Board emphasizes the importance of a graduate degree, or at least graduate coursework. That is, you should graduate with a master's degree in taxation or accounting. If you opt for a Master of Business Administration (MBA,) your coursework should include 24 semester hours in accounting that cover:

If you have a baccalaureate degree in accounting, you must complete the remaining 30 hours to satisfy the Board. All in all, your transcripts should reflect:

Your business-related courses must include a minimum of 2 semester hours covering each of the following subjects:

Business law

Computer science

Economics

Ethics

Finance

Statistics and quantitative methods

Written and oral communications

Business administration courses such as:

Utah's Examination Requirements

As in every state, to become a CPA, Utah requires that you pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Examination as prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA.) This is one of the most difficult professional examinations, so make sure you are fully prepared. In fact, the Board insists on it.

To help ensure that you have a background sufficient to pass the exam, the Board requires that you complete at least 135 semester hours in accredited classrooms. You should be able to prove that you are enrolled in the remaining 15 you need to satisfy the full licensure requirement. The board does not include any requirements for your age or citizenship, nor is there a state residency requirement for operating as a CPA in Utah.

When your transcripts reflect that you have satisfied the education requirements for sitting for the examination, you will need to register to sit for the exam. You'll find an application at the CPA Examination Services website. If you prefer traditional mail, you can print, complete, and ship your application to:

CPA Examination Services-UT
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219

You will need to pay all applicable fees with a credit card, however.

Once your application has been accepted, you will receive a Notice to Schedule. This indicates that you can schedule a day and time to sit for the exam at the most convenient Prometric location. Consult the Prometric website for more, but they have Utah locations in the following towns:

After you take the first part of the test, you have 18 months to take, and pass, the remaining three exams. For that reason, you must be fully prepared prior to taking the first portion. It's advised that you devise a workable strategy that helps you prepare for each test without overwhelming yourself with all the information at once. The four parts of the exam are:

Utah's Licensure Requirements

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Standards

Once you have attained the distinct honor of holding a CPA license in Utah, you must continue to maintain and develop your professional knowledge with CPE hours. These hours are accounted for on a biennial basis, but you will have no such requirements during your first licensure period.

For your second, and all ensuing, licensure period, you are required to complete 80 CPE hours. In those hours, you must include the following:

One hour of time studying the Utah Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act and Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act Rule

Three hours of ethics instruction, including at least one of the following areas:

How you earn the remainder of your CPE hours are largely up to you. The Board does require that your courses remain pertinent to the practice of accounting, but you do not need to restrict yourself to your own area(s) of specialty. For instance, you can choose courses that cover any of the following, provided that a valid CPE outlet sponsors them. Professional associations or accredited colleges and universities are frequently vendors of these courses. Consider:

To complete your CPE requirements, you can take courses online or some form of independent study. Many fulfill their CPEs through attending conferences or seminars. You can also receive CPE credit through writing and publishing profession-specific articles or books. An independent party must review your written work and you may only claim credit upon publication and may not exceed 25% of your CPE requirement.

The road to becoming a CPA is long and arduous. The license is one of the most difficult professional credentials to attain and maintain. However, it is worth it. Your work will help any number of businesses, individuals, or even governmental agencies to grow and thrive. Many business owners and managers don't make any decision without first consulting their CPA. That'll be you! Congratulations.

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