5 Steps to Becoming a CPA in Missouri

As home to headquarters for both H&R Block and Wells Fargo Advisors, there is never going to be a shortage of demand for well-qualified accounting professionals in Missouri.

It’s also a place where businesses and accounting firms know how to treat their staff. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, three different Missouri accounting firms consistently make the top 50 for best working environment in the nation. Those are just the ones that are actually based in the state. Many of the most recognizable names in the business have a presence here too, including the big international consultancies PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG.

Ten different Fortune 500 corporations are headquartered in Missouri, and the more than 6 million citizens of the state all have the usual needs for tax preparation, financial planning, and small business bookkeeping. Between the accounting firms and big businesses headquartered here, you can find your niche in any accounting specialization.

The steps in this guide will show you exactly how to become a CPA in Missouri.

  1. Get your Education in Missouri
  2. Take the Uniform CPA Exam in Missouri
  3. Gain the Necessary Experience in Missouri
  4. Get your Missouri CPA License
  5. Continuing Education in Missouri

1. Get Your Education

a. Get in contact with Missouri colleges and universities with accounting programs. The Missouri State Board of Accountancy requires all certified public accountants practicing in the state to have earned 150 semester hours of college credit and to hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum.

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 Missouri.

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:

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d. Meet CPA degree and curriculum requirements in Missouri. Between your bachelor’s and post-bachelor’s education, your 150 semester hours of college credit need to include 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.

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
  • Springfield
  • 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:
  • Experience must include a combination of the following competencies and skills:
    • Accounting
    • Attest
    • Review
    • Compilation
    • Management Advisory
    • Tax
    • Consulting
    • 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:

a. Checklist

  • 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

b. 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.

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:

  • Accounting
  • Assurance
  • Auditing
  • Consulting
  • Specialized knowledge/applications
  • Management
  • Taxation
  • Ethics
  • Personal development (if it relates to a CPA’s professional competence)

c. 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 is the time to consider becoming a member of some professional organizations.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) provides members with guidance and advocacy, along with professional development and continuing education opportunities. These same opportunities are available on a state level through your local Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.

You may also want to think about specializing in an area like forensic accounting, financial planning, information systems accounting, or external auditing.

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