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With one of the strongest financial sectors in the country and boasting financial services as its fastest-growing industry, Utah creates a welcoming space for accounting professionals. Fintech, in particular, has grown rapidly in Utah over the past few years.
Big names in the industry, like Affirm and SoFi, have moved into the state. Other well-known companies, such as Discover and Cash App, have locations in Salt Lake City, the state's capital. Utah's business-friendly climate makes it an ideal location for accountants to pursue entry-level and advanced positions.
Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Utah may help professionals propel their careers. Utah CPA requirements include earning an accounting degree, passing exams, and gaining professional experience. Explore Utah CPA license requirements to prepare for licensure in the Beehive State.
Education Requirements for How to Become a CPA in Utah
Before sitting for the CPA exam, each candidate must complete at least 120 credits from an approved bachelor's or master's program. Eligible programs are typically accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
However, institutional accreditation is also acceptable if the program includes approved accounting and business courses. The state requires at least 150 credits to become licensed as a Utah CPA. Typical bachelor's programs include 120 credits.
Therefore, many candidates pursue additional education, like a master's degree, to meet requirements. An accelerated bachelor's-to-master's program can also help learners earn enough credits while saving time to obtain both degrees.
Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance
A candidate with an accounting or business education must earn 120 credits before taking the CPA exam in Utah. Utah does not accept transfer credits and requires official transcripts from each attended school. At least 24 credits must occur within upper-division accounting coursework covering the following areas:
Additionally, candidates must complete another 24 credits in non-accounting business courses:
- Business administration
- Business ethics
- Business law
- Business statistics
All candidates need at least 150 credits to become a licensed Utah CPA. Utah allows prospective CPAs to pursue several educational pathways to meet its licensure requirements, and the required number of accounting and business-focused credits varies with each path.
The first option applies to students with master's degrees. A graduate with a master of business administration (MBA) degree must have at least 24 upper-division credits in the accounting areas listed above or at least 15 credits of graduate-level coursework in these areas. Graduate students with accounting and taxation degrees do not need to meet these additional course requirements.
The second pathway allows bachelor's in accounting graduates to sit for the exam by fulfilling the 24-credit accounting subject requirements in upper-division or graduate-level coursework. They also must complete 30 hours in other upper-division or graduate-level accounting or business courses.
Finally, learners with a bachelor's degree in a subject other than accounting must complete 24 credits in the non-accounting business courses listed above. Additionally, students pursuing this pathway need 24 graduate-level or upper-division accounting courses in the following areas:
- Financial accounting
- Managerial or cost accounting
Another 30 credits must come from graduate-level or upper-division accounting and business courses.
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Utah Experience Requirements
Professional experience is essential to Utah's CPA requirements. The Utah Department of Commerce Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) verifies and approves work experience for CPA licensure within the state.
Each candidate must complete at least 2,000 hours of accounting work under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA. Utah does not have strict definitions of the allowed work, but the state requires all professional experience to use accounting and auditing skills.
Additionally, you can obtain hours from multiple jobs or internships but must remember to obtain verification from each supervisor.
CPA candidates must complete their hours before applying for licensure, as the license application includes experience verification. However, applicants can begin earning professional hours before or after taking and passing the CPA exam.
CPA Exam Requirements
Utah requires CPA license applicants to pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination: auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.
The sections comprise multiple-choice questions and simulations, with an additional writing task in the business environment and concepts section. Candidates have four hours for each section.
Although the exam is the same across all states, the following information details Utah-specific requirements.
Eligibility to Take the Exam
Before applying for the CPA exam in Utah, candidates must fulfill the 120-credit education requirement, including all mandatory accounting and business coursework. You can then submit an application and transcripts to NASBA's CPA Examination Services (CPAES) for approval.
Although Utah also mandates prospective CPAs to take Utah law and ethics exams, they can do so at any time on the road to licensure. These exams do not need to take place before the Uniform CPA Exam.
Utah does not have age, U.S. citizenship, or state residency requirements for CPA exam applicants. Additionally, Utah participates in the international reciprocity program, allowing Utah candidates to test in participating countries and international CPA candidates to test in Utah.
Applying for and Scheduling the Exam
Utah CPA candidates can apply for the CPA exam through NASBA's CPA Central website. Applicants should submit transcripts from each school they attended to CPAES for review. Candidates may mail paper transcripts with an official seal to CPAES, but schools must send the student's official transcripts if delivered electronically.
CPAES holds submitted transcripts for up to one year, allowing applicants time to apply with all required information. After one year, individuals must submit new transcripts for approval to sit for the exam.
If an applicant submits all necessary documents and meets Utah's CPA exam requirements, CPAES will approve them for the exam and provide a Notice to Schedule. When approved, candidates must schedule the exam themselves.
The exam requires a first-time applicant to pay an initial application fee of $145 and $238.15 for each exam section. Test-takers can apply and pay for all four sections together or separately. However, CPA candidates should plan to finish a section within six months of applying.
Additionally, a test-taker must pass all four sections within 18 months of passing their first section. A re-examination fee applies to failed exam sections, but candidates may retake a section multiple times. NASBA considers candidates re-examination applicants any time after getting CPAES approval for the CPA exam.
After Passing the Exam
Utah test-takers who pass the Uniform CPA Examination may apply for licensure at any time after completing the state's experience, law exam, and ethics exam requirements. The results do not expire.
To apply for licensure, candidates should submit their education, law exam, and ethics exam verifications with their application to the DOPL. The initial application fee for a CPA license in Utah is $85.
At this point, a candidate may have passed the exam and earned 120 credits. To earn licensure, they must have completed 150 credits and 2,000 hours of professional experience. Prospective CPAs often spend this time earning their additional 30 credits and completing the experience requirement.
Employers may perform a Utah CPA license lookup by visiting the Licensee Lookup and Verification System by filling in the candidate's name and clicking the Accountancy box to search for the licensee.
Every Utah CPA's license expires on Dec. 31 of even-numbered years. The DOPL mails renewal notices to all CPAs within 60 days of expiration. CPAs with lapsed licenses may submit a reinstatement form within two years of expiration. A reinstatement fee of $20 applies to applications sent within 30 days of expiration and $50 for applications after 30 days.
A CPA who fails to renew within the two-year grace period must reapply for licensure with a new application and pay relevant fees.
Utah requires CPAs to obtain at least 80 continuing professional education (CPE) credits during each two-year license period. Three CPE credits must cover ethics, and one CPE should explore Utah laws and regulations. Many programs granting CPE give candidates CPE verification certificates to use for approval.
The Utah Association of CPAs (UACPA) maintains a database of approved events, workshops, webinars, and seminars offering CPE. CPAs can also request CPE approval from the UACPA for events they participate in.
CPAs moving to Utah from other states must take Utah's ethics and law exams and apply for licensure through the DOPL.
Questions About Utah CPA License Requirements
How do I become a CPA in Utah?
Utah CPA requirements include at least 150 education credits in accounting and business, 2,000 hours of professional experience, and passing scores on the four CPA exam sections. Candidates should also pass an ethics and Utah law exam.
How many hours do you need for a CPA in Utah?
Utah CPA candidates need 120 credits of education to sit for the exam and 150 credits to obtain licensure. Each prospective CPA must also accrue at least 2,000 hours of experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA.
How long does it take to become a CPA in Utah?
Between the education and professional experience requirements to become a Utah CPA, candidates should expect the process to take about 5-7 years to complete. The exact length of time depends on how much education a candidate pursues and whether they gain work experience simultaneously with their education.
Who issues CPA licenses in Utah?
The DOPL verifies and approves DOPL applications in Utah. Candidates should submit all required documents, including experience and passed exam verification, to ensure a timely application approval.
How do I renew my CPA license in Utah?
CPAs in Utah must renew their license with the DOPL by Dec. 31 of even-numbered years. All CPAs must complete at least 80 CPE before the expiration date to renew their licenses.
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