Tips for Applying for the CPA Exam

The time has come for me to apply for the Regulation (REG) portion of the CPA exam. As finals for many college graduates roll around and graduation is around the corner, I know there will also be plenty of CPA Exam candidates who will be applying to sit for the CPA Exam for their first time too. As a result, I wanted to share what I went through, especially as the process can be a bit overwhelming. I also have some advice on the essentials you’ll need to know to apply to sit for the CPA Exam.  

Apply at the correct place 

In my case, I’m sitting as a Florida candidate, so I had to navigate to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website to apply to take the CPA exam.  Your state agency might be different.  If you’re not sure which agency oversees the CPA exam, start by going to NASBA’s website, find the “Exams” header, and click on “CPA Exam.”  I would highly recommend reading the helpful paragraphs that give you a nice overview of what to expect. Afterward, scroll down and click on the state in which you’re intending to sit.  

Know what to provide

Requirements vary by state, so know what your state is expecting of you. In Florida, there’s a $50 up-front fee you have to pay before paying the testing center fees.  So that’s not the total money spent to take the exam!  In addition, they also wanted my official college transcript proving I’ve met their educational requirements for sitting.  If you apply to a different state than the one in which you live, you’ll also be asked to fill out and include the form titled Authorization for Interstate Exchange.  So when your time comes, make sure to have these ready!  I’m now realizing that I need to get my transcripts from my school, which costs extra money and can take a couple days to process. Ack!

Find out how your information will be received 

Another important factor to take into consideration is whether the state you’re applying to prefers everything delivered electronically or via snail mail. It turns out Florida is old school and wants everything mailed to them.  I’m a huge fan of filing anything electronically, so this bums me out a little bit. So make sure to ask whether or not your application will be submitted electronically or via the post office since this will affect the time it takes for everything to get processed. 

Create an application checklist 

It’s important to make sure you submit everything that’s required of you–similar to a job application. Missing one important piece of information will delay your application process. In the end, and as I was comparing my application to those of other states, I discovered that most require the same type of information. Here is a quick checklist of what I had to provide and is probably similar to other states’ application packet lists:

  • $50 check made payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
  • Hard copies of transcript
  • Hard copy of the application package (all filled out)
  • Supporting legal documents (only if you have a history with law enforcement)
  • Authorization for Interstate Exchange (if you’re an out-of-state candidate)

Try to have these in your hand ready to mail off or file electronically when your time comes to sit for the exam. You don’t want your application to be delayed due to missing documents that can sometimes require a wild goose chase to get a hold of. 

Be prepared ahead of time 

If I could choose one thing I want you to take away from reading this, it’s to be prepared and get these together ahead of time, so you’re not waiting around on the post office like I am. Or, the best way to go about this, is to research your state’s requirements and what you have to submit even before you’re eligible. This way, you’ll know exactly what is required of you and can request the documents ahead of time or give yourself a time window to receive them so that they’re ready to go right when you’re qualified to sit. Do this, and I guarantee you’ll be way ahead of the game. 

You may also be interested in checking out Roger CPA Review’s helpful eBook about how to Qualify and Apply to the CPA Exam. Good luck everyone! 

–Carrie Lynn Cross, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review 

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