Wisconsin CPA Exam Requirements 2024: 5 Easy Steps

Wisconsin CPA Exam Requirements

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Wisconsin CPA Exam Requirements

If you want to become a CPA in Wisconsin, we’ve summarized the Wisconsin CPA exam requirements. Read below to know the exact steps and needs to be a licensed CPA in Badger State.

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Summary of Wisconsin CPA Requirements

Credit hours to sit for the CPA exam120
Bachelor’s required to sit for the CPA examYes
Credit hours in accounting subjects to sit for the CPA exam24
Total credit hours to receive a CPA license150
Credit hours in business subjects for the CPA license24
Work experience required to receive a CPA license1 Year
Ethics exam required to get a CPA licenseYes

Eligibility requirements

A person is only eligible to take the CPA exam if at least 120 semester hours of education at an institution include course work in accounting and business subjects, as determined by Wisconsin Accounting Examining Board.

The applicant should be 18 years of age.

There are no residency requirements for the state of Wisconsin.

The applicant should pass the Wisconsin ethics exam. The ethics exam is an online exam that you cannot take until submitting a complete application.

The applicants who did not take the ethics exam in Wisconsin will also need to have official verification of scores sent or submit their official transcripts for review.

Applicants will be emailed an authorized passcode and instructions on how to take the online exam after receipt of the application and all supporting documents for CPA licensure.

Educational Requirements

Wisconsin’s CPA Degree Requirements:

To meet the Wisconsin CPA education requirements, applicants will need to finish a bachelor’s degree completing 150 semester hours including 24 hours in accounting beyond the introductory level covering and 24 hours in business and economics courses other than accounting.

Since most the graduate degree in accounting consist of 120 semester hours, you can earn a master’s degree in accounting or get a baccalaureate certificate to get the additional 30 semester hours and complete the 150 semester hours required by the Wisconsin board.

The Wisconsin Accounting Examining Board and Wisconsin State Department of Regulation and Licensing will accept all accounting degrees and business and accounting courses earned through colleges and universities located anywhere in the country as long as they hold a standard accreditation recognized by any regionally accredited college by the U. S. Department of Education.

If the institution/s is located outside the U.S., your credits should be assessed by National Credentials Evaluation Services (NACES). The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing also requires courses in business law and taxation. This is in addition to any courses recommended by the evaluation.

CPA Degree and Course Requirements

For the CPA Exam:

Applicants must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours of education leading to a bachelor’s or graduate degree to apply for the Uniform CPA Exam, which includes at least 24 semester hours in accounting from an educational institution that is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours at the graduate level, or an equivalent combination that covers each of the following subject areas:

  • Financial accounting
  • Cost or managerial accounting
  • Taxation
  • Auditing
  • Accounting information systems

A bachelor’s degree is not required to apply. The 120 credits must be completed and include the above-required classes before applying.

For the CPA License:

Must have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited educational institution and have satisfied one of the following for the purposes of meeting the 150-hour coursework requirement:

  • Earned a master’s degree in accounting from an institution with an accounting program or department accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  • Earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited business program or college of business and completed at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours at the graduate level that cover each of the following subject areas:
    • Financial accounting
    • Cost or managerial accounting
    • Taxation
    • Auditing
    • Accounting information systems
  • Earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited educational institution and completed all of the following:
    • At least 24 semester hours in accounting from an accredited educational institution at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours at the graduate level that cover each of the following subject areas:
      • Financial accounting
      • Cost or managerial accounting
      • Taxation
      • Auditing
      • Accounting information systems
    • At least 24 semester hours in business and economics courses other than accounting courses at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours at the graduate level that cover each of these subjects:
      • Economics
      • Finance
      • Statistics or data analytics
      • Business law
      • Information technology

The board does not accept any CPA review courses whatsoever. However, CPA review courses will help you to be successful in passing the CPA licensure exam.

Needed Documentations


The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) will forward your transcripts to the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) after the official release of exam scores. DSPS may request additional documentation.

Credit for courses completed at institutions outside the U.S. must be transferred to an accredited bachelor’s degree institution inside the U.S. to check if it will be accepted toward the education requirements before taking the CPA exam.

  • Submit an official transcript from each school you attended.
  • The degree you have earned must be posted on your official transcript.
  • Official transcripts are those that have been issued by the institution’s Registrar’s Office and include the Registrar’s official seal.
  • Provided that the transcripts are official, they can be transferred via electronic delivery. Not all schools offer this service. It is better to contact your school Registrar’s office for additional information. The email that you can use is etranscript@nasba.org
  • All electronically transferred transcripts must be submitted directly from institution/s.
  • Photocopies of transcripts are prohibited.

Additional requirements or information should be sent to:

CPA Examination Services – WI
PO Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219

Disabled Applicants

Examination administration accommodations for applicants with disabilities are in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Studying for the CPA Exam

The CPA exam consists of the three core sections and candidates would need to select one of the three discipline to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge, allowing candidates to choose a specialization. There is no set order in which the exam portions must be completed. The components of the CPA test are as follows:

  • Auditing and Attestation. This exam section covers the basics of financial and attest services, such as audits, reviews, compilations, and preparing agreements.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting. This exam section covers financial accounting topics for all business entities, including the government and nonprofits.
  • Regulation. This exam section covers federal taxation, tax services, professional ethics, and business law for individuals and business entities.
  • Disciplines
    • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR): Focused on financial reporting, data analytics, and performance management. This area is suitable for those who are interested in financial analysis and reporting. An extension of FAR core.
    • Information Systems and Controls (ISC): Concentrates on IT governance, data security, and system controls. Ideal for individuals who wish to specialize in IT audits and information security. An extension of AUD core.
    • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP): Centers on personal financial planning and tax compliance for individuals, businesses, and other entities. Suitable for those with a strong interest in taxation and financial planning. An extension of REG core.

You may take the required test sections in any order, but you must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination within an 18-month period beginning on the date the first examination section completed was taken. All components must be passed within the 18-month term. Any exam taken outside of the 18-month timeframe will result in a loss of credit.

Wisconsin CPA Exam Cost Breakdown

The Wisconsin CPA exam cost consists of five main fees: the education evaluation application fee of $90, the $397.80 exam fee which totals to $1,591.20, an initial credential fee of $43, the $75 ethics exam fee, and a renewal fee of $43.

Education Evaluation Application Fee$90.00
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$397.80
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$397.80
Regulation (REG)$397.80
Disciplines (ISC, TCP, or BAR)$397.80
Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections$1,591.20
1 examinations section$361.15
Ethics Exam Fee$75.00
Renewal Fee$43.00
Late Fee$25.00

Can I get a refund?

The application form and examination fees are not refundable. However, you may request an NTS extension or partial refund for examination fees under specific circumstances. You may check it from the Exception to Policy Form.

Uniform CPA Examination

Once the required education requirements of 120 semester credit hours of the 150 semester credit hour requirement have been completed, you can apply to take the Uniform CPA Examination.

Apply through CPA Examination Services (CPAES). All needed requirements should be sent to:

CPA Examination Services,
Attention: Wisconsin Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469 Nashville, TN 37219-8469

Send all the required documents.

Experience Requirements

You will get your license once the education requirement is met, you pass the CPA exam, and you fulfilled the required experience.

To meet the Wisconsin CPA experience requirements, candidates must complete one year of paid public accounting experience or equivalent as determined by the Wisconsin Board.

The following criteria should be met to qualifying experience:

  • Positions with titled accounting, auditing, financial analyst, and work with comptrollers or anyone working to prepare taxes
  • Accounting positions in industry and government with high knowledge, judgment, and competence.
  • Elementary individual tax returns and bookkeeping are not considered qualifying experiences.
  • Self-employment must be fully documented and presented in person to the board for review to be considered a qualifying experience.

Experience equivalents include:

  • Teaching advanced specialized accounting courses
  • Experience in law as long as it involves responsibility or independent accounting decisions and requires a high level of accounting knowledge

The following experience is equivalent to accounting experience per Wisconsin Examining Board :

  • Researching accounting literature or tax codes
  • Assigning accounting codes to invoices
  • Income tax preparation and projects, both corporate and individual
  • Financial statement consolidation
  • Audit support
  • Budget preparing, operating, and capital
  • Tax payments and returns
  • Expense account analysis
  • Account reconciliation
  • Software conversion/installing the financial system
  • Conducting internal audits
  • Analyzing financial buying and discounted cash flow
  • Analyzing base case financial models and buyers’ lists

The following experiences are NOT equivalent to accounting experience per Wisconsin Examining Board :

  • Cash register clerk
  • Supervising purchasing clerks
  • Analyzing insurance claims
  • Preparation of real estate closing statements
  • Secretarial support
  • Restaurant manager

You are required to submit your experience information and employment verification to Wisconsin to the board. A CPA in Wisconsin with an active license and good standing must validate all experience through the form.

Getting Your Wisconsin CPA License

The state of Wisconsin will not grant CPA credentials until all requirements for licensure are met. You are required to practice and advertise as a certified public accountant in Wisconsin.

Take these steps to get your CPA License:

  • 150-semester hours of college education and received at least a bachelor’s degree through an accredited program.
  • Successfully passed the Uniform CPA exam.
  • Completed one-year public accounting experience or equivalent.
  • Submit all the supporting documents and the Application for Certified Public Accountant Credential Form.

Out of Wisconsin State CPA

For those Certified Public Accountants that don’t reside in Wisconsin, you have the same right as the Wisconsin licensee. Residents and primary offices located in Wisconsin must obtain a Wisconsin CPA license in order to practice.

Endorsement Licensure

If you hold a CPA license in good standing in one of the following countries, you must meet all current Wisconsin licensure requirements and pass the IQEX (International Qualification Exam) and the Wisconsin ethics exam prior to licensure in Wisconsin by endorsement:

  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Hong Kong
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Ireland

Continuing Professional Education

Many CPAs, however, elect to join the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA), which does have CPE requirements.

The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and licensing does not require continued professional education in order to maintain CPA licensure.

Check the requirements set by WICPA:

  • New Member CPAs – New members of WICPA have no CPE requirement the year they joined. However, required to meet the minimum CPE requirement for the two years that remain in the three-year block.
  • CPAs Actively Practicing– Within every three years, member CPAs are required to complete 120 hours of CPE with no fewer than 20 hours each year.
  • Members Not in Active Public Practice – In each three-year reporting period, 90 hours must be completed with a minimum of 15 hours each year.
  • Reinstatement – If you are applying for reinstatement memberships you are required to complete the annual minimums (20 credits in public accounting and 15 credits not in public accounting) and meet the three-year requirements

CPE credits must be obtained through formal programs. You may check AICPA’s Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs.

Overall professional competence contributes to CPE credits. You may take the following:

  • Courses that contribute to the development and maintenance of other professional skills are also accepted.
  • Management advisory services (MAS), finance, information systems, behavioral and regulatory ethics, marketing, math, production, and economics courses.
  • Teaching CPE courses are accepted when they are determined to increase the instructor’s professional competence.
  • Accounting, auditing, taxation, and advisory services

You must maintain a five years CPE record. This includes attendance records, course outline, date and title of the course, location and instructor, and a number of CPE hours earned.

The Wisconsin Institute of CPAs (WICPA) Professional Conduct Committee verifies compliance with CPE requirements through random audits. If you are considered non-compliant with the CPE requirements, WICPA will grant a two-month grace period to comply.

After becoming a licensed CPA in Wisconsin, consider becoming a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and join the local Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These organizations present members with opportunities for professional development, continuing professional education programs, networking, and professional guidance.

Wisconsin doesn’t require CPE credits to maintain a CPA license unless the license has expired for more than five years.

If you want to specialize in Wisconsin, you may consider forensic accounting and fraud examination, tax accounting, financial accounting, and managerial accounting.

Wisconsin CPA Exam F.A.Qs

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding Wisconsin’s CPA Exam and CPA License requirements.

Do CPA Scores Expire in Wisconsin?

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 Wisconsin.

How Long Does It Take To Get a CPA License in Wisconsin?

While you can sit for the CPA exam once you have 120 semester hours, you will still need to attain the full 150 hours requirement. This is roughly five years of education, then one year to take and pass the exam, and then one year to meet the experience requirement. That makes a total of 6 – 7 years to get your CPA license.

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

To sit for the CPA exam in Wisconsin, you must be at least 18 years, old, be of good moral character, and meet the education requirements which require at least 120 semester hours of college, as well as paying the applicable exam fees.

How Do I Register to Take the Exam in Wisconsin?

To apply for the CPA Examination online, you need to create an account in CPA Central. You may register online via credit card, then schedule your exam in Prometric.

How Many Accounting Credits Do You Need to Sit For The CPA License in Wisconsin?

As part of the 150-semester-hour requirement, you will need to earn 24 semester hours in accounting, and 24 semester hours in business and economic courses. The accounting classes that meet the requirement would be classes in financial accounting, cost or managerial accounting, taxatation, auditing, and accounting information systems.

Does Wisconsin Require an Ethics Exam for the CPA?

Wisconsin requires that you take Wisconsin’s online ethics test which compromised of 50 items that cover the Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code. The minimum passing score is 80%.

How Much is the CPA Exam in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the cost of taking all four portions of the CPA test is $1,591.20, plus an education evaluation application fee of $90.

Who Issues CPA License in Wisconsin?

The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) administers Wisconsin’s CPA certificate and license.

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