Aspiring CPAs in Colorado have to get a CPA license in the state to practice in their trade. All CPAs have to register with the Colorado State Board of Accountancy to do so.

The board handles all licensure processes for any CPA licenses in the state. Aspiring CPAs must also fulfill the requirements set by the board in three different steps, including education, exam, and experience.

How to become a CPA in Colorado?

Aspiring CPAs in Colorado have to start their CPA licensure journey by obtaining formal education. Next, they have to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in the state and pass it with satisfactory results.

Next, they must go through a practical experience period in the state. For each of these steps, aspiring CPAs must fulfill the requirements set by the Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

Educational Requirements

Aspiring CPAs must understand the basics of accounting before getting their license. The goal for these candidates is to acquire formal education first.

This education can then help them down the line with their exam and practical experience. As mentioned, there are some requirements for them to satisfy. These come from the Colorado State Board of Accountancy and include the following.

  • Aspiring CPAs must enroll in a college or university that offers accounting programs in Colorado. During this period, they must complete a bachelor’s degree.
  • Some aspiring CPAs may have already enrolled in or graduated from a college. However, they can still apply to the board. Before doing so, they must ensure the Colorado State Board of Accountancy will accept their credentials.
  • Some aspiring CPAs that have completed education from outside the US may also be applicable. However, they must get an evaluation from a member agency of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
  • Aspiring CPAs must also register for the right courses in one of the three scenarios from the board. These scenarios depend on the date when they received their bachelor’s degree and applied for certification.
  • For aspiring CPAs applying for certification after 2015, it is crucial to get a bachelor’s degree. Similarly, they must complete additional 30 hours of non-duplicative courses or a higher degree. They must also include the following in their semester hours.
    • 27 semester hours of accounting courses that are upper-division. These may include the following.
      • Accounting ethics
      • Accounting research and analysis
      • Accounting information systems
      • Accounting theory
      • Financial accounting/reporting for government and nonprofit entities
      • Financial accounting/reporting for business organizations
      • Fraud examination
      • Financial statement analysis
      • Managerial accounting
      • Cost accounting
      • Internal controls and risk assessment
      • Tax research and analysis
      • Taxation
      • 6 semester hours of accounting courses. Of these, 3 semester hours must be in auditing courses related to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The rest may be in one of the following.
        • Advanced auditing
        • Another subset of basic auditing
        • Fraud
        • Information technology auditing
      • 3 semester hours in an accounting ethics course.
    • 27 semester hours in business administration courses that are upper-division. These must include the following.
      • 3 semester hours must be in the following areas.
        • Accounting communications
        • Business communications
        • Technical communications
      • The remaining semester hours may include the following courses.
        • The behavior of organizations, persons, and groups
        • Business communications
        • Business ethics
        • Business law
        • Computer information systems
        • Economics
        • Finance
        • The legal and social environment of business
        • Management
        • Marketing
        • Quantitative applications in business
        • Statistics
      • 30 additional semester hours must come within five years of passing the Uniform CPA Exam.
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Uniform CPA Exam

The next step for aspiring CPAs is to sit for their Uniform CPA Exam. They must go through the following process to do so.

  • Aspiring CPAs must register with CPA Examination Services. They must also submit the following documents with their application.
    • Their official and original college transcripts.
    • A completed and signed Colorado First-Time application for the exam.
    • A completed and signed Affidavit of Eligibility and a copy of their identification.
    • A completed, signed, and notarized Attestation form.
    • The required application fees.
    • For those still enrolled in college, it must also include a Certificate of the Enrollment Form.
  • They must then schedule their exam after receiving their Notice to Schedule. There are four locations where they can register.

Experience Requirements

Lastly, aspiring CPAs must meet the experience requirements of the Colorado State Board of Accountancy. Candidates have the option to choose the Education in Lieu of Experience option.

It is only applicable to those who have a bachelor’s degree with 150 semester hours, of which 45 semester hours are in accounting courses and 36 semester hours are in business administration courses.

If they don’t have the above requirements, they must go through one year (or 1,800 hours) of supervised work experience. It must satisfy the following criteria.

  • It must include full- or part-time experience obtained not more than five years before applying for certification.
  • It must be verified by a licensed CPA from either Colorado or other states.
  • It must be in one of the following areas.
    • Academia
    • Government
    • Private Industry
    • Public Accounting

Aspiring CPAs must also submit a Certificate of Experience from each of their employers if they go for the second option.

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Summary

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

  • Aspiring CPAs must meet the Colorado State Board of Accountancy’s educational requirements.
  • They must sit for the Colorado Uniform CPA exam.
  • They must meet the Colorado State Board of Accountancy’s experience requirements.
  • They must apply for their Colorado CPA license.

References

  1. “Colorado Board of Accountancy” – https://dpo.colorado.gov/Accountancy
  2. “Colorado | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/colorado/