August 13, 2020

work experience requirement

Could An Honest Work Experience Mistake Mean Losing a CPA License?

Having trouble picking out your KPMG ice cream? Need help drafting a professional email to your interns? Facing a life crisis and Psychic Friends Network won't even take your calls? Get in touch and we'll do what we can. Question:  I just noticed that my state requires my work experience take place after I finished […]

Do CPA Exam Scores Ever Expire?

Need a pep talk before you pick up the phone and call your state board of accountancy? Feeling lost in a sea of MCQ? Just want to talk? I'm here; let's get through it together. If I passed all the CPA exams as of July 2010, but have yet to receive my CPA license (needed […]

Delaware CPA Exam Candidate Isn’t Sure About Audit Hours

Are you a CPA exam candidate desperate for answers with no clue how to find them? Let me do the Googling for you, shoot me a note and I promise I won’t get snippy (my doctor adjusted my dose).

Hello Adrienne,

I do have 99.99% of the education requirements needed to sit for the CPA exam. All but one, I don’t have any auditing credit hours. Am I going to be able to sit for the CPA or should I go back to school and complete this requirement?

Here’s the good news: in some states, you can sit for the exam before you meet all licensure requirements, and in most, that means experience can wait until you have sat for and passed all exam sections. The lengtave to complete these experience requirements varies by state and due to the ever-changing nature of exam requirements, you will want to verify any information I’m about to give you with the state board directly just to be safe. No one’s perfect, especially me. Delaware candidates may contact NASBA’s Delaware coordinator Misun Shin at mshin@nasba.org or (615) 880-4263.

So, once you sit for and pass all four parts of the CPA exam, you’ll need to take the AICPA ethics exam, which you can order directly from them. Don’t trip too hard, it’s self-study meaning open book. AICPA members get it cheaper than non-members so be sure to join first before you buy it.

Assuming you’ve aced those two steps, you can then worry about your experience.

Delaware work experience is based on the degree you hold. If you have a Master’s, you will need 1 year of experience as an employee of a CPA firm or equivalent experience as an accountant in other fields (e.g., government, commerce, industry). Bachelor’s holders must have 2 years of experience and Associates (yes, Delaware allows you to sit for the exam with a 2 year degree) must have 4 years of experience to be licensed to practice as a CPA in that state. You can no longer receive a certificate (non-practicing CPA title) from Delaware as of 2006.

Your other option is to complete your work experience requirement as an owner, principal or employee of a public accounting firm (full-time). Double the numbers above; 2 years for Master’s holders, 4 for Bachelor’s and 8 for an Associate.

Nowhere on the Delaware Board of Accountancy’s site do I see a mention of audit hours.

The Delaware State Society of CPA’s BeaCPA website states:

2 years experience obtained in engagement, resulting in the preparation and issuance of financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or other comprehensive bases of accounting as defined in the standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

as a requirement for Associate and Bachelor’s holders. Master’s candidates must obtain 1 year experience including any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, internal audit, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills.

What this says to me is that you don’t actually need audit hours at all unless you plan on doing audits. Delaware would like auditing to be a part of your 21 required accounting units that make up your education requirement but does not require it.

Again, check with the state board just to be 100% sure but it looks like you’re all clear to sit for the exam at this point, no reason to wait until you have the experience.

Good luck and please check in with us to let us know how your exams turn out!

What Happens If CPA Candidates Can’t Meet the Work Experience Requirement?

What happens when you have too few jobs for too many would-be CPAs who have the exam passed but no job prospects to meet the work experience requirement?

The CPAnet forums hit just that, asking if CPA exam scores ever expire:

I have passed all four sections of the CPA exam but currently I am not working under the supervision of a CPA. Is there a time limit on when to get the cpa license after passing the exams? Any consequence of not obtaining the license within the timeframe?

In fairness, one of the posters only passed completely in January, so it isn’t like they’ve been sitting on passing CPA exam scores for three years with no luck. Where are those people?

Anyway, in a world where there are too many warm bodies and not enough chairs, it’s useful to know whether you’ll have to sit for the CPA exam all over again in 5 years when you finally get a job or not.

The general rule, as with most aspects of the CPA exam, is that it varies by state. In California, you will have to take additional CPE after 5 years if you don’t meet your licensure experience requirement by then.

Or, it could be that there are plenty of jobs but not for people who aren’t capable of doing them.

The problem could be picky HR professionals on the other end, and I wouldn’t blame them at all. If I were in HR, I’d be wary of folks like this who spell their former employer’s name wrong. Maybe that’s not important to hiring managers and recruiters or I’m giving them too much credit for being that perceptive but there is a minimum here; it isn’t hard to meet it.