5 Steps to Becoming a CPA in Vermont

We’re not a typical state when it comes to either the kind of industry or the population that usually relies on expert accounting advice. We’re not home to a lot of industry and as one of the coldest places in the Union, we’re not exactly a destination for wealthy retirees or real estate investors.

What we do have, though, is a lot of practical, pennywise New Englanders who value expertise, education and savings. And that means that CPAs are always going to have plenty of work in The Green Mountain State. People plan out their golden years, save up for their kids’ college education, and manage their investments prudently here. All of it creates a demand for exactly the kinds of services CPAs provide.

By becoming a CPA in Vermont, you could be the one people call for setting up books and handling small business taxes and audits, or the one wealthy families turn to for investment advice. You could hang up your own shingle and have your own list of clients that range from the folks down the street in your community to small businesses out in the sticks that capitalize on the tourist sector. Small accounting firms thrive here, so whether it’s your own business or an established firm like South Burlington’s Gallagher, Flynn & Company and Davis & Hodgdon Associates out of Williston, there is always a place to ply your trade as a CPA in Vermont.

Follow the steps in this guide to learn exactly how to become a CPA in Vermont.

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

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

a. Get information from Vermont universities offering programs in accounting. The Vermont Board of Public Accountancy requires all CPAs licensed in the state to hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum, and complete 150 total semester hours of college credit.

With most bachelor’s degrees in accounting consisting of 120 semester hours, going on to earn a master’s in accounting or post-baccalaureate certificate is the standard 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 designed specifically to give you the 150 semester hours you need to meet CPA requirements in Vermont.

b. The Board recognizes all accounting degrees and additional business and accounting credits earned at institutions that hold standard accreditation through any of the accreditors recognized by the United States Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation; and those in Canada that are members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

The Board also recognizes institutions in other countries that are accredited by that jurisdiction’s official accreditation organization. Still, If you went to school abroad, your credits must be assessed by a member organization of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or by NASBA International Evaluation Services. You must request an evaluation form from the agency you use and submit the completed evaluation to: CPA Examination Services, Vermont Coordinator, PO Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219-8469

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c. Meet CPA degree and curriculum requirements in Vermont with the right blend of business and accounting courses. To be eligible for CPA licensure, your 150 total hours of  college credit must include:

  • 42 semester hours of accounting, auditing, and business subjects
    • 6 semester hours must be in financial accounting (including managerial accounting but not elementary accounting)
    • 3 semester hours must be in auditing
    • 3 semester hours must be in U.S. income tax
    • 3 semester hours must be in U.S. business law
    • 3 semester hours in ethics education covering business ethics, philosophy of ethics, or accounting ethics

A few items worth noting:

  • Commercial CPA review courses do not count for credit.
  • Courses taken at a regionally accredited two-year college or community college are acceptable.
  • CLEP, correspondence, online and CPA review courses count for credit as long as you receive credit for such courses when transferring them in to the regionally accredited institution that grants your degree.

2. Take The Uniform CPA Exam

If you have completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree or are within 60 days of completing those requirements, you may sit for the Uniform CPA Exam.

a. Apply through CPA Examination Services to take the Uniform CPA Exam. Applications may be submitted online or downloaded and mailed, along with all necessary documentation, to:

CPA Examination Services, Vermont Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469, Nashville, TN

b. Mail all supporting documents to CPA Examination Services at the address above.

  • Pay all applicable application and examination fees
  • Submit any requests for disability testing accommodations
  • If you have graduated from college, send an official sealed transcript
  • If you are still in college, you must submit a Certificate of Enrollment completed by the school
    • You must complete all college courses within 60 days of applying for the exam
    • You must submit an official transcript after all courses are completed, no later than 120 days of applying for the exam

c. Wait to be contacted by The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). NASBA will send your Notice to Schedule (NTS) the Uniform CPA Exam by your preferred notification method (mail, fax or email).

d. Schedule your examination at the Prometric website.

e. Arrive on testing day at your chosen Prometric testing site.

f. Wait to be notified. Exam scores will be mailed to you once tabulated.

If you need more information, call the Vermont Coordinator of CPA Examination Services at 800-CPA-EXAM. For comprehensive information on the Uniform CPA Examination, click here.

3. Gain The Necessary Experience

To be licensed as a CPA in Vermont you must fulfill practical work experience requirements:

a. First, take the Professional Ethics Exam. The Vermont Board of Public Accountancy requires all applicants to complete a Professional Ethics course equivalent to four hours of continuing professional education (CPE). This course must be completed within two years of filing for licensure. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers a Home Study Course on Professional Ethics that may be used to fulfill this requirement.

b. Acquire one year public or non-public accounting experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. This may be found with the assistance of your school’s career center and must include 500 hours of attest and 200 hours of audit.

Competencies that are expected to be gained through this experience vary according to the type of accounting experience

  • Public accounting experience:
    • Evaluating internal procedures and controls
    • Testing compliance to internal procedures and controls
    • Preparation of documents
    • Planning, updating and/or revising audit programs
    • Drafting and/or reviewing notes and memos
    • Preparing and/or analyzing financial reports and statements
    • Verifying transactions and balances
    • Analyzing and reviewing accounts and comparing them to industry data
    • Reviewing and preparing tax provisions and reserves
    • Designing and installing accounting or cost systems
  • Non-public accounting experience:
    • Reporting on the financial conditions and operations of the agency being audited
    • Evaluating and understanding an employer’s transaction streams and information systems
    • Researching and preparing tax returns
    • Preparing and analyzing financial statements
    • Cost accounting
    • Budgeting
    • Applying accounting principles
    • Showing an understanding of the employer’s industry

Responsibilities of the Verifying CPA

  • Hold a current, valid CPA license from Vermont or from a state deemed substantially equivalent under NASBA reciprocity agreements
  • Verify that the applicant’s experience has occurred within 15 years of the filing date on the applicant’s license application
  • Complete and submit the Report of Supervised Experience Form, verifying applicant’s experience, duties in public or non-public accounting, and dates of employment, to: Vermont Office of Professional Regulation, Board of Public Accountancy, 89 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-3402

Responsibilities of the Applicant

  • Choose a supervising CPA with a valid license from Vermont or a substantially equivalent state
  • Verify that your experience has occurred within 15 years of the filing date on your license application
  • Give your supervising CPA the Report of Supervised Experience Form along with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope to send the form to the Vermont Board of Public Accountancy

4. Get Your Vermont CPA License

You are now ready to obtain your Vermont CPA license. Make sure you have completed each step on this checklist:

a. Checklist

  • Fulfilled the educational requirements of 150 semester hours of college credit, including 42 accounting credits and a bachelor’s degree.
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Exam
  • Pass the required professional ethics exam
  • Complete one year of supervised experience
  • Have the Report of Supervised Experience form sent from your supervising CPA to the Board at the address listed above
  • Submit an official, sealed school transcript to the Board
  • Enclose a signed and notarized recent 2” x 2” photo of yourself (taken within the last year)

b. Apply for your Vermont CPA License. Review the Board’s New Applicant Guide, which will give you instructions on obtaining the initial licensure form and filling it out.

Interstate Reciprocal License

Do you possess a CPA certificate or license issued by another state and wish to practice as a CPA in Vermont? If so, you may apply for reciprocity.

  • If you have a license from any other state or jurisdiction, follow this process:
    • Complete the Application for Licensure by Endorsement, including the Verification of Licensure form found within the packet
    • Send a signed and notarized recent 2” x 2” photo of yourself
    • Send proof of completion of a four-hour Professional Ethics course
  • If your license is not from a state with requirements that are substantially equivalent to Vermont:
    • Include all of the above documentation
    • Document five years of public accountancy experience within the last ten years
    • Submit verification of 80 hours of continuing professional education within the two years preceding your application

International Reciprocal License

If you hold a CPA license from one of the following international jurisdictions, you may take the International Qualification Examination (IQEX) to seek a reciprocal CPA license in Vermont:

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

If your CPA license is not from one of these jurisdictions, you must follow the regular Vermont licensing procedure, commencing with applying to take the Uniform CPA Exam.

5. Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education in Vermont

Any CPA holding a Vermont license must complete continuing professional education (CPE) every two years to maintain that license.

a. Complete 80 hours of CPE every two years

  • For your first renewal period, complete 40 hours of CPE for each full year
  • 8 hours of CPE must be in accounting and auditing
  • 4 hours of CPE in ethics
  • 10 hours of CPE may be carried over from one biennial period to the next, but may not include hours form the accounting and auditing or ethics requirement

b. Enroll in approved subjects, including:

  • Accounting and auditing
  • Management
  • Taxation
  • Ethics
  • Information technology
  • Economics
  • Mathematics and applications in business
  • Business law
  • Functional fields of business (such as production, finance, marketing,business management and organization, personnel relations)
  • Specialized areas of industry
  • Any other subject that contributes to a CPA’s professional competence

c. Enroll in the right types of programs, including:

  • Educational and professional development programs of local, state, and national accounting organizations
  • Technical sessions of local, state and national accounting organizations and their chapter meetings
  • Credit and non-credit university and/or college courses
  • In-house firm education programs
  • Programs of other organizations
  • Professional societies’ committee meetings
  • Breakfast, luncheon and dinner meetings designed as educational programs
  • Company meetings for staff or management groups designed as educational programs
  • Correspondence and individual study programs (may not exceed 64 of the total 80 CPE hours in a two-year period)
  • Serving as an instructor, speaker or discussion leader (may not exceed 40 of the total 80 CPE hours in a two-year period)
  • Published articles or books (may not exceed 20 of the total 80 CPE hours in a two-year period)
  • Correspondence and self-study programs

Locate acceptable CPE programs in Vermont by contacting:

Document your CPE credits and retain such documentation for at least five years. You should keep formal records on the state’s CPE Reporting Form, which is submitted at license renewal. Your records should include:

  • The organization that sponsored the program
  • The location of the program
  • The dates of your attendance
  • The number of hours claimed
  • Title and/or description of program
  • Copy of the course outline of the program
  • Documented evidence of completion of self-study programs

Now That You’re a CPA in Vermont

Nice job! You are now a licensed CPA in Vermont!

You may benefit from joining one of a few professional organizations, including the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This is a great place to find continuing education programs, as well as networking and professional development opportunities. You should also consider becoming a member of the Vermont Society of Certified Public Accountants.

As a licensed CPA, you’ll be able to specialize in tax planning, financial planning, consulting services, forensic accounting, and much more.

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