Most students meet the CPA course requirements by completing a bachelor's degree program in accounting or other business-related field. Graduates of undergraduate accounting programs develop competency skills and the academic foundation required to pass the CPA exam. The exam is the same nationwide. Each state's Board of Accountancy determines its education and experience requirements. Students should contact the governing board in the jurisdiction where they will practice for the latest information. Following are some typical CPA course requirements.
An accounting professional should possess a variety of attributes, including a strong background in mathematics. Not only should individuals have an appreciation for the challenges and splendor of numbers, but they should also be analytical, organized and have an inquisitive mind. Accounting courses that are very common include auditing, bookkeeping, attestation, assurance, cost analysis, nonprofit accounting, government account and financial and managerial accounting. Students who successfully complete some combination of these classes, or others, should make significant progress in meeting the accounting portion of the CPA course requirements.
A CPA should have a keen understanding of business theories, concepts and practices. Most CPA course curriculum includes business-related courses that are designed to help students develop their knowledge and appreciation of the different dynamics of business entities and other organizations. Topics that may be covered include business administration, business law, economics, marketing and business principles and concepts.
Not only must accountants have the ability to determine if a particular regulation has an impact on an organization reporting, but they must also have the competency to reasonably ascertain what the affect of that impact will be. In addition, they are also expected to be knowledgeable of the latest federal tax laws. Individuals must understand various regulations regarding reporting procedures for businesses, nonprofits and government entities.
Students will need to gain proficiency in computers and various accounting software programs that have made it easier for accountants to analyze data and track information. Information technology has not only made ledgers, journals, calculators and adding machines obsolete, but has done away with many of the mistakes that were very common.
Possessing knowledge and insight into ethical standards is important for CPAs. It cannot be emphasized enough that, along with objectivity, reliability and competency, CPAs must also have a high degree of professional integrity. Shareholders, financial institutions and others depend on the reports of accountants for making important business and investment decisions. Generally, CPA course requirements include classes on business ethics and morality.