US CPA has become one of the most in-demand careers in the accounting field. With global recognition, anyone across the world can pursue a US CPA. The biggest motivation that pushed many accounting aspirants to take up US CPA Course is that you can prepare and attend the exam from anywhere.
You don’t have to be a resident of the US. However, you can work for US companies that will pay you a handsome amount.
The following article is a step-by-step guide on how you can become a US CPA from India.
Why Pursue US CPA?
Before starting, the first thing you will have to understand is why you have to pursue US CPA from India. Why not stick to CA? For starters, CA is a very difficult exam. Only 15% of the candidates pass the CA exam, whereas, nearly 51% of CPA candidates clear the exam. Plus, CPA has global recognition and you can easily get a job in Big 4s and other top accounting firms. It may not necessarily help you move aboard but will help you get a job in the US once you are there.
Who Can Pursue US CPA?
The best thing about US CPA is that anyone can pursue it. There is a common misconception that you should have a B.Com or have an educational background in accountancy and finance to take the US CPA exam.
However, that is not the case. Irrespective of your educational background, you can have a successful CPA, provided you are determined and dedicated.
To appear for the exam, a CPA candidate should have 120 credit hours. Each year of your college education will provide 30 credit hours. If you have done a 4-year degree, then you are safe.
However, if you have done your B.Com or any 3-year degree, then you need to earn an additional 30 credit hours.
Simandhar Education offers a US CPA Bridge Course to help you earn those additional credit hours and make you eligible to attend the CPA exam.
The best part is that the Bridge Course is integrated with our CPA curriculum. So, you don’t have to study for this course separately
Eligibility Criteria for US CPA
The eligibility of the US CPA is decided by the State Boards of the 55 states in the US. The eligibility for licensed US CPA differs slightly from one state to another. You can choose to pursue the CPA license from any one of the states.
It should be noted that passing the exam doesn’t grant you the CPA license. You must have relevant work experience as well.
Below are the basic requirements to become a licensed US CPA, as regulated by the State Boards in the US,
- Minimum of 120 credit hours
- Pass the CPA exam
- Minimum of 1-year relevant work experience
- Pass the state’s Ethics exam
Not all states will have the ethics exam. The states that do, each one will have its own ethics exam. Plus, each state will have its own requirement in terms of work experience as well. So, before choosing a State Board, have a clear understanding of the state’s requirements.
Submit the Application
Once you ensure that you have the required credit hours, you will have to submit your application. You will have to visit NASBA’s CPA Central portal and upload all the necessary documents to submit your application. Once the documents are verified, you will receive your NTS (Notice To Schedule) using which you can schedule the exam. Please note that the NTS is valid only for 6 months. So, it is mandatory to take the exam within 6 months. Post that, you will have to apply for a new NTS.
Schedule your CPA exam
Look for the closest Prometric test center near your residence and schedule the CPA exam using the NTS. In India, CPA Prometric test centers are located in 8 cities. They are,
- New Delhi
The exams will happen frequently. So, you don’t have to rush to take the exams.
The Uniform CPA Examination comprises 4 sections, with each section having an allotted time of 4 hours. Below are the 4 exams,
- AUD (Auditing and Attestation)
- BEC (Business Environment and Concepts)
- FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting)
- REG (Regulation)
The candidates have the liberty to take all the exams in one go or take it separately. It is advisable to take the exams separately. The exams can also be taken in any random order. Most candidates first take the exam they are confident about. The maximum timeline to complete all the exams is 18 months. However, most of our students clear the exam in 9 months.
The exam pattern consists of two parts – 50% MCQs and 50%Task-Based Simulations (TBS). In each exam, you will have to score a minimum of 75 marks with the maximum being 99.
US CPA Exam Fees
The overall fees for the CPA exam come to about INR 2,20,000 approximately. The fees include the application fee, international testing fee, and the subject fee. Below is the cost breakdown of the CPA exam.
International Testing Fee- $1500
Application Fee- $225
The total you will be paying is $2725 which translates to Indian rupees as 2,20,2000 roughly.
Preparing for the CPA exam
Now, we have come to the most important part – preparing for the US CPA exam. Although it is relatively easy to pass CPA, you still need to put in hard work and dedication. The first step is to identify the right training institute. Faculty, study materials, guidance, and placement assistance are some of the things you need to see in a training institute. Then, create a study plan and use the study materials and faculty guidance to understand the concepts.
With the help of the right training institute, ideally, you should be able to clear the CPA exam in 9 to 12 months. If you already have enough experience and meet other eligibility criteria as mandated by the State Board, then you will get the license. Officially, you are a US CPA now.