Did you miss the 2015 Colorado CPA Licensure Changes Live Q&A with Roger Philipp, CPA? Not to worry! We have a transcript of the session below. (Download PDF)
Roger CPA Review: Our first few questions for Roger are from Eli who submitted questions prior to the event.
How can internships count for either credit or professional hours towards CPA requirements?
Roger Philipp: Hi, Eli! Internships can count for both credits and for professional hours. For credits, you will want to check with your university and be sure that you and your firm are following the proper protocol for your internship to count for credits. Typically, that requires signed documents from a supervisor at your firm verifying the work you have done.
Professional hours towards your licensure are very similar. In Colorado, these requirements can be fulfilled before, during, or after the CPA Exam. In order to get your license you will need no less than 1 year (1,800 hours) of work experience, this can be done through internships! You will also need to make sure these hours are completed in no more than 3 years. All hours must be verified by an active CPA in good standing.
Roger CPA Review: Thanks, Roger Philipp! We have a few more from Eli that he submitted prior to the event. Next question: How do the rule changes affect the amount of professional hours we have to complete?
Roger Philipp: Good question! The rule change is not affecting the amount of hours required rather it is requiring students to get 150 semester units to obtain their CPA License. Currently, students can obtain licensure through two options:
- A bachelors degree with 120 semester units and 1 year (1,800 hours) of work experience.
- A bachelors degree with 120 semester units and in lieu of work experience, an additional 30 semester units for a total of 150 units.
On July 1, 2015 students MUST have 150 semester units AND 1 year of work experience in order to get licensed.
Roger CPA Review: The next question is more of a general question about the CPA Exam.
What is the normal sequence people take the exam in?
Roger Philipp: I get asked this quite often and another good question! People generally take FAR, AUD, REG and BEC in that order. Some experts recommend starting with FAR because it can be tricky to pass on the first attempt and you dont want to start your 18 month time clock ticking, have life get in the way and lose a section or two that you passed and then have to re-take. Yet others suggest you should start with the section you feel most confident/comfortable with, for example if you are an Auditing whiz, just completed an Advanced Audit course, you may want to start out with AUD! It is all about personal preference and how much time you can devote to studying.
Roger CPA Review: How long is it recommended to study for each section?
Roger Philipp: We recommend you study for a part, take a part. Our learning system has study planners for 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. That being said, it is VERY INTENSE to take on the 3 month plan. Basically the CPA Exam is your life for 3 full months, 8 hours a day 7 days a week. Realistically, 2-3 months per part is what most exam takers commit to. Remember, the AICPA recommends studying 300-400 hours for the entire exam, for every 1 hour of lecture time, plan to study on your own 2-3 hours.
Roger CPA Review: Last one from Eli.
What are the sections people normally struggle with the most?
Roger Philipp: FAR and REG tend to be the sections most people have a challenge with because both parts cover a lot of information and exam takers tend to run out of time on exam day. Time management and being able to utilize your memory aides and mnemonics is crucial to getting through these two robust sections. Thanks for the great questions Eli!
Eli from Fort Collins, CO : What are the most challenging subjects in the FAR section?
Roger Philipp: Government and Non profit because it is an elective at many schools or not offered at many schools. Plus it is 20% of the FAR section.
Ellen from Akron, CO: How many hours of experience are required for the CPA?
Roger Philipp: Hi, Ellen! You don't need hours of experience to sit for the exam.
Ellen: but you do need them to obtain the license? right?
Roger Philipp: Yes. You need at least 1 year (1,800 hours) of work experience and your work experience cannot exceed 3 years.
Ellen: How do we initiate the process?
Roger Philipp: Ellen the process to become a CPA?
Ellen: Yes, starting with the exam portion.
Roger Philipp: Your work experience can be earned before, during, or after the exam. This includes working for pubic, private, or governmental accounting firms. So any work/internships will count towards your hours, as long as it is under a CPA in what they call "good standing."
There's a great breakdown on how to become a CPA starting with the exam portion on our Web site. http://www.rogercpareview.com/become-a-cpa/
Sean from Aurora, CO: How proactive do you have to be with NASBA to forward a completed packet to the CO board of Accountancy? In other words, if everything is completed May-June time frame, does NASBA automatically send it to the board or do they need to be 'prodded'?
Roger Philipp: Since this change will affect many students you will want to get in your paperwork as earlier as possible. The COCPA is recommending that students try and turn in their licensure applications by Jan/Feb of 2015. As that deadline approaches more and more students will be sending in their applications to beat the deadline. This will cause delays in application processing.
Colorado offers pre-evaluation as an optional service. A pre-evaluation will identify any academic deficiencies in your education before you submit a first-time application for the Exam. For additional information and to begin a pre-evaluation application, visit NASBA.org.
Sean: Sounds good. I take it the AICPA ethics exam can be completed quickly?
Roger Philipp: Yes. Generally, the Ethics exam is a take-home test that can be completed online. You buy a "course" essentially, and you will be tested at the end. You must get at least a 90% to pass. http://www.cocpa.org/STORE/detail.aspx?id=PE-P1
Sean: That can be completed before all of the CPA exam sections are done?
Roger Philipp: The COCPA provides students with the AICPA's Comprehensive Course. It can be completed after all four parts are passed. I would also check with your state's society for more information.
Kathryn H.: What are the requirements to sit for the CPA Exam before July 1, 2015?
Roger Philipp: Hi, Kathryn! Good question! Before July 1, 2015 students need a bachelors degree with 120 semester hours:
- 27 semester hours of non-duplicative coursework in accounting
- 21 in specialized accounting courses
- Of those 21 semester hours, students need at least a 3 semester hour course concentrating on U.S. GAAS
- 21 semester hours of non-duplicative coursework in business
If you have any additional questions related to the CPA Exam, Colorado education and licensure requirements, you can email Tyler Skelton, West Coast Representative, at email@example.com or call our Customer Care staff at 877-764-4272.