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Ensure your CPA status is ready for anything

BOA Business

Anne Janotta Erickson, MNCPA membership marketing team leader | September 2020 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated August 31, 2020

COVID-19 has and continues to leave its mark on our economy. As businesses struggle to stay afloat, many employees are wondering how or when their jobs will be impacted.

Economic downturns often force us to consider how to make ourselves more professionally marketable. For CPAs, the natural first step is to consider your certificate status.

Know the facts surrounding your CPA certificate status options to ensure you’re professionally ready for anything.

What are my options?

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy (BOA) allows CPAs to maintain an active CPA certificate or to go inactive.

CPAs working in public accounting don’t get a choice. They’re required to maintain an active CPA certificate. But corporate CPAs can choose between active and inactive certification.

Key differences between the two status options include:

Seamless job transitions

Active CPAs can conduct all professional services allowed under BOA rules. During a recession, this provides a layer of flexibility allowing you to easily transition between corporate and public accounting. It also means you can operate your own tax practice on the side.

Use of the credential

There’s no holding back when you hold an active CPA certificate. That means you can display your certification without restriction when marketing yourself professionally on LinkedIn or on your resume. It can also be listed on business cards or company marketing materials.
Inactive CPAs don’t enjoy that flexibility. Instead, an inactive CPA must indicate their status when using the credential. Example: Connie P. Allan, CPA (inactive)

Earning CPE

Active CPAs must maintain 120 CPE credits per rolling three-year reporting period, with a minimum of 20 hours per fiscal year. They must report their credits annually to the Minnesota BOA. 

Inactive CPAs don’t have a CPE requirement and, therefore, have nothing to report to the Minnesota BOA.

Either way — don’t forget to renew!

Renewing your CPA certificate is an annual obligation, whether it’s active or inactive. Your renewal deadline is always Dec. 31.

Making a change

Ready to make the status switch? Here’s the scoop:

Inactive to active

You can switch to active status anytime once you’ve earned enough CPE (120 credits within three years of the preceding application). Submit necessary paperwork and fees to the BOA. For an effective date of Jan. 1, complete the BOA’s online renewal form. Otherwise, submit the Status Change to Active form.

Active to inactive

A status change to inactive can only be made during the BOA’s renewal period (mid-September through Dec. 31) with an effective date of Jan. 1. Indicate the status change within the BOA’s renewal form. Double check that your CPE credits are in compliance, as this is the only way you’ll be allowed to switch to inactive.


Your CPA certificate is issued and regulated through the Minnesota BOA. Contact them at 651-296-7938 or

The MNCPA is always here to help.
Learn more about going active at Or reach out at 952-831-2707 or