Like other states, South Carolina also sets specific requirements for prospective CPAs to get their license. These requirements come from the South Carolina Board of Accountancy.

The requirements consist of three steps, which are similar to other states. However, the specifics may differ as per each state. The same applies to South Carolina as well.

How to become a CPA in South Carolina?

Prospective CPAs in South Carolina must go through three steps to get their CPA license. It starts with formal education from an accredited university.

The next step is for candidates to take their Uniform CPA Exam. Lastly, they must also complete the experience requirements set by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. Going through all of these is crucial to obtain a CPA license.

Educational Requirements

Prospective CPAs must start with obtaining education from a university first. This education is crucial to understand the fundamentals of accounting, finance, taxation, etc. Candidates must acquire knowledge of the relevant subjects that can help them pass the Uniform CPA Exam and also help them later with experience.

There are some specific requirements that candidates must fulfil when obtaining their formal education. These include the following.

  • Candidates must enrol in a South Carolina university that has an accounting program. The university must be accredited with one of the states identified agencies.
  • Candidates must ensure the South Carolina Board of Accountancy will accept their college credits. The same applies to those who have already qualified or enrolled in a university.
  • Candidate must sign up for the appropriate college courses. The board states that all licensed CPAs in the stated need 150 hours of credit and a bachelor’s degree. The 150 semester hours must include the following.
    • 36 semester hours of accounting courses with 24 semester hours of the total being at a junior level or above. These courses must include the following.
      • Auditing
      • Financial accounting
      • Managerial accounting
      • Taxation
    • 36 semester hours of business courses, which include the following.
      • Business law
      • Computer science
      • Economics
      • Ethics
      • Finance
      • Management
      • Marketing
      • Statistics

Uniform CPA Exam

Once candidates meet their formal education requirements, they must take the Uniform CPA Exam. However, candidates with at least 120 semester hours of credit can also apply.

Their 120 hours must include 24 semester hours of accounting and 24 semester hours of business courses. Candidates must go through the following steps to take the Uniform CPA Exam.

  • Candidates must apply online at CPA Examination Services (CPAES). With their application, they must also include the following required documentation.
    • Official college transcripts sent directly from their school to the CPAES.
    • Any disability testing accommodations requests if needed.
    • Application and examination fee as applicable.
  • Once candidates receive their notice to schedule, they must schedule their exam at one of the approved testing locations.

Experience Requirements

Once candidates pass the exam, they must go through practical experience to apply their knowledge. This step is crucial in obtaining a CPA license. The board has the following requirements for candidates to go through the experience requirements.

  • Candidates must take and pass Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course, a home-study course on professional ethics, before continuing with the licensure process. They must get at least 90% on the course to pass.
  • They must complete at least 24 semester hours of the 36 semester hours of accounting courses before satisfying the practical experience requirements. Candidates who have not completed it cannot earn credit for qualifying experience.
  • The board provides two methods of completing the experience.
    • The first method includes the following process.
      • Candidates must earn at least one year (or 2,000 hours of part-time work) of accounting experience.
      • This experience may be in public, governmental or private employment.
      • This experience may include both full-time and part-time employment.
      • Candidates might not earn more than 40 hours of experience per week.
      • They must include the following competencies in their experience.
        • Audits/governmental audits
        • Compilations
        • Financial statements without reports
        • Other services
        • Prospective financial information
        • Reviews
        • Taxes
      • The experience must be supervised and reviewed by a licensed CPA.
      • Candidates must sign and approve the Certificate of Experience Package from their supervising CPA.
    • The second method includes the following process.
      • Candidates must obtain at least five years of experience teaching accounting courses in an accredited college or university on a full-time basis.
      • The schedule must include at least 12 semester hours per year, to qualify as full-time teaching.
      • Candidates must teach accounting subjects only. It does not include the following courses.
        • Business law
        • Computer applications
        • economics
        • Finance
        • Personnel management
        • Statistics
      • Candidates must include accounting principles or fundamental accounting level courses for more than two years of the five-year requirement.
      • Candidates must document the experience on Board Form 2102T.
  • Candidates must submit the completed Certificate of Experience form only after meeting one of the above requirements.

Summary

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

  • Candidates must go through the educational requirements set by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy.
  • They must then pass their Uniform CPA Exam.
  • After that, they must meet the experience requirements set by the board.
  • Finally, they must apply for their South Carolina CPA license.

References

  1. “South Carolina Board of Accountancy – SCLLR” – https://llr.sc.gov/acct/
  2. “Applications and Forms” – https://llr.sc.gov/acct/pub.aspx
  3. “South Carolina | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/southcarolina/