When you are rolling in dough, you might be able to afford to miss a couple of decimal places from time to time when itemizing taxes. If you are planning a retirement, saving for education, or figuring out how to open a small business on razor thin margins, there’s no room for error. That makes diligent accounting even more important here in Mississippi, a state that regularly comes near the bottom of the list when it comes to wealth.
So CPAs in the Magnolia State find themselves in high demand. It’s a market that is dominated by small and mid-sized firms, like William F. Horne and Company in Laurel, or Watkins, Ward and Stafford in West Point. A handful of regional firms, like Watkins Uiberall, with an office in Tupelo, or T.E. Lott & Company, with one in Columbus, are also options. So is picking out a small town locale somewhere on the banks of the Mississippi and hanging out your own shingle.
There are also opportunities to practice accounting in corporate settings, with big manufacturers like Toyota and Nissan operating plants in Blue Springs and Canton. Inventory, payroll, and auditing work is always in need with the big national and multinational companies that have a presence here.
If you follow the 5 steps on this page, you will learn exactly how to become a CPA in Mississippi.
- Get your Education in Mississippi
- Take the Uniform CPA Exam in Mississippi
- Gain the Necessary Experience in Mississippi
- Get your Mississippi CPA License
- Continuing Education in Mississippi
1. Get Your Education
a. Get in touch with Mississippi colleges and universities to request information on their accounting programs. The Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy requires all certified public accountants in the state to have completed 150 semester hours of college credit and to have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree.
With the standard bachelor’s degree in accounting consisting of just 120 semester hours, going on to earn a post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s in accounting represents the most tried and tested way to get those 30 additional credits. Many of these programs are available entirely online. You can also find specialized five-year CPA track programs that offer a blended bachelor’s and master’s curriculum to give you the 150 semester hours you need to meet CPA requirements in Mississippi.
b. Mississippi has a residency requirement for its CPAs. This means that you must be a resident of or have a place of business in Mississippi in order to be eligible to take the Uniform CPA Exam and become a Mississippi licensed CPA.
c. If you are still a college student or a recent graduate, ensure that you take/took classes that will be recognized by the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy.
The Board requires that your college or university be accredited by one of these regional accrediting bodies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- Higher Learning Commission
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges–Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges–Commission for Senior Colleges)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools–Commission on Colleges
- If you attended school outside of the United States, your academic credentials must be evaluated by any foreign credential evaluation service that provides a comprehensive course-by-course evaluation.
d. Meet Mississippi’s CPA degree and curriculum requirements. The Board requires that you have a bachelor’s degree at minimum and 150 semester hours of college credit, including:
- 48 semester hours of upper level undergraduate or graduate accounting and business-related courses
- 24 semester hours of this total must be in accounting courses, including:
- 3 semester hours in Financial Accounting
- 3 semester hours in Taxation
- 3 semester hours in Auditing
- 3 semester hours in Management Accounting
- 3 semester hours in Government/Nonprofit Accounting
- 24 semester hours of this total must be in accounting courses, including:
2. Take The Uniform CPA Exam
Once you have completed 150 semester hours of college credit and earned at least a bachelor’s degree, you may apply to take the Uniform CPA Exam.
a. Fill out the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy’s Application for CPA Examination. Check the parts of the test you are applying to take on the application, and which Prometric Testing Center (Jackson or Tupelo) you are requesting.
b. Include the following materials in your application packet:
- A 2” x 2” passport-sized photo
- A copy of your current driver’s license
- Proof of residency. This may include:
- Copy of voter registration information/card
- Copy of vehicle registration/tags
- Copy of Mississippi State Resident Income Tax Return
- Copy of qualification for Homestead Exemption in Mississippi and/or copy of payment of real estate taxes to Mississippi
- Transcript showing graduation from a Mississippi university or college
c. Request that your college or university send an official copy of your transcript directly to the Board office, at the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy, 5 Old River Place, Suite 104, Jackson, MS 39202-3449.
d. Submit all necessary application fees and fees for each test section for which you are applying. Send fees, application and documentation to the address above. All fees are itemized on the application.
e. Wait to receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) the Uniform CPA Exam. NTS will be sent from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) by mail, fax or email (depending upon the method you selected when you submitted your application).
f. Visit Prometric’s website to schedule your test or by phoning the Candidate Services Call Center at 800-580-9648.
g. Report to your selected Prometric testing center one hour before the start of testing on exam day.
h. Wait to receive your exam scores by mail once they have been tabulated.
If you need to coordinate disability accommodations for testing or require more information, call the Mississippi Board of Public Accountancy at 601-354-7320.
For detailed information on the Uniform CPA Exam, click here.
3. Gain The Necessary Experience
Every CPA candidate in Mississippi must fulfill at least one year of full-time, supervised accounting experience before a license will be issued.
Visit your college or university’s career center to find suitable employment opportunities that qualify for the experiential portion required for CPA licensure in Mississippi
- This experience may be paid or volunteer work
- This experience must have occurred within five years of licensure application
- This experience must consist of one year of full-time work, or the equivalent of part-time work
- This experience must be supervised by a licensed CPA
- This experience must involve the use of accounting and auditing skills, including but not limited to:
- Issuing reports on financial statements
- Management advisory services
- Financial advisory services
- Consulting services
- Preparing tax returns
- Furnishing tax advice
- A CPA candidate must complete a Request for Employment Verification for all employers claimed under the experience requirement, and submit it with your licensure application. This will allow the Board to send the request(s) to your supervising CPA(s), who will then furnish necessary employment information to the Board.
4. Get Your Mississippi CPA License
You are now ready to apply for a CPA license under the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy regulations. Check that you have completed each of the following steps along your path to becoming a Mississippi CPA:
- Complete 150 semester hours of college education and earn a bachelor’s degree inclusive of 48 hours of upper division business and accounting courses.
- Have your college or university send an official transcript to the Board
- Pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Fulfill the Board’s experience requirement of one year of accounting experience, supervised by a licensed CPA.
b. Prepare the application for your Mississippi CPA License. Complete the Application for CPA License. Along with your application you must:
- Attach a 2” x 2” photograph of yourself
- Include all necessary fees (itemized on the application)
- Have the application notarized
- Submit proof of residency
- List all prior employment in accounting
- Fill out a Request for Employment Verification for each of your supervisors
- If you did not pass the Uniform CPA Exam in Mississippi, have your college send an official transcript to the Board and complete the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information form. Send this form to the Board of the state where you passed the Uniform CPA Exam.
c. Mail the completed application packet to: Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy, 5 Old River Place, Suite 104, Jackson, MS 39202-3449.
Interstate Reciprocal License
If you hold a CPA certificate or license from another state that is substantially equivalent to Mississippi and want to practice as a CPA in Mississippi, you may apply for a Reciprocal CPA License.
- As of this time, all states and territories except the Virgin Islands are substantially equivalent to Mississippi’s regulations under the Uniform Accountancy Act
- You must complete an Application for Reciprocal CPA License.
- You must first send the completed application to the Board of the state in which you hold a CPA license. After they have filled out their sections, they will return the application to you to complete, have notarized and submit to the Mississippi Board.
- Fill out a Request for Employment Verification for each of your previous supervisors within the last 10 years and submit these with your application
- Fill out a Schedule of Continuing Professional Education form to list your CPE of at least 40 hours within the past 12 months. The latest form will be posted on the website of the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy when available.
- Complete an Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information. Send this form to the Board of the state where you passed the Uniform CPA Exam and/or hold a CPA license.
- Include all necessary fees and send application and documents to: Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy, 5 Old River Place, Suite 104, Jackson, MS 39202-3449.
International Reciprocal License
The Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy will recognize accounting credentials from the following jurisdictions as being substantially equivalent to the CPA requirements of the state. These individuals must pass the International Qualification Examination (IQEX):
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
- CPA Australia (CPAA)
- Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)
- Instituto Mexicano De Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
- Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
- New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
If you are from one of the above 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 440555, Nashville, TN 37244
- 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.
While passing the IQEX satisfies Mississippi’s examination requirement, CPA candidates must still must fulfill the state’s education and experience requirements. Contact the Board at 601-354-7320 for more information.
5. Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education in Mississippi
The Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy requires all licensed CPAS to satisfy continuing professional education (CPE) requirements in order to maintain licensure.
a. Complete 40 hours of CPE every 12 months
- During your first 12 months of licensure, you are exempt from this requirement
- 20 CPE hours may be carried over from one 12 month period to the next
- 20% of your CPE hours must be in accounting and auditing topics
- Four CPE hours must be in Ethics, Professional Conduct and Public Accountancy Laws and Regulations as follows (a link to current board approved ethics courses is listed at the bottom of this page):
- Ethics – general course – 3 CPE hours
- Ethics – Mississippi Law, Rules and Regulations – 1 CPE hour
b. Report your CPE hours each year on the Continuing Professional Education Reporting Form, even if the total CPE hours for that year are zero.
c. Enroll in approved CPE formats, including:
- Formal correspondence or self-study programs (must be approved by the Quality Assurance Services (QAS) program of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
- Publishing articles and books that contribute to a CPA’s professional competence
- University/college credit courses (one semester hour of credit equals 15 CPE hours)
- University/college non-credit courses (one semester hour of credit equals one CPE hour)
- Formal and organized in-house education programs
- Serving as a discussion leader, lecturer or instructor
- Continuing legal education (only if a CPA is also a licensed attorney and practices as such)
Find acceptable CPE programs in Mississippi through:
- Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants
- American Institute of CPAs
- NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors
- Mississippi colleges and universities
Avoid these disallowed CPE formats:
- Independent study such as quizzes or programs that only require reading of materials
- Personal development programs
d. Maintain records of your CPE hours for at least five years, including:
- Organization that sponsored CPE course
- Location of CPE course
- Title, description and/or course outline
- Instructor of course with qualifications
- Dates of attendance
- Contact hours by category
- Number of CPE hours claimed
Now that you’re a CPA in Mississippi
Well done! Your years of education and hard work have paid off, and you are now a licensed CPA in Mississippi! Think about becoming a part of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This national professional organization offers its members continuing education, networking and development opportunities. At the state level these opportunities are available through the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Do you have a special interest within the accounting field? Think about specializing! Specializations that exist within the field of accounting in Mississippi include finance, auditing, information systems, management and forensics.