How to start CPA USA preparation?

Ever since CPA US has opened its exam center in India (2020), the demand for CPA US has increased many folds in India. With the exam centers available in India, now the Indian students need not travel abroad for giving the exam. Hence a major expense has been reduced drastically making the CPA US an affordable venture.

Eligibility for US CPA

Unlike other professional exams, CPA US has a strict eligibility criteria for students from foreign origin (outside USA). Since all Indians fall under the foreign origin, it is very important to know if we are eligible for the CPA US program.

The NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) is a central body which controls the eligibility and examination for all the State Boards in the USA. Each state in the USA has their own eligibility criteria for the CPA US examination. Hence, there are 55 different eligibility criteria to be considered for going for the CPA USA examination.

To simplify the process, NASBA has introduced a study credit point process. You need to have a min of 120 credit point to be eligible to sit for the exam and 150 credit points to be eligible for the CPA License upon successful completion of all the 4 exams.

As a thumb rule, for Indian student, a B Com (Hons) from any NAAC accredited university, will attract a 90 credit points. To cover up the balance 60 credit points, a student will need to have a post graduation like M Com OR a MBA in Finance/Accountancy. Hence to sit for the exam, a student needs to be a B Com (Hons) graduate and should have completed 1st year of post graduation. This will give the student a 120 credit points which will make the student eligible for sitting in the exam.

The above is only a thumb rule concept. The actual evaluation has more fine detailing and is a complex process which can be done only by professional experts.

Credential Evaluation for CPA US

Once you know that you are eligible, you now need to send your University transcripts to NASBA for a physical verification. This involves the following steps :

  1. Apply to your Graduation and PG university for the transcript
  2. The transcript preparation time is around 30-60 days depending on the university
  3. The transcripts has to be put in a sealed envelope and couriered directly to NASBA by the issuing University
  4. On receipt of the documents, the same is verified by NASBA within 6 weeks of receipt
  5. The Credential Evaluation report is mailed to you and the State Board thru which you are applying

The complete process of Credential evaluation takes around 3-4 months depending on the University and the time taken by NASBA.

Apply for NTS (Notice to Schedule)

Once you are ready to go for an exam, you need to pay the relevant CPA USA exam fees and apply for the NTS from the state board to whom you have applied. The NTS can be issued only by the respective State Board for which your Credential Evaluation has been done. You cannot do an evaluation of State A and then apply for NTS from State B. The NTS takes around 2-3 weeks to be issued.

Schedule your CPA USA exam

The NTS which has been issued to you will be valid for 6-12 months depending on the state from where it has been issued. You will need to give your exam before the NTS expires. Exams are held in various Prometric Centers across the world. The exam can be scheduled as per the seat availability in the respective Prometric Center. While doing the scheduling, you will need to provide the NTS approval to Prometric without which the exam scheduling is not possible.

Once you have scheduled the exam, you will not be able to reschedule the same without a valid reason (typically serious medical condition or family deaths)

About the CPA USA exam

The CPA exam consists of 4 papers. The syllabus and exam pattern will be changing from 2024. To check the changes, please visit our blog here

There is no sequencing for the papers. This means that you can give any paper first which you feel that you are ready for. However, once you clear any one of the papers, you will need to clear the balance 3 papers within a time of 18 months. In case you are not able to clear it within 18 months, then the first paper will become in valid and the 18 months window will be counted from the date you cleared your 2nd paper and you will need to re-appear for the 1st paper again.

Training for the CPA US program

This is the key part of the whole journey of CPA. A lot of students have the notion of doing a self study for this program. It should be noted that the exam pattern is NOT the same as our Indian professional exams like CA/CMA/CS. The evaluation is completely conceptual in nature.

A few students feel that they can pass by just reading books. Hence they invest heavily on expensive review materials and try to do a self study and fail miserably.

Please note that you cannot experiment with the exams as each exams costs around USD 600. So failing once exam will cost you a huge money.

Summary diagram of the CPA process

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *