5 Steps to Becoming a CPA in Missouri
By Susan Maphis, Accountingedu contributing writer
Updated June 2014
- Get your Education in Missouri
- Take the Uniform CPA Exam in Missouri
- Gain the Necessary Experience in Missouri
- Get your Missouri CPA License
- Continuing Education in Missouri
The first Certified Public Accountant in Missouri was Francis A. Wright, who was awarded his CPA Certificate in 1909. Accounting was still vital to Missouri’s business community prior to that, however, as the first public accountants were listed in the St. Louis Business Directory beginning in 1870.
Today, there are more than 8,000 CPAs licensed to practice in Missouri serving the accounting needs of both business and individual clients.
1. Get Your Education
*Qualifying for a CPA license requires a bachelor’s degree at minimum and a total of 150 semester hours of college credit to include coursework in accounting, business and ethics. Since bachelor’s programs typically result in just 120 semester hours of credit, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) maintains that earning a Master of Science in Accounting is the best way to achieve the full 150 semester hours you will need for your CPA license. The MS in Accounting through Syracuse University
provides the credits you need in a flexible online program designed to build upon your undergraduate education while accommodating your schedule.
a. Request literature from Missouri colleges and universities with accounting programs. The Missouri State Board of Accountancy requires each certified public accountant practicing in the state to have earned 150 semester hours of college credit and at least a bachelor’s degree.
b. Missouri has a residency requirement for its CPAs. This means that you must either be a resident of, be regularly employed in, or have a place of business in Missouri in order to be eligible to take the Uniform CPA Exam and become licensed as a CPA in Missouri.
c. If you are still attending college or have just graduated, make sure that the Missouri State Board of Accountancy will recognize your college credits. The Missouri Board of Accountancy defers to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) with regard to school accreditation. NASBA currently recognizes all regional accrediting agencies:
If you graduated from a foreign college or university, one of the following agencies must evaluate your credits. Obtain evaluation forms from the agency and have them submitted directly to CPA Examination Services, Missouri Coordinator, P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219-8469:
d. Enroll in suitable coursework. Included within your 150 semester hours of college credit and bachelor’s degree must be the following:
- 33 semester hours in accounting, including:
- 1 course in auditing
- 18 semester hours in upper division accounting courses (NOT accounting law and/or business law courses)
- 27 semester hours in general business courses
- CPA review courses are acceptable to meet the 150 semester hour credit requirement
- Commercial CPA review courses are not acceptable
- Community college courses from accredited colleges are acceptable
- Correspondence, online and CLEP courses from accredited colleges are acceptable if you receive credit for them at an accredited college
2. Take The Uniform CPA Exam
Once you have earned 150 semester hours of college credit and a bachelor’s degree, you may apply to take the Uniform CPA Exam.
Courses that include study guides and practice exams designed to help you prepare for the Uniform CPA Exam are available online through Fast Forward Academy.
a. Go to CPA Examination Services (CPAES) website, where you can register online or download application forms.
b. Send in all necessary documentation along with your completed Uniform CPA Exam application.
- Submit an official college transcript in a sealed school envelope
- If you are still attending college, along with your transcript you must submit a Certificate of Enrollment form signed by a college official, verifying your current enrollment in college
- Submit payment for application and examination fees (by mail, through check or money order payable to CPA Examination Services, or credit card form; online, by credit card only)
c. Wait to receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) the Exam from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) by mail, fax or email (depending upon the method you selected when submitted your application)
d. Go to the Prometric website to schedule your examination at a Missouri testing center. They include:
- Lees Summit
- Jefferson City
- St Louis
- Kansas City
e. Arrive at your chosen Prometric testing site on your selected examination day prepared to test.
f. Receive exam scores by mail once they are evaluated.
If you need to coordinate special accommodations for testing or require more information, call the Missouri Coordinator of CPA Examination Services at 800-CPA-EXAM. For detailed information on the Uniform CPA Exam, click here.
3. Gain The Necessary Experience
The Missouri State Board of Accountancy requires all certified public accountants to fulfill one year of accounting experience prior to licensure.
a. First, you must pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s Home Study Course on Professional Ethics. Instructions to order materials for this course may be found here.
b. Contact your college or university’s career center to help you find a suitable accounting experience opportunity. This experience must meet the following requirements:
- Be of one year (2000 hours) in duration
- Be supervised by a CPA licensed in Missouri or another state
- Be in industry, government, academia or private practice
- If in your position you are responsible for signing reports or supervising attest services, you must have an additional year (2000 hours) of experience that includes attest services, and is in:
- The practice of public accounting in a CPA firm
- Working as a government auditor
- Experience must include a combination of the following competencies and skills:
- Management Advisory
- Governmental accounting, budgeting or auditing
c. Have your supervising CPA (called the Endorser) complete the Experience section of the Application for Initial License to Practice Public Accounting.
d. Return the Endorser-Experience Addendum when you submit your completed Application to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy, 3605 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 613, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0613
4. Get Your Missouri CPA License
After satisfying educational requirements, passing the Uniform CPA exam, and satisfying experience requirements under the Missouri State Board of Accountancy, you are ready to apply for a CPA license. Make sure you have completed each of the following steps:
- Fulfill 150 semester hours of college education and earn a bachelor’s degree
- Have your college transcript sent to CPAES
- Pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Pass the AICPA Ethics Examination
- Fulfill the Board’s employment experience requirement of one year (2000 hours) of supervised work experience, or two years (4000 hours) for those intending to supervise attest services
Apply for your Missouri CPA License
- Complete the Application for Initial License to Practice Public Accounting
- List the date you passed the AICPA Ethics Exam
- List your experience and then give the application to your Endorser to complete
- Give your endorser the Endorser-Experience Addendum to complete in the presence of a Notary Public
- Include a $90 application fee payable to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy
- Return the completed form, documentation and fee to: Missouri State Board of Accountancy, 3605 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 613, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0613
Interstate Reciprocal License
If you hold a CPA certificate or license from another state issued in the past four years and want to practice as a CPA in Missouri, you may apply for a Reciprocal CPA Certificate under these conditions:
- You must hold a current, valid CPA license in another state
- You must have passed the Uniform CPA Exam
- You must have at least a bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours of college credit
- You must have completed the AICPA Ethics Examination
- You must have one year of experience as a CPA in the ten years preceding your reciprocity application
- You must meet the state’s continuing professional education requirements
- Complete the Application for a License as a Certified Public Accountant by Reciprocity
- Submit the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information form to the state where you sat for the Uniform CPA Exam and/or hold a license
- Have your supervising CPA(s) complete the Endorser’s Attestation (s) and the pertinent parts on the Application to verify your employment
- Enclose certified copies of your college transcript(s)
- Enclose a recent 2” x 2” photograph
- Enclose a check for $165 payable to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy
- Mail the entire application packet and supporting documentation and fees to the Missouri State Board of Accountancy, 3605 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 613, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0613
If you have been licensed and in practice for four of the last 10 years, you would qualify for reciprocity through the 4 and 10 process. This means you would not be required to meet the 150-credit hour requirement, no college transcripts would be required, and you do not need to have a licensed CPA attest to your experience. All other provisions and stated requirements apply.
Submit the Application for License by Reciprocity via 4 & 10 to the address above with the $165 fee and all other specified documentation as described in the application packet.
International Reciprocal License
The Missouri State Board of Accountancy will issue a reciprocal CPA license to individuals who hold a valid, current license from one of the following international jurisdictions, as long as they pass the International Qualification Examination (IQEX):
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
- CPA Australia (CPAA)
- Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)
- Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
- Instituto Mexicano De Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
- New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
If you hold an accounting credential from one of these jurisdictions:
- Ask your jurisdiction’s credentialing agency to send a Letter of Good Standing to NASBA
- Apply here to take the IQEX. Mail your application, fees and any supporting documentation to: NASBA, Attn: IQEX Coordinator, P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37244-8469
- NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS) the IQEX by mail or email, at which time you may schedule your test through Prometric.
- Test results will be mailed to you as they are available.
- You may then follow the above procedures to submit an Application for a License as a Certified Public Accountant by Reciprocity
If you hold a CPA license from an international jurisdiction not listed above, you must follow the regular Missouri licensing procedure, starting with taking the Uniform CPA Exam.
5. Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education in Missouri
Every CPA licensed in Missouri must fulfill continuing professional education (CPE) hours in order to maintain licensure.
Courses designed to satisfy CPE requirements related to tax preparation are available online through Fast Forward Academy.
a. Complete 120 CPE hours every three years
- At least 20 CPE hours must be taken each year
- 2 CPE hours each year must be in professional ethics
- If you work as a government auditor, every two years you must complete:
- 80 CPE hours in audit or attestation
- 24 of these 80 CPE hours should relate to the government environment
b. Enroll in approved educational subjects, including:
- Specialized knowledge/applications
- Personal development (if it relates to a CPA’s professional competence)
Sign up for approved educational formats:
- Group study programs like workshops, seminars and conferences
- Self-study programs – all 120 CPE hours every three years may be in this format – must include a written recommendation of the CPE sponsor
- Independent study programs – under a qualified CPE sponsor
- Teaching and instruction – all 120 CPE hours every three years may be in this format
- Writing articles for publication in accounting publications - all 120 CPE hours every three years may be in this format
- University or college credit course
- University or college non-credit course
- Internet-based programs
Find acceptable CPE programs in Missouri through:
d. Maintain records of your CPE hours for at least five years, including:
- Name/contact information of CPE program sponsor
- Course title/description of content
- Program date(s)
- Location of program
- Number of CPE credits claimed
Now that you're a CPA in Missouri
Your hard work and years of study have been rewarded with a Missouri CPA license! Now, consider becoming a member of some professional organizations. One national organization to think about joining is the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This national professional organization provides members with guidance, development and continuing professional education opportunities. These same opportunities are available on a state level through your local Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.
You should also think about specializing! There are many specialized accounting positions available within Missouri, including forensic accountant, financial planner, information systems accountant, governmental auditor and controller.