A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license is one of the most valuable certifications for accountants. This license differentiates accountants from regular bookkeepers in many ways.

CPAs can perform almost every accounting-related task, such as bookkeeping, financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting, taxation, and much more.

Each state in the US has specific requirements for how to get a CPA license. These requirements are usually similar across all states.

However, each state’s accountancy board may add or remove some conditions to the process. For Virginia, the Virginia Board of Accountancy handles the licensure process and sets the requirements for it.

How to become a CPA in Virginia?

Like other states, prospective CPAs must go through three stages before applying for the CPA license. Firstly, they must acquire formal education which meets the requirements set by the board.

From there, they can get the knowledge and skills to pass the Uniform CPA Exam, which is the second step. Lastly, they must also acquire practical experience that puts their education to use.

Once aspiring CPAs go through all these steps, they can apply for their CPA license in Virginia. However, there are some requirements that candidates must meet along every step in the above process first.

Educational Requirements

Obtaining formal education can help aspiring CPAs understand the fundamentals of accounting, taxation, management, and much more. It is crucial for acquiring the knowledge to pass the Uniform CPA exam. The educational requirements for the CPA license in Virginia include the following.

  • Candidates must enrol in an accounting program with an accredited university in Virginia. This program must allow them to comply with the Virginia Board of Accountancy rules. Similarly, it must involve 150 semester hours of college credit and earn them a bachelor’s degree.
  • The board may accept the credit hours of candidates who have already enrolled in or graduated from an accounting program recently. However, they must confirm that it is accredited by an organization acceptable to the board.
  • For non-accredited programs, the board must review the credits before allowing candidates to sit for the Uniform CPA exam.
  • Candidates must enrol in required courses. In Virginia, aspiring CPAs need at least 120 hours of college coursework and must hold a minimum of bachelor’s degree. The course must include the following.
    • 24 semester hours of accounting classes, including courses in the following.
      • Auditing
      • Financial Accounting
      • Management Accounting
      • Taxation
    • 24 semester hours of business classes, which includes no more than 6 semester hours of to be in accounting courses.
    • Introductory accounting and principles courses cannot substitute for any of the above 48 hours of business and accounting credit requirements.

Uniform CPA Exam

Taking and passing the Uniform CPA exam is the next step in obtaining a CPA license in Virginia. The exam tests candidates’ knowledge of accounting and business along the areas mentioned above. Candidates who have completed 120 semester hours of the 150 hours and have received a bachelor’s degree can sit for the exam.

Candidates must go through the following steps to take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.

  • Candidates must use the Virginia Board of Accountancy’s online application to apply for the exam. They must include the following required documents with the application.
    • Their official college transcript
    • A copy of your driver’s license
    • Payment of exam and application fees
    • Testing accommodations requirements if any
  • Candidates must wait for their Authorization to Test from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and then for the Notification to Schedule. Once they get the notification, they can schedule their exam.

Experience Requirements

The last step before getting a CPA license in Virginia is to meet the necessary experience requirements. These include the following.

  • Candidates must complete the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Professional Ethics Home Study course, consisting of 8 semester hours. They must do so before applying.
  • They must complete one year (or 2,000 hours) of paid accounting work experience. The experience can be full-time or part-time and can be in academia, industry, government or public accounting. Similarly, it must meet the following requirements.
    • It must consist of a mentoring experience. Therefore, candidates must complete this experience under the provision of a licensed CPA. Self-employment and tax preparation does not apply as it is not a mentoring experience.
    • Candidates who supervise other public accountants and sign or authorize others to sign their firm’s financial statements must complete two years of experience. It must include 600 hours in audits or audit reviews.
  • The work experience must include the following competencies.
    • Accounting Skills
    • Financial Skills
    • Tax skills
    • Other skills relevant to the accounting profession
  • Candidates must provide their supervising CPA with the Verification of Experience Form with a stamped envelope. The supervisor must then send it to the board.

Summary

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

  • Candidates must start with meeting the educational requirements set by the Virginia Board of Accountancy.
  • They must take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
  • They must then meet the experience requirements from the board.
  • They must apply for their Virginia CPA license.

References

  1. “Virginia Board of Accountancy” – https://boa.virginia.gov
  2. “Education Requirements” – https://boa.virginia.gov/cpa-exam/requirements/
  3. “Initial License” – https://boa.virginia.gov/individual-cpas/initial-license/
  4. “Virginia | NASBA” – https://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/virginia/