New York CPA Mentors: There Is More to Education Than 150 Credits

By Scarpati, Stephen | The CPA Journal, September 2017 | Go to article overview

New York CPA Mentors: There Is More to Education Than 150 Credits


Scarpati, Stephen, The CPA Journal


Many CPAs look back fondly at those who provided mentoring on their path to a CPA career. Whether a college professor, relative, friend, or co-worker, mentors are an important source of advice and counsel. A major component of the journey is, of course, education, where the 150-credit requirement is a focal point. All too often, however, an applicant for a CPA license is surprised to find that the education requirement has not been properly met. It is an easy mistake for CPA applicants to assume that, because they were an accounting major in college and ultimately attained the total 150 credits, they automatically fulfilled the CPA education requirement of their licensing state. This article hopes to minimize disappointments by alerting those mentors of New York CPAs about the circumstances that contribute towards education requirement discrepancies.

Insufficient Accounting Credits

The most common education requirement discrepancy in New York is that the applicant did not obtain the state's required 33 accounting credits. Not all undergraduate accounting programs comprise 33 credits; in these situations, students should have a plan to make up the difference. They could either take additional accounting courses as undergraduate electives or as part of a graduate program.

Falling short of the 33 credits can also happen when multiple states are involved, and it is certainly common for students to go to college outside New York but apply for a CPA license in New York State. Exhibit 1 gives a general comparison of accounting credit requirements for New York and its five neighboring states. States also have other, more specific regulations; details on these are available at the websites listed in Exhibit 2.

Except for Connecticut, New York's neighbors require fewer than 33 accounting credits. Accounting student mentors should be aware not only of the accounting credits of the particular college, but of the semester hours of accounting education for the state in which the student intends to seek a license. For example, a student from New York who attends a college in New Jersey with a 24-credit accounting program will have to take an additional three accounting courses of three credits each if that student intends to be licensed in New York. Accounting majors at New York colleges who are seeking a Connecticut CPA license may also need to augment their accounting education plan.

Qualifying Courses

New York State licensure requirements also identify content areas within the 150 credits for accounting and general business. For example, the 33 accounting credits must include at least one course in financial accounting and reporting, cost or managerial accounting, taxation, and auditing and attestation services (i.e., external auditing). The 36 general business credits can be from any of the following areas: business law, business statistics, business strategy, computer science, economics, finance, information technology and systems, management, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior, and quantitative methods. …

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