5 Steps to Becoming a CPA in Utah

Utah scores a unique two-for in terms of tax and business advantages: the state comes in at number 8 in the country on both the U.S. News & World Report ranking of the Best States for Business Environment and on the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index.

Throw in the fact that it also has the third fastest state GDP growth rate according to research firm IBISWorld and you have an economy that is smoking hot and in need of CPA talent. That’s reflected in the projections coming from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored resource O*Net, which forecasts an almost unheard of 31 percent increase in accounting and auditing jobs in the state during the ten-year run up to 2028.

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Learning how to become a CPA in Utah will let you compete for jobs at firms like Cook Martin Poulson in Salt Lake City and Logan, or Haynie & Company in Ogden, as well as Big Four firms like Deloitte and KPMG that have offices in the state. CPAs here do everything from handling corporate tax accounting, small business bookkeeping and advisory services to retirement planning, and investment advising.

The five steps found right here in this guide will show you exactly how to become a CPA in Utah.

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

1. Get Your Education – Meet CPA Degree Requirements in Utah

a. Gather information from accounting programs offered through Utah’s schools. The Utah Board of Accountancy states that all certified public accountants in the state need at least 150 semester hours of college credit and at least a bachelor’s degree.

b. If you are still attending school or have just graduated, make sure that the Utah Board of Accountancy will accept your college credits. The college or university you attended must be accredited by one of the following organizations:

If your college credits were earned at a foreign school, a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or NASBA International Evaluation Services, must assess your credentials. Obtain a form from the agency and submit your foreign transcript to them. They, in turn, will submit an evaluation of your credentials to CPA Examination Services.

c. Register for the right courses. Under Utah statutes, there are four different educational pathways that you may take to become a CPA:

    • Path 1: Earn a graduate degree in accounting (must be AACSB or ACBSP accredited)
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  • Path 2: Earn a graduate degree in taxation or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree that is AACSB or ACBSP accredited and includes your choice of one of the following course outlines:
    • Outline B: 15 semester hours of graduate level accounting courses, including these subjects:
      • Auditing
      • Financial accounting
      • Taxation
      • Management accounting
    • Outline C: Earn an equivalent amount of combined upper level undergraduate and graduate level accounting credits, with one hour of graduate-level accounting course work being equal to 1.6 hours of upper level undergraduate accounting course work
  • Path 3: Earn a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting, including the following courses:
    • 30 semester hours beyond the requirements of a bachelor degree from an institution with a business program accredited by ACBSP or AACSB that includes:
      • 16 semester hours of upper level undergraduate accounting courses, with a minimum of one two semester/three quarter hour course in each of the following subjects:
        • Auditing
        • Financial accounting
        • Taxation
        • Management accounting
      • 8 semester hours in graduate level accounting courses, including one course in each of the following subjects:
        • Auditing
        • Financial accounting
        • Taxation
        • Management accounting
      • 12 semester hours in upper level undergraduate upper level non-accounting business courses
      • 12 semester hours in graduate level business or accounting courses
      • 10 semester hours of either graduate or upper level undergraduate business or accounting courses
  • Path 4: Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in any field that includes the following courses:
    • 30 semester hours in business courses with two semester hours in each of the following subjects:
      • Computers
      • Business law
      • Economics
      • Finance
      • Ethics
      • Written and oral communication
      • Statistics and quantitative methods
      • Business administration (including organizational behavior, marketing, policy, management or production)
    • 24 semester hours in upper level undergraduate accounting courses with at least two semester hours in each of the following subjects:
      • Finance
      • Auditing
      • Cost or managerial accounting
      • Taxes
      • Systems
    • 30 semester hours of additional business course work beyond the requirements of a bachelor’s degree, including:
      • 8 semester hours of graduate accounting courses
    • 12 semester hours of graduate accounting or graduate business courses
    • 10 semester hours of additional business-related courses at the upper level undergraduate or graduate level
  • Correspondence, CLEP, online and CPA review courses are acceptable if you received credit for them from an accredited college or university
  • Community college courses are acceptable as long as their credits transfer to the accredited 4 year college or university which granted your degree

2. Take The Uniform CPA Exam

If you have earned at minimum, a bachelor’s degree and completed at least 135 of the required 150 semester hours of credit, you are eligible under Utah statutes to take the Uniform CPA Exam.

a. Go to CPA Examination Services (CPAES) to register online or download application forms. If you elect mail application, send the completed application packet and all supporting documents (listed below) to:

CPA Examination Services-UT
P.O. Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219

CPAES may be contacted via telephone at 800-CPA-EXAM.

b. Forward the required documentation with your completed application to take the Uniform CPA Examination. This should include:

  • Official school transcripts showing a minimum of a bachelor’s degree earned (may be submitted by you directly to CPAES if in a sealed envelope)
  • Completed form for any examination accommodations necessary under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if needed
  • An Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Information form if you have passed one or more parts of the CPA Examination in another state. This must be submitted directly from the Board in the state where you took the exam.
  • A completed Foreign Evaluation if your credits are from a foreign school
  • Required fees (payable by check or money order to CPA Examination Services or credit card form if applying via mail or credit card if applying online)

c. Wait to receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) the Uniform CPA Exam from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). This notice will be sent to you by a method pre-selected by you at the time of application (mail, fax or email).

d. Schedule your examination via Prometric. Utah testing centers include:

  • Taylorsville
  • Lindon
  • Salt Lake City

e. Arrive at your chosen Prometric site on exam day prepared for testing.

f. Wait to receive your exam scores by mail.

Special testing accommodations and further information may be obtained by contacting the Utah Coordinator of CPA Examination Services at 800-CPA-EXAM.

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

3. Gain The Necessary Experience

Utah requires all initial CPA licensure candidates to have one year of accounting experience prior to licensure.

a. Take the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s Home Study Course on Professional Ethics before continuing with the licensure process. You must pass this exam with at least a score of 90%. You may order course materials here.

b. Pass the Utah Laws and Rules Exam. Apply directly to PSI Examination Services to take this examination, which covers the following:

  • Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Act
  • General Rules of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
  • Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act
  • Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act Rules

c. Fulfill the accounting experience requirements of the Utah Board of Accountancy:

  • At least one year (2000 hours) of accounting experience is required
  • This accounting experience must meet the following criteria:
    • May be volunteer or paid accounting experience
    • Must apply auditing and accounting skills and principles that are taught under generally accepted professional accounting education
    • Must be supervised by a licensed certified public accountant

This experience Mmust be documented by your licensed CPA supervisor on the Certification for Accounting Experience for Licensure as a CPA form found in the CPA licensure application packet. This form must be sent as a part of your completed application packet to the Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing, P.O. Box 146741, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6741.

4. Get Your Utah CPA License

You may be ready to apply for a CPA license in Utah. First, make sure you have the following items from the checklist:

a. Checklist

  • Complete at least 150 semester hours of college education and earn at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Exam and obtain official documentation of such.
  • Pass the AICPA Ethics Exam and obtain a document stating such.
  • Pass the Utah Laws and Rules Exam and obtain an official letter from the testing provider stating this.
  • Obtain an official copy of your college transcript in a sealed envelope from your school.
  • Have your supervising CPA complete the Certification of Accounting Experience for Licensure as a CPA form verifying one year of accounting experience.
  • Prepare the necessary application fees, payable to the Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing

b. Apply for your Utah CPA License

Use the state’s Application for Licensure and submit it, along with the supporting documents listed above and application fees, by mail to: Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing, P.O. Box 146741, Salt Lake City UT 84114-6741. If you would rather submit your application and supporting materials by express mail or in person, they should go to:

Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing
1st Floor Lobby, 160 E 300 S
Salt Lake City UT 84111-2305

Do you currently hold a CPA license from another state?

If so, you can still use the state’s Application for Licensure, and follow the instructions to apply for licensure by endorsement. The following must be submitted to the Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing:

  • Completed Application for Licensure
  • Completed request for Verification of License Form (found within the Application for Licensure packet). Submit this form directly to the Board of Accountancy in the state in which you hold a CPA license.
  • Documentation of passing the AICPA Ethics Exam
  • Documentation of passing the Utah Laws and Rules Exam
  • Documentation of professional experience showing that you have been working as a licensed CPA in another state and meet the following criteria:
    • 300 hours of audit experience, including:
      • Preparing audit working papers covering account examinations
      • Planning audits in scope of Generally Accepted Accounting Standards
      • Preparing written explanations and comments on accounting examinations and records
      • Preparing and analyzing financial statements
    • No less than 10,000 hours of professional experience in the 10 years prior to applying for CPA licensure in Utah
    • Attach a letter from all accounting firms you worked for verifying employment
  • Mail all of the above information to: Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing, P.O. Box 146741, Salt Lake City UT 84114-6741

Do you currently hold a CPA license in a foreign country?

If your license is from one of the following countries, you may qualify for reciprocal CPA licensure in Utah if you take the International Qualification Examination (IQEX):

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
  • Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
  • Instituto Mexicano De Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
  • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)

If you are from one of the above foreign jurisdictions, follow these steps for reciprocal CPA licensure in Utah:

  • Have your foreign credentialing agency send a Letter of Good Standing to NASBA
  • Apply to take the IQEX. Application, fees and supporting documentation must be mailed to: NASBA, Attn: IQEX, P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN 3724419-8469
  • Receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) the IQEX via mail or email from NASBA
  • Schedule your test through Prometric
  • Receive your test results by mail
  • Apply for CPA licensure in Utah

If your CPA license is from a foreign jurisdiction not listed above, you must follow the regular CPA licensing procedure for Utah, beginning with taking the Uniform CPA Exam.

5. Maintain your Utah CPA license through Continuing Professional Education

As a licensed CPA in Utah you must complete yearly continuing professional education (CPE) hours in order to maintain licensure.

a. Complete 80 hours of CPE every two years.

  • To qualify, a CPE program must contribute to an accountant’s professional competence
  • 50 minutes of class time equals one CPE credit
  • For university or college credit courses, one unit of college credit equals 15 CPE credits

b. Be sure to enroll in approved CPE subjects, including:

  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Consulting services
  • Specialized applications and knowledge
  • Management
  • Ethics
  • Taxation

The following subjects may be approved as long as they relate to a CPA’s professional competence:

  • Information technology
  • Communication arts
  • Mathematics, statistics, probability and quantitative analysis
  • Economics
  • Business law/litigation support
  • Functional fields of business (including finance, production, marketing, personnel relations, development and management, business management and organizations, social environment of business)
  • Specialized areas of industry (like film, real estate, farming)

c. Make sure to take CPE programs in these accepted formats:

  • Group study programs
  • Independent study programs
  • Self-study programs
  • Instructing a course
  • University credit or non-credit courses
  • Publish an article, book or CPE program
  • Workshop or seminar
  • Internet-based program

You can find acceptable CPE programs in Utah with the help of these links:

d. Maintain documentation of your CPE hours for at least five years, including:

  • Name and contact information of CPE program sponsor
  • Title and description of CPE course content
  • Date of CPE program
  • Location of CPE program
  • Number of CPE credits earned
  • Report your CPE credits when renewing license every other year, via the CPE Reporting Form

Now that you’re a CPA in Utah

Congratulations! You are now a Certified Public Accountant eligible to work in the state of Utah! The Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants is the recognized local professional organization that can help you find approved continuing education, answer any licensure or renewal questions, and provide networking opportunities.

Think about specialization! Within the world of accounting, sub-specialties include forensic accounting, managerial accounting, governmental accounting, financial planning and auditing.

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