How to become a CPA in Hawaii? Requirements and Step by Step

The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy handles the CPA licensure procedure in Hawaii. Prospective CPAs looking to get their Hawaii CPA license must register with the board to do so.

While the steps to becoming a CPA in any state across the US are the same, the specific requirements may differ. These requirements come from each state’s accountancy boards.

How to become a CPA in Hawaii?

Like other states, prospective CPAs in Hawaii must start their licensure journey by obtaining formal education. Next, they must sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, which they must pass with satisfactory scores.

Lastly, they must go through a period of professional experience. During all these steps, they must satisfy the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s requirements. Once they do so, they can apply for their CPA license in Hawaii.

Educational Requirements

For aspiring CPAs, understanding the fundamentals of accounting is crucial. They can do so by obtaining a formal education in an accounting program.

Through this education, they can not only get a degree but also understand the basics of accounting. Aspiring CPAs must ensure their education meets the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s requirements, which are as below.

  • Aspiring CPAs enroll in an accredited college or university in Hawaii that offers an accounting program. Similarly, they must complete at least a bachelor’s degree and 150 hours of college credit.
  • The board also accepts those who have already completed their education or are in the process of doing so. However, this education is subject to approval from the board.
  • Similarly, aspiring CPAs with education from a foreign university can also apply. However, they must get their credentials evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Services.
  • Aspiring CPAs must take the right classes according to the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s requirements. The 150 semester hours requirements must include the following.
    • 24 semester hours of courses in accounting, of which 18 must be in upper-division undergraduate- or graduate-level accounting courses. It may include the following subjects.
      • Auditing
      • Financial Accounting
      • Managerial Accounting
      • Taxation
    • 24 semester hours of upper-division undergraduate- or graduate-level business-related courses, which may be accounting or non-accounting. These may include the following.
      • Business ethics
      • Business law
      • Communication skills
      • Computer science
      • Economics
      • Finance
      • Globalization
      • The legal and social environment of business
      • Marketing
      • Organizational, individual, and group behavior
      • Quantitative applications in business
      • Total quality management
  • Aspiring CPAs may include correspondence, online, or community college courses in their education. However, they must have received credit for them from an accredited college.

Uniform CPA Exam

Once aspiring CPAs complete their educational period, they must prepare for the Uniform CPA Exam. There are some requirements that they must meet first, though. These consist of the following criteria.

  • Aspiring CPAs must have completed at least 18 semester hours of upper-level undergraduate (or graduate) level courses in accounting or audit.
  • Those still in college must get a statement from a college official stating they will graduate within 120 days of the exam.
  • Those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a foreign university or college must have an evaluation by an approved foreign evaluation agency. Similarly, they must have a letter of acceptance into a graduate program from an accredited college or university in the US.

Once aspiring CPAs meet the requirements above, they must go through the following process to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam.

  • Aspiring CPAs must register with the CPA Examination Services (CPAES) either online or offline. They must also submit the following with the application.
    • An official college transcript in a sealed envelope.
    • Payment by certified check or money order to the CPAES or credit card if online.
    • Foreign evaluation or ADA accommodation form if necessary.
    • Those still in college must complete a Certificate of Enrollment form.
  • Aspiring CPAs must then schedule their exam once they receive their Notice to Schedule.

Experience Requirements

Aspiring CPAs must finally go through the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s experience requirements to get their CPA license. They can choose between one of the two pathways for obtaining this experience, which is as below.

  • Aspiring CPAs must complete 1500 chargeable hours in auditing while working in a public accounting firm as a full-time employee. This experience must involve the use of Generally Accepted Principles (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS).
  • Or, they must complete two years of professional experience as a full-time employee in one of the following areas.
    • Academia/Education
    • Government
    • Private industry or private sector
    • Public accounting practice
  • Aspiring CPAs must complete their portion of the Certification of Public Accountancy Experience form and have their supervisor complete the rest. They must then return it to the board with their Application for License-CPA packet.

Summary

Given below is a summary of how to become a CPA in Hawaii.

  • Aspiring CPAs must meet the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s educational requirements.
  • They must then register for the Uniform CPA Exam with the CPAES and pass each section of it.
  • Then, they must go through one of the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s options for experience requirements.
  • Lastly, they must apply for their Hawaii CPA license.

References

  1. “Board of Public Accountancy” – https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/accountancy/
  2. “Board of Public Accountancy Application Forms & Publications” – https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/accountancy/application_publications/
  3. “Hawaii | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/hawaii/