In Florida, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those interested in finance, accounting, or aspiring Limited Liability Company owners. CPAs are in high demand and enjoy lucrative salaries, job security, and growth opportunities. In Florida, as in any other state, aspiring CPAs must fulfill certain educational, experience, and examination requirements to become licensed. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to Becoming a CPA in Florida and provide valuable tips and resources to help you succeed.
Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before you become a CPA, all the steps in this article must guide you.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
What is a CPA?
A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a professional accountant who meets the educational, examination, and experience requirements to become licensed in Florida. CPAs are accounting, finance, and taxation experts, providing valuable services to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
In Florida, CPAs are licensed and regulated by the Florida Board of Accountancy, ensuring that they adhere to strict professional and ethical standards. CPAs in Florida offer a range of services, including but not limited to:
- Tax planning and preparation for individuals, LLCs, and corporations
- Financial statement preparation and analysis
- Auditing and assurance services
- Florida Business Consulting
- Internal control and risk management
- Forensic accounting and fraud investigation
As a CPA, one can work in various sectors, including public accounting firms, Florida Corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or as a self-employed professional. Regardless of the specific role, a CPA has the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise to help clients navigate the complexities of financial management and make informed decisions.
To maintain their CPA license in Florida, CPAs must also adhere to continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, ensuring that they stay up-to-date with current accounting standards, tax regulations, and industry best practices. This ensures Florida CPAs provide their clients with the highest service and expertise.
Becoming a CPA in Florida is not just about crunching numbers; it’s about providing valuable financial guidance to varied businesses. It’s about how to start an LLC and drive it towards success in this competitive landscape.– WEBINARCARE EDITORIAL TEAM
How to Become a CPA in Florida
Suppose you’re considering becoming a CPA in Florida. In that case, it’s important to understand the steps and requirements involved in obtaining your license and starting your professional journey. This step-by-step guide will walk you through becoming a CPA.
Step 1: Fulfill The Educational Requirements
The first step to becoming a CPA in Florida is to complete the necessary education requirements. The Florida Board of Accountancy requires CPA candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Additionally, candidates must complete 150 semester hours of college education, including specific coursework in accounting and business.
In Florida, CPA candidates must complete at least 24 semester hours in accounting courses, including:
- Financial Accounting
- Managerial Accounting
- Accounting Information Systems
- Governmental or Not-For-Profit Accounting
It is important to note that introductory accounting courses may not be counted towards the 24-hour requirement.
In addition to accounting courses, CPA candidates in Florida must also complete at least 24 semester hours in business-related courses, such as:
- Business Law
Some states also require specific coursework, such as Florida-specific ethics courses, so check with the Florida Board of Accountancy for any unique requirements.
Here is the coursework breakdown for becoming a CPA in Florida.
|Accounting Information Systems
Step 2: Pass The Uniform CPA Examination
After completing the educational requirements, the next step to becoming a CPA in Florida is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination on the NASBA website.
The CPA Exam is a comprehensive, four-part test designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in accounting and business. The four sections of the CPA Exam are:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG)
Each section of the CPA Exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 99, with a passing score of 75 or higher required for each section. The CPA Exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is offered at Prometric testing centers throughout the United States and, more specifically, in Florida.
CPA Exam Application Process
To apply for the CPA Exam in Florida, candidates must first create an account with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Once an account is created, candidates can submit their applications and send their official college transcripts to NASBA for evaluation. NASBA will then determine the candidate’s eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam based on their education and will provide an Authorization to Test (ATT) once approved. The required fee for the Florida CPA exam application costs $837 (4 exam sections) + $50 application fee.
CPA Exam Scheduling
Once candidates receive their ATT, they can schedule their CPA Exam sections at a Prometric testing center. The CPA Exam is offered during four testing windows throughout the year:
- January 1 – March 10
- April 1 – June 10
- July 1 – September 10
- October 1 – December 10
It is important to note that candidates must pass all four sections of the CPA Exam within an 18-month window, which begins upon passing the first section. If a candidate does not pass all four sections within this time frame, they will lose credit for the oldest passed section and must retake it.
Step 3: Complete The Experience Requirement
In addition to education and examination requirements, CPA candidates in Florida must fulfill an experience requirement to become licensed. The Florida Board of Accountancy requires candidates to complete at least one year (or 2,000 hours) of supervised work experience in accounting, auditing, tax, or management advisory services.
A licensed CPA must supervise the work experience with an active license in Florida or another jurisdiction with substantially equivalent requirements. It is important to note that the experience requirement must be completed within a timeframe of, at most, 36 months.
It is recommended that CPA candidates keep detailed records of their work experience, including dates, hours, tasks, and supervisor information. This documentation will be required when applying for licensure with the Florida Board of Accountancy.
Step 4: Pass The Florida Ethics Exam
Candidates must also pass an ethics exam before becoming a licensed CPA in Florida. The Florida Board of Accountancy may require a specific ethics course and exam, or candidates may be required to take the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam. This self-study course and exam cover ethical reasoning, independence, integrity, objectivity, and professional conduct. Candidates must score 90% or higher on the ethics exam to pass.
Step 5: Apply For Licensure
Once all educational, examination, and experience requirements have been met, CPA candidates can apply for licensure with the Florida Board of Accountancy. Candidates must apply, pay $50 initial license fee, $105 biennial renewal, and document their education, examination scores, work experience, and ethics exam completion.
After the Florida Board of Accountancy reviews and approves the application, candidates will be issued their CPA license and can begin practicing as a Certified Public Accountant in Florida.
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How Much Does a CPA Make?
The salary of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can vary greatly depending on factors such as years of experience, industry, company size, and job location. The average salary range for a CPA in Florida is between $60,000 and $120,000 annually.
Entry-level CPAs with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average salary of around $50,000 to $60,000 per year. As CPAs gain experience, their earning potential typically increases. Those with five to nine years of experience can earn an average salary of $70,000 to $90,000 per year, while CPAs with more than ten years of experience can earn upwards of $100,000 or more annually.
In Florida, CPAs working in metropolitan areas or specialized industries, such as finance or technology, may command higher salaries than those in smaller cities or industries with lower demand for accounting services.
Additionally, obtaining specialized certifications, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), or pursuing advanced degrees can further increase a CPA’s earning potential in accounting and finance.
- Become a CPA in Alabama
- Become a CPA in Alaska
- Become a CPA in Arizona
- Become a CPA in Arkansas
- Become a CPA in California
- Become a CPA in Colorado
- Become a CPA in Connecticut
- Become a CPA in DC
- Become a CPA in Delaware
- Become a CPA in Florida
- Become a CPA in Georgia
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How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Cpa in Florida
First and foremost, when it comes to education, consider exploring all your options. While attending a prestigious university may seem like the ideal route, it often comes with a hefty price tag. Look for community colleges or online programs that offer an accredited accounting curriculum at a lower cost. Many of these institutions provide excellent education, preparing you just as well for the CPA exams as more expensive alternatives. Be sure to thoroughly research the curriculum and reputation of any program you are considering to ensure its quality.
Additionally, textbooks are notorious for burning a hole in students’ pockets. Consider buying used textbooks or renting them instead. Online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay often provide used copies at significantly lower prices. Alternatively, check if your local library has the required textbooks available for borrowing. This way, you can save money and ensure you have the necessary resources to excel in your studies.
One major expense on the journey to becoming a CPA is the examination fees. It is crucial to plan your study schedule efficiently to avoid unnecessary exam retakes. Take full advantage of the free resources available online, including practice exams and study guides. Many websites and forums offer a wealth of materials created by experienced CPAs and accounting professionals. Dive into these resources and practice as much as possible to increase your chances of passing the exams on your first attempt.
While it may be tempting to attend multiple expensive CPA review courses, it is important to carefully consider your options. Compare prices and read reviews from other candidates who have taken these courses. Some offer more affordable packages without sacrificing the quality of instruction. Explore these alternatives and choose the one that best fits your budget and learning style. It is worth noting that dedication and self-discipline are equally important as any review course when it comes to exam success.
Beyond the exam fees, becoming a CPA in Florida requires fulfilling the licensing requirements, which could also become a financial hurdle. Ensure you have a clear understanding of these requirements, such as work experience and continuing professional education. Leverage networking opportunities to connect with fellow accountants who may be willing to provide guidance and mentorship. They can share valuable insights on how to navigate the licensing process efficiently, potentially helping you save time and money.
In conclusion, while the costs associated with starting a career as a CPA in Florida can be overwhelming, they should not discourage passionate individuals from pursuing their dreams. By carefully considering your education options, minimizing textbook expenses, utilizing free online resources for exam preparation, and prioritizing efficient networking, you can make your journey to becoming a CPA more affordable. Always remember that a solid foundation of knowledge, combined with the right study habits and determination, is the key to success in this profession.
Becoming a CPA in Florida requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are worthwhile. With a strong foundation in education and experience, as well as successful completion of the CPA Exam and ethics exam, aspiring CPAs can enjoy a fulfilling and lucrative career in accounting and finance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a licensed CPA in Florida and making a significant impact in finance.