A State By State Accounting Guide
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5 Steps to Becoming a CPA in New Jersey

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

1. Get Your Education

a. Find out about accounting programs at New Jersey colleges and universities. The New Jersey State Board of Accountancy mandates that all of its certified public accountants fulfill requirements that include completion of 150 semester hours of college credit and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

b. If you are still taking classes or have recently graduated, make sure that the

New Jersey State Board of Accountancy accepts your college credits. Colleges or universities must be accredited by one of the following organizations:

If you graduated from an institution outside of the United States, NASBA International Evaluation Services must assess your academic credentials. Request an evaluation form from this agency and submit their analysis of your credentials to CPA Examination Services, NJ Coordinator, P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219-8469.

c. Enroll in classes that will satisfy the Board’s requirements. In order to take the CPA exam, you may have 120 semester hours of credit, but in order to become licensed as a CPA in New Jersey, you need 150 semester hours of credit and at least a bachelor’s degree. There are four degree options to satisfy this requirement:

  • Degree Option 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree in business from a Level 2 AACSB- or ACBSP-accredited college with:
    • 24 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate-level accounting courses, AND
    • 24 semester hours in undergraduate level business courses (other than accounting)
  • Degree Option 2: Earn a bachelor’s degree from a Level 1 college accredited by a regional accreditation agency, with:
    • 30 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate-level accounting courses, including courses in:
      • Management accounting
      • Taxation
      • Auditing
      • Financial accounting, AND
    • 24 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate-level business courses (other than accounting)
  • Degree Option 3: Earn a graduate degree with a concentration in accounting from a Level 3- AACSB- or ACBSP-accredited college
  • Degree Option 4: Earn a graduate degree from a Level 2 AACSB- or ACBSP-accredited business school or college of business and meet ONE of the following requirements:
    • 24 semester hours in undergraduate-level accounting courses
    • 15 semester hours in graduate-level accounting courses including:
      • Management accounting
      • Taxation
      • Auditing
      • Financial accounting
    • An equivalent combination of undergraduate and graduate accounting courses

2. Take The Uniform CPA Exam

If you have earned at least 120 semester hours of credit and a bachelor degree, under New Jersey regulations, you may sit for the Uniform CPA Examination.

a. Go to CPA Examination Services (CPAES) to register online for the Uniform CPA Exams. You will be instructed what documentation needs to be mailed in. Send it to CPA Examination Services, New Jersey Coordinator, P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219-8469.Pay the required fees via credit card.

b. Once your fees and documentation have been received, NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS) the Uniform CPA Exam, using the method you selected at the time of application (mail, email).

c. Go to Prometric’s website to schedule your exam.New Jersey testing sites include:

  • Fairlawn
  • Clark
  • Laurel Spring
  • Hamilton

d Arrive prepared to test on exam day.

e. Wait to receive your exam scores. Exam scores will arrive in the mail once they have been tabulated.

For detailed information on the Uniform CPA Exam, click here.


3. Gain The Necessary Experience

After you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you must fulfill the state of New Jersey’s ethics exam and experience requirement prior to licensure as a CPA.

a. Pass an exam on the regulations, laws and code of ethical conduct of the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy before commencing your experience. A listing of approved course providers is located here at the Board’s website.

b. Gain at least a year of intense, diverse public accounting experience. Contact your school’s career center for help in locating opportunities for experience.

  • You must log 1,750 hours of experience per year
  • The experience may be full- or part-time. If part-time, two years of experience is required
  • Experience may be paid or volunteer
  • Experience may be gained in auditing or accounting
  • Examples of possible work settings include public accounting firms, private industry government or the Internal Revenue Service
  • Experience must be verified and documented by your employer, who must be a licensed CPA or licensed accountant

c. Demonstrate the following competencies during your experience (which vary depending upon the environment in which you work):

  • If you work in Public Accountancy, you must demonstrate proficiency in the following diverse skills:
    • Auditing and Accounting
      • Drafting financial statements
      • Reviewing and testing internal accounting controls
      • Reviewing financial statements
      • Verifying accounts receivable
      • Compiling financial statements
      • Reviewing inventory procedures
      • Verifying physical inventory
      • Designing and using computerized audit tools
      • Reviewing client bank reconciliations
      • Reviewing legal documents
      • Testing inventory valuation and pricing
      • Testing of revenue and purchase cut-off
      • Reviewing significant subsequent events
      • Testing fixed asset cost and depreciation
      • Applying analytical review procedures
      • Testing deferred, prepaid and intangible charges
      • Analyzing and verifying changes in equity accounts or fund balances
      • Reviewing and verifying accounts payable and accruals
      • Searching for unrecorded liabilities
    • Tax Services
      • Preparing tax returns
      • Researching tax law and planning
      • Reviewing financial statement tax provisions and accruals
    • Management Services
      • Designing and installing accounting cost and computer systems
      • Management advisory services
    • Bookkeeping Services
      • Maintaining books of original entry
      • Preparing payroll tax returns
      • Posting to subsidiary and general ledgers
    • Other services
      • Your supervisor may attach a description of other public accounting experience or services you performed under his or her direction
  • If you work in Private Industry, you must demonstrate proficiency in these skills:
    • Internal auditing
      • Reviewing and testing internal accounting controls
      • Designing and using computerized audit tools
      • Verifying accounts receivable
      • Reviewing legal documents
      • Reviewing inventory procedures
      • Verifying physical inventory
      • Testing revenue and purchases cut-off
      • Testing pricing and inventory valuation
      • Applying analytical review procedures
      • Reviewing company bank reconciliations
      • Analyzing and verifying changes in fund balances or equity accounts
      • Testing depreciation and fixed asset cost
      • Searching for unrecorded liabilities
      • Testing deferred, intangible and prepaid charges
      • Reviewing and verifying accounts payable and accruals
    • Preparing financial statements
    • Preparing budgets, financial plans or projections
    • Preparing trial balances, adjusting journal entries and account analysis
    • Taking and evaluating physical inventories
    • Maintaining general ledgers, subsidiary ledgers and other books of original entry
    • Preparing income tax returns
    • Preparing payroll tax returns
    • Other services
      • Your supervisor may attach a description of other accounting experience or services you performed under his or her direction
  • If you work in Government, you must demonstrate proficiency in these areas:
    • General accounting
      • Preparing trial balances
      • Analyzing accounts
      • Preparing financial statements
    • If working in a government auditor’s or internal audit unit:
      • Applying audit procedures and techniques
      • Preparing audit work papers
      • Developing audit procedures and programs
      • Being a field auditor for state tax returns
      • Other services
        • Your supervisor may attach a description of other accounting experience or services you performed under his or her direction
  • If you work in the Internal Revenue Service, you must document your grade level and demonstrate proficiency in these areas:
    • Working as a field agent
    • Other services
      • Your supervisor may attach other accounting experience or services you performed under his or her direction

d. Ask your supervising CPA to document and verify your work experience via notarized affidavit written on complany letterhead.

e. Provide your supervising CPA with a stamped addressed envelope so that he or she may send the completed affidavit directly to: New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, 124 Halsey St., 6th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102.


4. Get Your New Jersey CPA License

You are now ready to apply for a CPA License in New Jersey. Consult the following checklist to make sure that you have completed each step:

a. Checklist

  • Complete 150 semester hours of college credit and earn at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Exam
  • Have official transcript copies sent from your school to the Board at New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, 124 Halsey St., 6th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102.
  • Pass the New Jersey law, code and ethics exam
  • Complete at least one year of accounting experience and have your supervisor verify via affidavit on company letterhead

b. Apply for your New Jersey CPA License.

Interstate Reciprocal License

If you wish to practice as a CPA in New Jersey and hold a CPA certificate or license from another state, you may be eligible for Certification by Endorsement.

  • Scenario 1: If you hold a CPA license from all but the 14 states listed in Scenario 2, follow these steps to obtain Certification by Endorsement:
    • Complete the Application for Licensure as a Certified Public Accountant by Endorsement
    • Forward the Verification of State License form, which is included in the application packet, to the Board of Accountancy in every state in which you now hold or have held a CPA license
    • Complete the Request for Criminal History Record Information form included in the application packet
    • Enclose a check or money order for $175 payable to the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy
    • Mail all of the above to: New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, 124 Halsey St., 6th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102.
  • Scenario 2: Follow this scenario if your CPA license/certificate is from one of these states or territories:
    • California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Guam, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia
    • Complete the Application for Licensure as a Certified Public Accountant by Endorsement
    • Forward the Verification of State License form, which is included in the application packet, to the Board of Accountancy in every state in which you now hold or have held a CPA license
    • Have NASBA evaluate your academic credentials by going to this link. You will be instructed where to mail your official sealed school transcripts from every school you attended, or ECE Evaluation of Foreign Education form(s), and fees
    • Have your supervisor(s) complete a notarized affidavit on company letterhead, verifying all of your employment since obtaining your bachelor’s degree.
    • Complete the Request for Criminal History Record Information form included in the application packet
    • Enclose a check or money order for $175 payable to the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy
    • Mail all of the above (except the Application for Academic Credential Evaluation) to: New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, 124 Halsey St., 6th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102.

International Reciprocal License

The New Jersey State Board of Accountancy has agreed with the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board that who hold a CPA license from any of the international jurisdictions listed below may seek reciprocal CPA licensure in New Jersey by taking 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)
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland
  • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

If you hold a CPA license from one of these jurisdictions:

  • Request that your jurisdiction’s credentialing agency send a Letter of Good Standing to NASBA
  • Apply to take the IQEX. Mail your application, fees and any supporting documentation to: NASBA, Attn: IQEX, P.O. Box 440555, Nashville, TN 37244
  • NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS) the IQEX by mail or email (whichever method you selected at the time of application), at which time you may schedule your test through Prometric.
  • Test results will be mailed to you after they are tabulated.
If you hold a CPA license from an international jurisdiction other than the ones listed above, you must follow the regular New Jersey licensing procedure, starting with taking the Uniform CPA Exam.

5. Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education in New Jersey

After becoming a licensed New Jersey CPA, you must maintain that license by satisfying the state’s continuing professional education (CPE) requirements.

a. Complete 120 hours of CPE every three years

  • You are not required to complete 120 hours of CPE during your initial three years of licensure, but you must complete an orientation course during your first six months of licensure
  • 72 CPE hours must be in technical subject areas, with 24 of these hours in auditing or accounting only if you are in public practice or involved with the attest function in auditing, reviewing or compiling reports
  • Four hours of CPE every three years must be in an approved New Jersey Law & Ethics course
  • 50 minutes of formal instruction equals one hour of CPE

b. Enroll in the proper subjects

  • Technical subject areas that satisfy the 72 hour requirement include:
    • Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Business law
    • Computer science
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Management advisory services
    • Mathematics
    • SEC practice
    • Taxation
    • Professional ethics
  • Other courses that contribute to a CPA’s professional competency also count for CPE credit. These may be in subjects such as (but not limited to):
    • Organizational structure
    • Human resource management
    • Administrative matters/practice management
    • Speaking
    • Leadership
  • Courses that relate to the marketing of a CPA’s firm or practice development do not count towards CPE credit.

c. Sign up for courses offered by:

  • National and state professional organizations
  • Accredited colleges and universities
    • 15 CPE hours are awarded per semester credit earned in college credit courses
    • 1 CPE hour is awarded per semester credit earned in college non-credit courses
  • In-firm educational programs at public accounting firms
  • Correspondence and individual study programs
    • Must be offered by sponsors registered with NASBA
    • You may earn no more than 60 CPE hours every three years through individual study or correspondence programs
  • Technical meetings of professional accounting organizations
  • Professional accounting meetings, seminars and conferences
  • Firm meetings approved as continuing education programs
  • Working as a lecturer, instructor, discussion leader or speaker
    • You may not claim more than 60 CPE hours every three years for this
  • Authoring and publishing peer-reviewed publications
    • You may not claim more than 30 CPE hours every three years for this

Approved CPE programs in New Jersey are available through:

New Jersey colleges and universities

d. Maintain documentation of your CPE hours for no fewer than five years. These records must be reported when you renew your CPA license triennially, and must include:

  • Transcripts or certificates of completion from courses or programs, when applicable
  • Dates of attendance
  • Number of credit hours earned
  • Title and content description of course or program
  • Name of instructor
  • Location of course

Now that you're a CPA in New Jersey

You did it! You are now a licensed CPA in New Jersey! Think about joining some professional organizations, to increase your networking potential, find continuing education opportunities, and stay on top of changes in regulations and legislation. A good national organization to join is the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Locally, you might consider joining the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Would you like to specialize in a sub-discipline of accounting? Look into forensic accounting, personal financial planning or information systems accounting among many others.

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