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Historically known as an agricultural powerhouse, Kansas also hosts a diverse modern economy. The Kansas Department of Commerce cites advanced manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and corporate and professional services as leading industries. Certified public accountants (CPAs) perform crucial work within these and other sectors in the state.
Kansas is a two-tier state, requiring accountants to become certified before qualifying for full licensure. The state also requires CPA candidates to hold in-state residency status. Aspiring accountants may therefore want to consider earning their accounting degrees in Kansas.
This career prep resource covers information for accountants on the path to CPA licensure in Kansas. In addition to covering how to become a CPA in Kansas, aspiring professionals can explore details on license renewal, continuing professional education (CPE), and more.
Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Kansas
Students must meet specific education requirements to qualify for the Uniform CPA Examination and CPA licensure. These requirements vary by state.
Like other U.S. states, Kansas requires a CPA applicant to have 150 college credits and a bachelor's degree to obtain a license. Standard bachelor's programs usually cover about 120 credits, leaving CPA candidates to earn approximately 30 additional credits.
Unlike many other states, Kansas requires candidates to meet the 150-credit requirement before sitting for the Uniform CPA Exam. As such, students may want to consider an accelerated bachelor's-to-master's accounting program. Unlike most standard bachelor's programs, bachelor's-to-master's accounting degrees fulfill all CPA education requirements.
Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance
A first-time CPA exam candidate in Kansas must have a bachelor's degree covering at least 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours. The degree must have an accounting concentration, which the Kansas Board of Accountancy defines as having:
- At least 42 semester hours (63 quarter hours) of business and general education courses
- At least 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of accounting coursework
- At least 11 semester hours (16.5 quarter hours) of communications courses
Additional specifics apply to the required coursework in each of these three categories. The 42 semester hours of business education must include:
- At least two courses in business law
- At least one course in each of macroeconomics and microeconomics, of which at least one must be an upper-division course
- At least one course covering applications of information systems
- Mathematics coursework in algebra, statistics, and probability theory
- Business coursework in finance, marketing, business management and administration, and business operations, production, or quantitative analysis
The 30 semester hours of accounting coursework must cover:
- Financial accounting and reporting at the intermediate or advanced level
- Non-introductory managerial accounting
- Non-introductory accounting information systems
The 11 semester hours of communications coursework includes both oral and written communications requirements.
150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours of college credits
42 semester hours of business coursework
30 semester hours of accounting coursework
11 semester hours of communications coursework
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Kansas Experience Requirements
In considering how to become a CPA in Kansas, each candidate must also factor in the state's experience requirements. You do not need work experience to sit for the CPA exam in Kansas, but you must meet experience requirements to qualify for full licensure.
Aspiring CPAs must have one year of work experience. The Kansas Board of Accountancy defines one year of work experience as:
- Part-time or full-time employment in academia, government, private industry, or public accounting practice
- At least 2,000 hours of accounting, attestation, auditing, compiling, consulting, or taxation services
- The period of employment must cover at least one calendar year and no more than three calendar years
As a two-tier state, CPA candidates in Kansas have two steps to complete on the path to licensure. First, emerging accountants receive a CPA certificate upon passing all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination.
In Kansas, aspiring CPAs gain their required work experience after obtaining certification. Once they meet the experience requirements, certified CPAs may then apply for full licensure. In Kansas, the full and unencumbered CPA license is also known as a "permit to practice."
Kansas is a two-tier state.
CPA candidates must pass the CPA exam to become certified.
After becoming certified, they must accrue one year (2,000 hours) of work experience.
Upon meeting the experience requirements, certified CPAs qualify for full licensure.
CPA Exam Requirements
The Uniform CPA Examination is the same in all states, consisting of four sections that examinees must pass to become a CPA. Eligibility and application details vary among states, however. The following sections cover CPA exam standards for Kansas.
Eligibility to Take the Exam
Many states allow candidates to sit for the CPA exam if they have a bachelor's degree, which usually covers about 120 credits. However, Kansas requires CPA examinees to have all 150 credits within 60 days of taking the first section of the Uniform CPA Exam.
Furthermore, you must submit your academic transcripts and any other requested supporting documentation to CPA Examination Services (CPAES) of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). CPAES must receive this documentation within 120 days of the date you sat for your first section of the CPA exam, or the service will void your exam scores.
Kansas also requires examinees to pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)'s Professional Ethics Examination to obtain first-tier CPA certification. Additional ethics work is not required to proceed to second-tier CPA licensure.
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to sit for the CPA exam in Kansas. However, you must possess a U.S. Social Security number and Kansas residency to qualify.
Applying for and Scheduling the Exam
You may apply to sit for the CPA exam in Kansas through the state's NASBA portal. The application process includes the following basic steps:
- Create a NASBA user account.
- Register your candidacy, complete and submit your application online, and pay the required fees.
- Forward the necessary application documentation to NASBA.
Required documentation includes evidence that you meet the educational and state residency requirements. Your academic transcripts serve as the primary form of education verification.
The following rules apply to transcript submissions:
- Submit transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you have attended. The transcripts must be official and indicate the degree you earned.
- Physical transcripts may be submitted by you or your educational institution(s), but they must be sealed.
- Only education institutions can submit electronic transcripts.
- Photocopied transcripts are not accepted.
If NASBA accepts your exam application, you will receive a Notice to Schedule. At this stage, you will select the date and time of the exam section(s) you wish to take.
You do not need to take all four sections of the CPA exam at once, and you may take the four sections in any order. However, you must pass all four sections within 18 months of sitting for the first section.
As of April 2023, the following nonrefundable fees apply:
- $170 application fee
- $85 registration fee
- $238.15 examination fee per section
After Passing the Exam
Credit for sections you pass remains valid for 18 months. If you pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination within 18 months, you will become a Kansas-certified CPA. A fee of no more than $50 applies to issuing an original or replacement certificate.
Since Kansas is a two-tier state where certification precedes licensure, aspiring CPAs usually begin accruing their work experience after earning certification. These individuals may apply for full licensure after meeting the experience requirements.
You may verify your licensure standing to clients, employers, and other professionals or organizations through the Kansas State Board of Accountancy. The board works with NASBA's CPA Verify service to process verification requests.
In Kansas, CPA licenses (permits to practice) expire every two years. For renewal, Kansas CPAs must present proof of having completed at least 80 CPE hours during each two-year licensing period by July 1. CPE must cover accounting, auditing, ethics, or other approved areas of professional practice.
First-time licensees may not be required to cover all 80 hours. The Kansas Board of Accountancy assigns a pro-rated number of CPE hours to complete when you receive your initial permit to practice.
If you are a licensed CPA in Kansas and move to another state, you will need to meet your destination state's reciprocity requirements. CPAs moving from other jurisdictions to Kansas can apply for license reciprocity through the Kansas Board of Accountancy. Alternatively, they can seek NASBA-endorsed substantial equivalency by requesting an evaluation.
Under Kansas law, non-CPAs may hold ownership stakes in CPA firms. However, multiple technicalities apply. For example, the firm must be majority-owned by accountants with CPA licenses in Kansas or other states.
Questions About CPAs in Kansas
How do I become a CPA in Kansas?
Core Kansas CPA requirements include a bachelor's degree, 150 college education credits with an accounting concentration, and one year of work experience. Candidates must pass the Uniform CPA Examination and the AICPA's ethics exam.
Who can take the CPA licensure exam in Kansas?
In Kansas, you become eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination upon meeting the state's education requirements. These include a bachelor's degree with an accounting concentration and 150 college credits.
How long does it take in Kansas to become a CPA?
It usually takes about five years of full-time study to fulfill Kansas' education requirements. CPA candidates then have 1-3 years to accrue 2,000 hours of work experience. In total, the CPA journey in Kansas typically covers 6-8 years.
Is getting a CPA license in Kansas hard?
As a two-tier state, Kansas includes an extra step in its CPA licensing process. First, you must obtain your CPA certification by passing the Uniform CPA Examination. Next, you must earn one year of experience before qualifying for a license. Kansas requires candidates to possess all 150 credits to qualify for Uniform CPA Examination eligibility, but its requirements otherwise align with most states.
What are the CPE requirements for a CPA in Kansas?
A licensed CPA must complete at least 80 hours of CPE every two years to maintain eligibility for license renewal. First-time licensees may have lower requirements. The Kansas State Board of Accountancy will specify your requirements when providing initial licensure.
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