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Continuous testing available to CPA exam candidates

BOA Business

Anne Janotta Erickson, MNCPA senior business & industry marketing coordinator | May 2020 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated May 1, 2020

CPA exam candidates: Your testing window is closing. This is good news!

Keep reading to better understand this recent NASBA change as well as other nuances related to the CPA exam certification process.

Understanding continuous testing

Currently, candidates can only sit for the CPA exam during designated “testing windows.”

This changes July 1, 2020.

That’s when the Minnesota Board of Accountancy and 40 other jurisdictions begin offering continuous testing to CPA candidates. This should be available in all jurisdictions by 2021. 

Continuous testing allows candidates to sit for the CPA exam year-round. The only restriction is that candidates must wait to receive scores from prior attempts of the same section before sitting again.

Initial CPA certification 101

If the phrase “testing window” feels like a blast from your past, perhaps it’s time for a CPA certification refresher course.

Here’s a rundown on the four requirements for CPA certification in Minnesota:

Exam

Candidates have four hours to complete each section of the exam. Sections are taken individually and in any order at a Prometric test center. 
  • Auditing and attestation (AUD).
  • Business environment and concepts (BEC).
  • Financial accounting and reporting (FAR).
  • Regulations (REG).

Education

In Minnesota, college credit requirements to sit for the CPA exam differ from those to become certified.
  • 120 semester credits needed to sit, including certain accounting-related courses.
  • 150 semester credits needed to become certified, including a total of 48 hours in business-related subjects and intermediate or higher accounting coursework (counting the 24 originally earned to sit for the exam).

Experience

Earn a minimum of 2,000 hours of work experience using accounting, attest, compilation, tax, consulting or other skills noted in the BOA’s rules. The experience can be in industry, government, education or public practice. Experience must be earned in no less than one year and no more than three years.

  • Paid internships count provided the candidate didn’t use the internship to fulfill the education requirements.

  • Only CPAs with a current active or inactive status certificate in the state where the candidate gained the experience can verify a candidate’s work experience.

Ethics exam

Take a specific self-study ethics exam, available for purchase through the AICPA.

  • Select the product labeled “for licensure.”
  • Successfully complete it within two years of the date you apply for licensure.

 

Prometric closures impact some CPA exam candidates

Relief could be in sight for some CPA exam candidates impacted by the current closure of Prometric test centers due to COVID-19. Extensions could be available for those with:

  • Notice to Schedule expirations between April 1–June 30, 2020.
  • Credit expirations for those within an open NTS and credits expiring through June 30, 2020.

At the time this article was written, the BOA was to review at the April board meeting a comprehensive list provided by NASBA of all those affected.

Questions?

The BOA certifies CPAs in Minnesota. The BOA can be reached at 651-296-7938 or www.boa.state.mn.us.

Looking for CPA certification resources? Start by visiting the MNCPA’s Becoming a CPA section at www.mncpa.org/becoming-a-cpa. And we’re always a call or email away. Reach out at 952-831-2707 or customerservice@mncpa.org.