CPA Exam & Licensure
What You Need To Know...
Becker Professional Education Newsletter
The information provided here is intended to inform candidates about the application
process, administration, and general format and structure of the computerized uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Much of the content below is intended
to assist Missouri examination candidates. Since state regulations vary, CPA exam candidates are encouraged to apply to sit
for the exam in the state in which they plan to practice. The CPA exam format and content does change periodically. Accordingly,
candidates should review the information posted on the websites listed below; information about the CPA exam is updated periodically.
The Missouri State Board of Accountancy (MOSBA) is part of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration of the Department
of Economic Development. Every state has a body like this to regulate the profession in its own state.
The State Board sets forth and upholds the state accountancy laws and regulates licensure in Missouri.
MOSBA has engaged CPA Examination Services
(CPAES), a division of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), for application processing,
credential evaluation, and grade reporting.
Since 1917, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
has written and graded the CPA exam. Individual states are responsible for establishing the educational requirements to sit
for the exam.
questions have been designed to assist Missouri candidates in understanding the application process and CPA exam structure
and format. 1. When is the
CPA exam offered? When are the testing windows?
Candidates may sit for one or more sections
of the CPA exam during any of the following four annual testing windows:
January - February
April - May
July - August
October - November
What educational requirements must candidates meet to sit for the CPA exam?
Missouri CPA candidates
must have at least one hundred fifty (150) semester hours of college education, including a baccalaureate or higher degree
conferred by an accredited college or university recognized by the board with a concentration or major in accounting or substantially
the equivalent of a concentration in accounting. At least eighteen (18) of the thirty-three (33) hours must
be taken at the upper division level. The remaining twenty-seven (27) semester hours shall be in accounting or other areas
of business administration.
Are candidates able to apply to sit for the CPA exam prior to completing their coursework?
who are currently enrolled in college may be permitted to take the exam as long as all courses and graduation requirements
are completed no later than 60 days following the actual date the candidate took their first test section(s).
These candidates must submit a completed Certificate of Enrollment form and a relevant transcript. The
Certificate of Enrollment form.
may also want to consider an optional pre-evaluation service that is available to help identify academic deficiencies before submitting an application.
4. Do candidates need to apply to the MOSBA to sit for the CPA exam?
should apply to sit for the exam in the state in which they plan to practice and become licensed. The requirements differ
from state to state. Candidates who plan to practice and be certified or licensed in Missouri need to apply to the CPAES,
a division of NASBA, which is responsible for application processing, credential evaluation, and grade reporting.
You may call CPA Examination Services at 800-CPA-EXAM or visit them at www.nasba.org.
You may also download the application.
Candidates are advised to read NASBA’s "The Candidate Bulletin" before submitting their application.
Missouri, all questions should be forwarded to:
CPA Examination Services
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469 #800-CPA-EXAM
Generally, if a candidate wishes to become
licensed in another state, the candidate must have fulfilled that state’s educational requirements as of the date they
sat for the first exam section. If an individual is licensed in another state and wants to
obtain a reciprocal CPA certificate/license, they should contact the state’s board of accountancy.
What are the eligibility requirements to sit for the exam?
An applicant must be:
resident, or regularly employed in or have a place of business in Missouri, and
good moral character
6. How do you apply? The application process for Missouri CPA exam candidates incorporates the following steps:
A candidate submits an application and fee to CPAES to be authorized
to take one to four different sections of the CPA exam. (See Question #19 for discussion of the number of sections
to include in the application.)
The CPAES, on behalf of the MOSBA, issues an approval
letter to the candidate. An Authorization to Test (ATT) is sent to NASBA, which maintains a national database of CPA candidates.
This database is referred to at the National Candidate Database and/or Gateway. The ATT will be valid for
After receiving the Board’s ATT, CPAES contacts the candidate requesting payment
of examination fees. This fee covers the costs of computer test time, digital photo taken at the test center, scoring, etc.
The full fee must be paid for all sections authorized regardless of when the candidate intends to take each
part in the six-month time period. (see next bullet for more information on the six-month time period).
After receiving the examination fees from the candidate, CPAES issues a Notice to Schedule
(NTS) to the candidate and also informs the MOSBA. The candidate is instructed to contact a Prometric testing center to schedule
a day and time for testing. The NTS is valid for six months. The candidate must schedule and take those sections that
were authorized within six months of the NTS issue date. Each authorized section can be scheduled individually
within the 6-month time period unlike the payment coupon which requires one payment for all sections.
The candidate will take the authorized section(s) at a Prometric testing center. (See Questions #23
through #26 for additional information.) Candidate CPA exam responses are sent daily from
Prometric to the AICPA. The AICPA does not release scores to the Board immediately after a testing
event. Scores are released in two waves—one in the middle of the second month of testing, and the
second release in the middle of the month after the close of the window. Scores are first processed through
the National Candidate Database and then forwarded to the MOSBA. The State Board performs necessary quality
control measures and mails the scores to candidates as quickly as possible.
What are the sections of the CPA exam? How long does each section take?
four sections are:
· Auditing and Attestation (AUDIT) – 4.5 hours
· Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) – 2.5 hours
Financial Accounting & Reporting
(FAR) – 4.0 hours
· Regulation (REG) – 3.0 hours
Are there any other certification requirements for Missouri candidates who have successfully completed all four sections
of the CPA exam? Yes, Missouri
candidates are also required to pass a separate exam on the Rules of Professional Conduct (AICPA Ethics Exam) before they
will be certified by the MOSBA as CPAs. This requirement does not need to be met within the 18-month rolling time period.
For more information go to:
9. What is the general structure of the CPA exam?
Sample CPA exams and a tutorial are provided by the AICPA and are available on the CPA exam website at www.cpa-exam.org.
AICPA tutorial and sample CPA exams provide candidates with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with each of the question
formats used in each of the four CPA exam sections. The other three parts of the CPA exam are comprised of multiple-choice
and simulation testlets. (A simulation is a case study that tests candidates’ knowledge and skills using real-life,
Candidates should consult the AICPA website at www.cpa-exam.org for new information as it becomes available since the CPA exam format does change periodically. For example, the BEC
section is expected to change in early 2007 to include simulation testlets. In addition, the format
of the simulations on the other three sections will change in January 2006. It is important to consult
the AICPA website frequently for new tutorials and sample tests.
What is the content of the CPA exam?
The AICPA provides CPA exam content details, referred
to as “Content Specification Outlines” (CSOs) on its website at www.cpa-exam.org. The CSOs contain a listing of general topics, the approximate weights of testable topics for each exam section, and reference
sources for candidates. Note that the CPA exam now includes economics, finance, and technology topics. Candidates are also
required to demonstrate research and communication skills by completing simulations. Candidates should consult the AICPA website
at www.cpa-exam.org for new information as it becomes available since the CPA exam content does change periodically.
11. How do candidates get free software
to practice database research skills for FAR and AUDIT simulations?
To access the AICPA professional literature package to practice
database research skills for FAR and AUDIT simulations, visit www.cpa-exam.org. Please note that there is currently no free
software to practice tax research skills for REG simulations. Free software is not needed for BEC since at this time the exam
is all multiple-choice.
12. What areas of study are most
important to pass the CPA exam?
The following table presents suggested areas of study that candidates,
at a minimum, should have completed prior to sitting for the CPA exam. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, as
professional work experience, previous college coursework, and general level of preparedness varies among candidates. Note
that Missouri does require the completion of at least one course in each of the following subjects: financial accounting,
auditing, taxation, and managerial accounting.
|Suggested Areas of Study|
Financial statement auditing performed
by external auditors|
· Statistical sampling and auditing with technology may be helpful
|Financial Accounting & Reporting|
|· Intermediate accounting or financial reporting|
· Advanced financial accounting covering partnership accounting,
combinations, and consolidations
· Governmental and nonprofit accounting
Business law including professional
and legal responsibilities and the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct|
· Individual income taxation
Corporate and partnership taxation
Taxation of estates, trusts, and exempt
organizations may be helpful
|Business Environment & Concepts|
|· Micro and macro economics|
· Corporate finance
· Formation, operation, and dissolution of various businesses organizations
Managerial and cost accounting
Even if you have passed all four parts
of the exam, Missouri will not issue a CPA certificate until you provide proof that you have taken and passed the required
ethics exam. Click here for information. |13. Are there review courses available to help candidates prepare for the CPA exam?
Yes, Missouri Society of CPAs (MSCPA) student members receive a $300 discount
off of the full four-part course tuition.
Join Here! To contact Becker Professional Education, call 800.868.3900, or go online http://www.becker.com.
14. Will the exam content continue to be confidential?
Yes, the CPA examination
will continue to be a non-disclosed exam. Candidates are required to agree to a statement of confidentiality prohibiting the
disclosure of any examination information, content, or format.
May candidates select the order in which the four CPA exam sections are taken?
Yes, candidates are free
to sit for the four exam sections in any desired order. There is no recommended sequence.
16. Is there a time limit within which candidates must successfully complete all four sections of the
Yes, once a candidate passes their first exam section, an 18-month rolling time period begins.
This means that all remaining CPA exam sections must be successfully completed within 18-months from the date the candidate
sat for the first successfully completed section. The ethics exam requirement does not need to be met within the 18-month
rolling time period.
17. Must a candidate sit for all
four CPA exam sections within a single testing window?
No, a candidate may schedule between one to four
different exam sections in each testing window. A candidate can only schedule the section(s) approved in each application.
(See Question #6 regarding the application process.)
What strategy should a candidate follow with respect to the timing of taking the exam sections?
are encouraged to carefully plan the timing of their test-taking. Accordingly, before completing their application to the
MOSBA, candidates should anticipate when they plan to take each section of the exam. Candidates apply to sit for one to four
different CPA exam sections on the application form. Even though the application fees are lower when applying for four sections
at once, this may not be the best strategy for most candidates. Candidates must remember that the NTS is effective for only
six months. Thus, candidates who apply for multiple sections must schedule and take them within six months. If a candidate’s
NTS expires, the candidate must then reapply and pay all the related fees again in order to be able to schedule. On the other
hand, candidates who plan to take only one exam section in each testing window will use up approximately 12 months of their
18-month rolling time period; that would leave only approximately 6 months for retaking any section(s) not passed. For these
reasons, whenever possible, candidates are encouraged to sit for all four exam sections within two consecutive testing windows
to allow adequate time for retake(s), if needed.
a candidate is approved to take and pay for multiple CPA exam sections at once, must the candidate sit for all sections within
a single testing window?
No, candidates are not required to sit for all sections within one testing window.
Missouri candidates should be aware that each approval letter and subsequent payment coupon issued by CPAES is valid for only
90 days, and the NTS is valid for only six months. Therefore, a Missouri candidate who applies for and pays for multiple sections
at one time must take all those sections within six months.
How many times may a candidate sit for an exam section?
There is no limit on the number of times a candidate
may retake a failed exam section administered in different testing windows. However, candidates who do not successfully complete
all four exam sections within the 18-month rolling time period described above will be required to retake the earliest section
passed until all four parts are passed within a given 18-month period.
21. As a Missouri candidate, must candidates sit for the CPA exam at a Prometric test site located in Missouri?
No. Over 300 Prometric test centers throughout the United States are authorized to offer the CPA exam. To date, Missouri
has four approved CPA exam Prometric centers.
Prometric Test Centers in Missouri, Illinois, and
210 Prodo Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109 Phone:
1201 NE Rice Road, Lees Summit, MO 64086
1001 Craig Road, Suite 181, Saint Louis, MO 63146
1830 East Independence Street, Springfield, MO 65804 Phone:
402 East Plaza Drive, Suite 5, Carterville, IL 62918
1701 South Broadway, Pitts State University/206B Whitesitt Hall, Pittsburg, KS 66762
22. Are there any particular dates when the scheduling at Prometric test centers is more difficult?
Yes, candidates prefer the latter part of the second month of each testing window. Those dates are booked
more quickly than others. It is recommended that you schedule 45 or more days in advance to have the best chance of your preferred
date, time and location.
23. What are the Prometric test
of operation will vary among Prometric test centers. Some Prometric test centers offer evening and weekend hours. Please consult
www.Prometric.com/cpa for the test center hours and days of operation.
24. What rules must candidates follow at the Prometric test center?
are not permitted to bring any outside materials into the examination room. Personal items such as purses and coats are stored
in a locker outside of the examination room. A digital photo of each candidate is taken prior to the candidate being allowed
to enter the examination room. The test center will provide scratch paper for use during the examination. Hand-held calculators
are not permitted as an on-screen calculator may be accessed during the examination. Food and drink are not permitted. Candidates
cannot wear watches, but a timer displaying exam time remaining is displayed on each candidate’s monitor during the
entire exam. Candidates may exit the room during the examination only upon completion of an exam testlet. Candidates are not permitted to exit the room for any reason while working within a testlet.
While a candidate is on break outside of the examination room, the exam time continues to run. While in the examination room,
candidates are monitored via closed-circuit cameras and viewing windows. 25.
Are special accommodations available for candidates with learning and/or physical disabilities?
requiring special accommodations should notify CPAES when applying. Professional documentation of the existence of a disability
will be required to be submitted along with the original Missouri exam application materials.26. Will candidates receive a numeric score for each CPA exam section?
candidates will receive a numeric score for each exam section ranging from zero to 99. A score of 75 or higher indicates successful
completion of that exam section. In addition to the score, for sections failed candidates will receive exam performance information.27. When may candidates expect to receive their scores?
See the last bullet in question 6 for score release information.28.
If necessary, when may candidates retake a CPA exam section?
Candidates who do not pass an exam section
within a testing window may not retake that section until the next available testing window. To get a copy of the application
form for Authorization to Retest and related fee information click here.
Processing times can only be estimated. Re-examination
candidates reapplying in Missouri should allow approximately two weeks. Actual processing time for re-examination applications
can be much shorter.
29. How much do Missouri candidates
pay to sit for the CPA exam?
When candidates first apply they are responsible for the initial application
fee of $132 and the cost of any examination sections they wish to take during their first six months of eligibility; their
first Notice to Schedule (NTS). Any registration afterward is considered a "reexamination" registration, and
candidates are subject to re-examination fees in addition to the section fees. These fees are based on the number of
sections a candidate registers for:
All 4 sections: $124
Any 3 sections:
Any 2 sections: $92
One section: $71
Re-examination NTS's are also good for
six months, and the re-examination process is much faster than the initial application process (it usually only takes a few
days to receive a new NTS). The more sections a candidate registers for on an NTS, especially the first NTS, the more
cost-effective it is. However, this must be weighed against what a candidate feels capable of within the 6 months of the NTS
since there are no refunds or extensions.
Missouri, all CPA exam questions should be forwarded to:
CPA Examination Services
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469