Florida CPA Exam Requirements 2022: The Critical Steps

florida cpa exam requirements

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If you’re wondering how to become a CPA in Florida, we’ve summarized the Florida CPA exam requirements below so that you’ll know the exact steps to becoming a licensed CPA in the Sunshine state.

How to Save Yourself MONTHS of Time and Frustration
Keep in mind that the CPA exam is the one part of getting your CPA license that you can control how long it takes. The education and experience requirements take as long as they take, but the CPA exams can take you as little as 6 months, or as long as multiple years… depending on how effective your study process is from the beginning.
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Summary of Florida CPA License Requirements

Credit Hours to Sit for CPA Exams120
Upper-Division Accounting Hours to Sit24
Upper-Division Business Hours to Sit24
Bachelor’s Required to Sit for CPA Exams?No
Credit Hours for CPA License150
Accounting Semester Hours Required for the CPA License30
Business Semester Hours Required for the CPA License36
Master’s Degree Required?No
Work Experience Required1 Year
Ethics Exam Required?No
Required CPE Hours Every Two Years80
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Website

Florida CPA Exam Requirements

In Florida, you can sit for the CPA exams as long as you have 120 credit hours, which need to include 24 semester hours of upper-division accounting classes, and 24 semester hours of upper-division business classes.

Once you successfully pass the Uniform CPA Examination (meaning the four CPA exams), you will need to fulfill the 150 credit hour requirement, which needs to include 30 semester hours of accounting classes and 36 semester hours of business classes.

Florida CPA Education Requirements

To sit for the CPA exam and ultimately get your CPA license in Florida, you’ll need to meet the Florida CPA education requirements put forth by the Florida Board of Accountancy.  

In a nutshell, to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, you must have completed 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours. The 120 credit hours should be from an accredited college or university that primarily focuses on business and accounting courses, and must comprise:

  • 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) in upper-level accounting courses that include cost accounting and auditing
  • At least 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of financial accounting
  • At least 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of U.S. Taxation

All of the above accounting courses must be at an upper-division level. In addition, these courses must be from a recognized educational institution. Some additional auditing and accounting majors that are accepted for CPA eligibility include:

  • Fraud Detection
  • International Accounting
  • Review of internal and management controls
  • Financial Statement disclosure
  • Compilation and Review
  • Management Accounting
  • Auditing Financial Statements, Operating Systems, and Programs

You must have completed 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) of general business courses including:

  • At least 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of business law based on U.S. Law

In Florida, you are not required to have a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree to sit for the CPA exam and the credit hours will do for the education requirements. However, having at least a baccalaureate degree is a must to claim your CPA license.

Unlike some states, the state of Florida offers the CPA license to international students as well and you don’t necessarily need to be a U.S. Citizen to become a CPA in Florida. International students outside the U.S. can search online for the nearest CPA examination services in their country.

Accredited Educational Institutions

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)
  • Association of Independent Colleges and Schools, unless the college or school accredited by the AICS is regulated by the Commission for Independent Education and exempted from licensure by the CIE under the provisions of section 246.085, F.S.
  • Canadian, Mexican, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Hong Kong academic accounting programs approved by the provincial education bodies or the equivalent educational accreditation body for that country.

Florida CPA Work Experience Requirements

If you meet the above academic criteria, you are eligible to sit for the CPA exam. However, to gain your CPA license in Florida, there is a Florida CPA experience requirement of one year of work experience that must be in accordance with the criteria set by the Florida Board of Accountancy, and any type of service, no matter how technical or advanced, will not be counted for eligibility if it doesn’t meet the criteria. The work experience:

  • Must start after completion of the 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours in accordance with the academic criteria listed above.
  • Should be a service or advice that involves the use of accounting, auditing, financial or management advisory, compilation, tax, or business consulting skills and these skills must be verified by a CPA. That means you should work with a CPA under his direct supervision.
  • The Florida Board of Accountancy Committee has explicitly stated that the verification must be made by a manager that you have worked with directly, and verifications of colleagues or other indirect managers will not be acceptable. The manager should be a licensed CPA in the United States and need not necessarily be licensed by the Florida state.
  • Is acceptable both working for a year straight or in parts —the total of which equals at least one year. However, the work should average at least 20 hours a week with no more than 104 weeks or 40 hours on average with no more than 52 weeks.

To verify your work experience form, your CPA must certify that the work you have performed is not trivial and customarily performed by standard full-time employees and that the work accounted for a minimum of 2,000 hours completed in more than 52 weeks but no more than 104 weeks.

Alternatively, relevant work experience of 5+ years in Canada or Australia under the supervision of an active Chartered Accountant is also acceptable for CPA Florida.

Exam & Fee Structure CPA Florida

In order to obtain your CPA license in Florida, you are required to pass all 4 sections of the CPA exam. First-time candidates are to submit the initial application fee (currently $170) along with the first-time application directly to the Florida State Board of Accountancy. No testing fee is charged and if your application gets approved, you will receive a Jurisdiction ID number that allows you to apply online for the examination.

Candidates who wish to re-appear for the exam(meaning a re-take of a failed section) are required to pay both the registration fee and examination fee at the time of registration. The fee can be paid directly by using a credit card.

Once you have your jurisdiction ID in hand, you can either apply for one, two, or even ALL 4 CPA exam sections. The 4 CPA Florida exam sections are as follows:

  1. Auditing & Attestation (AUD)
    • This exam section covers the basics of financial and attest services, such as audits, reviews, compilations, and preparation agreements. This portion covers financial reporting frameworks from industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards
  2. Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)
    • This exam section covers general business concepts, such as economics, business communications, and related business courses. This portion covers general business concepts, including international business. You’ll need to use excellent writing skills to complete this part of the exam.
  3. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
    • This exam section covers financial accounting topics for all business entities, including the government and nonprofits. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
  4. Regulation (REG)
    • This exam section covers federal taxation, tax services, professional ethics, and business law for individuals and business entities. This ethics portion of the exam explores your professional and legal responsibilities.

Once you pass your first CPA exam section, you are required to pass all four sections of the exam within 18 months (referred to as the “rolling period”). 

The rolling period starts right after the score for the first examination is released. Therefore, your best bet to successfully complete all sections is to plan your exams effectively. One way is to go for the toughest one at the start to avoid unsuccessful attempts in the rolling period. If you fail to complete all four exams within the rolling period, the credit score expires by section meaning that you will lose credit for each section passed outside (before) the rolling period and will have to re-attempt those sections.

The CPA exam is one of the most challenging and technical accountancy exams in the world that goes beyond testing your accounting capabilities!

It is noteworthy to mention here that once you have applied for the examination, you cannot request a refund merely because you are not prepared for the examination. The refund works in situations when you have a strong reason to convince the board for a full or partial refund.

Florida CPA Exam Cost Breakdown

The Florida CPA exam cost consists of five main fees: an initial exam application fee of $170, the registration fee which is $75, the $226.15 per CPA exam section totaling $905 for all four sections, the initial license fee that costs $50, and the renewal fee of $105.

Initial Application$170.00
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$226.15
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)$226.15
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$226.15
Regulation (REG)$226.15
Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections$905.00
Registration Fees
4 Examination Sections$75.00
3 Examination Sections$75.00
2 Examination Sections$75.00
1 Examination Section$75.00
Initial CPA License Registration Fee$50.00
Renewal Fee$105.00
Late Renewal Fee$380.00

Getting your Florida CPA License: Step-By-Step

Now let’s connect the dots and tell you exactly what to do from inception to licensure.

The first step you need to perform is to check the CPA exam and licensure requirements in Florida. In a nutshell, if you have 120+ semester hours from an accredited institution that fulfills the above CPA academic criteria, you are eligible to sit for the CPA exam in Florida.

To be able to apply for CPA License you need to have a total of 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours which includes the following courses:

  1. 30 semesters or 45 quarter hours in upper-level accounting courses that include cost accounting and auditing
    • At least 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of financial accounting
    • At least 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of U.S. Taxation
  2. You must have completed 36 semester hours (54 quarter hours) and not less than 21 semester or 32 quarter hours of general business courses must be at the upper-division level including:
    • At least 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of business law based on U.S. Law

Eligible? Great. The next step is to check the course contents of each of the four sections and decide which one should you attempt first. As mentioned earlier, pick one or two (depending on how much time you have for studies) and submit the application form along with the first-time application directly to the Florida Board of Accountancy. You will receive a jurisdiction ID number should your form gets approved by the board.

Next, apply online for the CPA examination using your jurisdiction ID alongside entering details like your social security number and you are good to go!

However, becoming a CPA is not just about passing the CPA exams; you need to have at least one year of relevant work experience verified by a certified public accountant registered with the American Institute of CPAs. The experience must be equivalent to 2,000 hours and your supervisory CPA must certify that the work you have performed is not trivial and relates to operations that are performed by standard full-time employees. Also, this should take more than 52 weeks but no more than 104 weeks.

Unlike most states, there are no Florida CPA ethics exam requirements and you are not required to complete the Ethics Exam in order to get your CPA license in Florida. If you successfully pass all four sections within the rolling period, have the 150-course credits, and have completed the required work experience, you may now apply for your CPA license online or through paper. Make sure all documents are complete and submit them to the board. You should be able to obtain your Florida CPA license and take your professional journey to next level.

CPA License Renewal

Once you become a CPA, you would need to complete at least 80 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit every 2 years with at least 4 hours of Florida-specific ethics and at least 8 hours of accounting or auditing are required, to maintain your CPA designation and remain an active CPA licensee. Basically, the purpose of CPE is to keep pace with current information and the continuously changing business dynamics.

To inject a bit of motivation, it is possible to become a CPA merely by going through the course contents of the four sections but that would take a lot of time since it would require a lot of reading and some accounting textbooks can be well over 1000+ pages!

That being said, if you want to play it smart and efficiently receive your CPA license, you need a helping hand. Remember your teacher in school telling you exactly what to do in order to pass that exam? You did pass it right?!

Fees

  • Initial License Application Fee: $50
  • Renewal Fee: $105.

Choosing a CPA Review Course

The CPA exams are so difficult that you will definitely need a CPA review course.

A CPA review course typically includes a test bank of questions and practice simulations along with answers explaining how best to solve each type of question, video lectures, digital flashcards, and 1-1 mentoring to better prepare the candidate for the exam. Here are some review courses that you can take to help you pass the CPA license exam:

  • Wiley
  • Becker
  • Gleim Exam Prep
  • Surgent CPA Review
  • Uworld Roger CPA review

In order to make the most out of a CPA review course, you need to solve questions under strict exam conditions and do not consult any book or video lecture unless you have finished answering the question.

Is CPA Worth it in Florida?

CPA is among the most reputed accountancy tags in the world and they are deemed highly qualified professionals by employers since they are more than just number-crunching accountants. Florida, being the southeastern hub of the U.S. economy, has a lot to offer such professionals.

What does a CPA do?

From fortune 500 to local businesses, CPAs have a wide range of career opportunities and can perform a variety of roles in both public and private sectors. Here is a list of some of the career paths that CPAs can take:

  • Public Accounting
  • Tax Consultancy
  • Business Consultancy
  • Audit and Attestation
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Investment Advisory
  • Financial Advisory

Having your CPA will open many doors and gives you a higher career ceiling than you would otherwise. You will have an extremely stable and high-paying career, and will be respected by your peers, colleagues, and clients by getting your CPA license.

Florida CPA Exam F.A.Q.s

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding Florida’s CPA exam and CPA licensure requirements.

What Are the Requirements to Sit for the CPA Exam in Florida?

To sit for the CPA exam in Florida, you must meet the education requirements which require at least a bachelor’s degree and 120 semester hours of college. 24 semester hours in upper-level accounting courses that include cost accounting and auditing, with 3 semester hours of financial accounting, and 3 semester hours of U.S. Taxation. 24 semester hours of business courses with 3 semester hours of business law based on U.S. Law.

How Long Does it Take to Become a CPA in Florida?

You will need to attain the full 150 semester hours required nationwide. This is roughly five years of education, then one year to take and pass the CPA exam, and then one year to meet the experience requirement. That makes a total of 6-7 years to get your CPA license. Once you have met all the requirements and have submitted your application to receive your CPA license from the Florida Board of Accountancy, if approved you will receive your license in the mail within 3-4 weeks.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the CPA Exam in Florida?

The total cost of the CPA exam for an aspiring CPA in Florida is $1,149.60, this is considering that you pass all exams on the first try. The breakdown of the cost is $170 for the application fee, $904.60 exam fee for all four sections of the exam ($226.15 per section), and a $75 registration fee.

How Many CPAs are in Florida?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as per the May 2021 data, there are currently around 73,690 accountants in Florida with an annual salary of $74,960.

Do CPA Scores Expire in Florida?

Regardless of the state, once a CPA candidate passes their first CPA exam section, they then have 18 months to pass the remaining three CPA exam sections to complete the Uniform CPA Examination. Once a CPA candidate has passed the Uniform CPA Examination, their scores never expire in Florida.

How Many Accounting Credits Do you Need to Sit for the CPA License in Florida?

You must complete at least 24 semester hours in upper-level accounting courses that include cost accounting and auditing, with 3 semester hours of financial accounting, and 3 semester hours of U.S. Taxation. 24 semester hours of business law with 3 semester hours (4 quarter hours) of business law based on U.S. Law.

Does Florida Require an Ethics Exam for the CPA?

No, unlike most states, you are not required to complete the Ethics Exam in order to get your CPA license in Florida.

What are the CPE Requirements for a CPA in Florida?

You would need to complete at least 80 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits every 2 years with at least 4 hours of Florida-specific ethics and at least 8 hours of accounting or auditing are required, to maintain your CPA designation and remain an active CPA licensee.

Can You Sit for the CPA Exam with 120 Credits in Florida?

Yes, but you will need to meet the required semester hours for accounting and business courses. 24 semester hours in upper-level accounting courses that include cost accounting and auditing, with 3 semester hours of financial accounting, and 3 semester hours of U.S. Taxation. 24 semester hours of business courses with 3 semester hours of business law based on U.S. Law.

Who Issues CPA License in Florida?

CPA Licenses are issued by the Florida Board of Accountancy.

Does Florida Have CPA Reciprocity?

Individuals, and firms, who hold current/active licenses from substantially equivalent states, are granted practice privileges. However, individuals wishing to establish an office in this state must meet the requirements for Florida CPA firm licensure.

How Do I Verify a CPA License in Florida?

You can use the Florida License Lookup Tool or you can contact the Florida Board of Accountancy.

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