CPA Requirements in Missouri

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Updated October 18, 2023

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What does it take to become a certified public accountant in Missouri? Learn about the exam, experience, and educational requirements with this helpful guide.

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Union Station in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, at dusk. Credit: Edwin Remsberg / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Missouri's first public accountant advertised their business in 1896. Today, accountants and auditors can enjoy living and working among the Show-Me State's natural beauty, low costs, and cultural diversity.

Certified public accountants (CPAs) in Missouri can serve at top firms in major cities such as St. Louis or help lead agriculture or automotive companies in the state's vast rural areas. Missouri's accountants earn an annual mean wage of $77,070 according to May 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CPA requirements in Missouri mirror those of many other states, including education, experience, and examination. In the following guide, find out more about how to become a CPA in Missouri.

Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Missouri

To sit for the CPA exam in Missouri, you must earn 120 college credits, including 24 accounting credits and 24 business education credits. Once you pass the exam, you need an additional 30 credits, including six credits in business and six in accounting. These hours should culminate in a bachelor's degree or a master's degree.

A bachelor's degree usually comprises 120 credits. Many master's programs require about 36 credits on top of a bachelor's degree — just six more than Missouri requires for CPA licensure. An accelerated bachelor's-to-master's program can help students meet Missouri's educational requirements quickly and efficiently.

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Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance

While you need a degree to become a Missouri CPA, you do not have to major in accounting or business. You do, however, need 30 credits of business and 30 of accounting to apply for licensure. A candidate often earns an undergraduate and a graduate degree to meet the full credit requirement.

Majoring in business or accounting may help you complete your CPA requirements. You might also consider a master of accountancy, master of taxation, or master of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in accounting.

Missouri does not stipulate which courses you should take or how many courses should be at the undergraduate or graduate levels. The state does, however, recommend courses in the areas listed below.

  • Accounting information systems
  • Data analytics, data interrogation techniques, or digital acumen
  • Ethics
  • Fraud examination
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Taxation
  • Business law
  • Information systems or technology
  • Quantitative methods
  • Statistics

The Missouri State Board of Accountancy accepts up to nine credits earned through formal internships or independent study. All course credits must come from accredited higher education institutions.

Missouri Experience Requirements

CPA requirements in Missouri include one year of full-time work experience in an accounting-related position. The state board considers 2,000 hours earned in 1-3 years equal to one year of experience. A candidate pursuing a career as an auditor needs an additional 2,000 hours of experience in auditing.

The state board credits you for any work involving accounting, tax review, attest, management advisory, compilation, financial advisory, or consulting skills. You can work in government, academia, or public practice performing auditing, budgeting, or governmental accounting. A CPA must supervise your work, and if you perform attest services, your supervisor must have at least 2,000 hours of experience in attestation.

Candidates document their experience on their application form, which requires a signature from the supervising CPA. Upon receiving your application for licensure, the board reviews your work for diversity and complexity. You may need to appear before the board to substantiate or verify your work experience.

CPA Exam Requirements

The Uniform CPA Examination plays a critical role in your quest to become a CPA. Although each state determines the qualifications for licensure in their jurisdiction, the exam is the single consistent factor across all states. Let's take a look at Missouri's specific exam requirements.

Eligibility to Take the Exam

To apply for the CPA exam, you must have completed 120 credits from an accredited college or university. At least 24 of those credits need to be in accounting and 24 in business. Applicants who completed their higher education credits outside the U.S. should submit their academic credentials for review.

If you have not completed the educational requirements but expect to do so within 60 days of testing, you may apply. You must sit for the exam within 60 days of receiving approval to test, however.

All applicants need to be at least 18 years of age and of good moral character. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen, but you need a Social Security number and Missouri residency. Each candidate completes the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' ethics exam or another written exam in professional ethics acceptable to the Missouri board. You can take this exam after completing the Uniform CPA Examination.

Applying for and Scheduling the Exam

To take the exam, you must create an account on CPA Central. Using your account, you can apply to take one or more sections of the exam. For your application to be approved, confirm that you have met all the eligibility requirements.

If you have completed your educational requirements, ask the registrar at each school you attended to submit your transcripts to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

If you are still enrolled, you must add a certificate of enrollment form signed by an officer of the college. Applicants who need an evaluation of credits earned at schools outside the U.S. and candidates requesting testing accommodations should also submit request forms.

After NASBA approves your application, you receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). You have six months to schedule your exam at a Prometric center. You can schedule your test by calling 800-580-9648 and providing the customer service representative with information from your NTS.

The application fee is $180, and each exam costs $238.15. You have 18 months to pass all four sections of the exam. If you do not pass any portion of the exam within that period, you must retake it. Returning test-takers pay a registration fee of $100 in addition to the exam fees.

After Passing the Exam

After passing the Uniform CPA Examination, you must complete the remainder of your educational credits. Applicants who take longer than five years to do so must also earn 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) units.

You must also complete 2,000 hours of qualifying accounting experience under a licensed CPA within 1-3 years of passing the exam. Finally, you need to pass the ethics exam.

Next, complete the application for your CPA license through the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. The application fee is $90. Your CPA certificate will arrive in the mail, and you can use it to verify your licensure to prospective employers.

Maintaining Licensure

A Missouri CPA license expires every two years. The accounting board mails a renewal reminder 60 days before the license expires so you can complete the re-licensure paperwork.

To maintain your Missouri CPA license, you must complete 40 CPE hours each calendar year. At least two of those hours must cover ethics. The Missouri State Board of Accountancy allows a grace period through March 1 to rectify any CPE deficiencies in the previous year.

CPEs must meet NASBA's CPE standards or those of a similar accounting board. Some CPAs earn CPE credit for leading an accounting workshop, taking a college course in accounting, publishing an article or book, authoring a program, or serving as a technical reviewer for a CPE. Document your CPEs by retaining certificates of completion or using another board-approved documentation method.

If you are already a CPA, you may transfer your license to Missouri if you have completed the Uniform CPA Examination, a qualifying ethics exam, and at least 2,000 hours of supervised experience. An out-of-state applicant looking to add a Missouri license should have four years of experience. In Missouri, the majority of owners in a CPA firm must be licensed CPAs.

Questions About CPAs in Missouri

How do I become a CPA in Missouri?

To become a CPA in Missouri, start by completing 120 college credits. Next, you must pass the Uniform CPA Examination, earn 30 additional credits, pass the ethics exam, and complete one year of full-time professional experience. Once you have completed Missouri's CPA requirements, you can apply for a license.

Who can take the CPA licensure exam in Missouri?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have completed 120 credits, including 24 in business and 24 in accounting. They also need to demonstrate good moral character.

How long does it take in Missouri to become a CPA?

Earning 150 college credits takes about six years of full-time study. Successful test-takers must complete 2,000 hours — about one year — of full-time experience before applying for licensure. Aspiring CPAs should plan on seven or more years of study and work.

When can I sit for the CPA exam in Missouri?

You must have completed 120 college credits, including 24 credits in accounting and 24 in general business. These credits are usually enough to complete a bachelor's degree, which is a requirement for licensure.

How much is a CPA license in Missouri?

It costs $90 for an individual license to practice or for a firm permit to practice in Missouri. A renewal costs $80, and delinquent fees run $25 a month up to $100. These fees are on top of CPA exam costs, tuition, and other fees.

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