Become A CPA In Texas - How To Guide

Become A CPA In Texas - How To Guide | Accounting Smarts
Charles Hall

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Charles Hall

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June 10, 2022

Texas students aspiring to be CPAs often wonder which path to take. If you are looking for a guide on how to become a CPA, then continue to read.

Texas students aspiring to be CPAs often wonder which path to take. If you are looking for a guide on how to become a CPA, then continue to read.

To become a CPA in Texas, first you must know the state's requirements to gain a CPA license. Secondly and most importantly, you will need to complete your undergraduate degree and gain working experience for two years. The final step will be for you to pass a CPA exam with TSBPA.

To become a CPA in Texas, you must complete a minimum of 150 credit hours in an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college. Once you obtain a license as a CPA in Texas, you must complete 120 credits hours in continuing professional education (CPE) per 3-years reporting period. You will have to earn at least 20 credit hours (CPE) per one-year period. However, if you are a CPA who received his/her license less than 12 months ago, you do not need to fulfill the CPE credit requirement. This article will give you a complete insight into what CPA is, what your job responsibilities will be as a CPA, and how you can become one in the state of Texas.  

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were over 1.4 million jobs for accountants in the state of Texas. As an accountant, you can earn a median pay of $35.37 per hour or $73 560 per year. Moreover, the experts at BLS forecast that the job demand for accounting professionals will grow by 4 percent by 2029, creating over 60,000 more jobs in the field.

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What is a CPA?

CPA is an abbreviation for Certified Public Accountant, a professional in the field of accounting who has completed a degree and has met all CPA licensing requirements by the state of Texas. The educational training, work experience, and passing your CPA exam earn you the designation of CPA in Texas.

What are the Job Responsibilities of a CPA

First, you must remember that CPA is not a job title or a career path. It is actually a professional designation in accounting that allows you more mobility and flexibility in your career as a professional accountant.

Typically, you will become a licensed CPA only in one state. However, you can enjoy the status of a licensed CPA in other states on the basis of reciprocity laws.

No matter which industry you choose, the companies will seek you out for the industry knowledge, reliability, and credentials as a CPA. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), here are the five popular sectors you will be able to work in as a CPA.

  • Business and Industry
  • Education
  • Government
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Public accounting

However, there is a long list of job opportunities after earning a CPA; therefore, do not limit yourself to the above-mentioned sectors.

Remember, every Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an experienced accountant. However, not all experienced accountants become CPAs. While an accountant is a person who keeps track of the financial records and interprets them, a CPA can venture into other job functions and even choose an industry to work in or specialize in.

As a CPA, you will be able to perform several other services. Thanks to the knowledge of a degree, extensive experience, appearing in the CPA exam, and gaining additional CPE credits. That said, AICPA states five areas of expertise when it comes to CPA job responsibilities which are.

  • Auditing and Review
  • Consulting Services
  • Litigation consulting
  • Financial planning
  • Tax consulting and preparation

If you wish to acquire a CPA status, be patient and plan wisely. CPA is all about total commitment and resilience to continue your education even after earning your CPA designation. However, it is fruitful that most of the accounting and finance fields consider your CPA license as one of the most respected and prestigious designations an accounting professional can earn.

Your Job Responsibilities as a CPA in an Accounting Firm

If you wish to earn a CPA designation and work at an accounting firm, here is a list of job areas you expect to work in.

Audit and Assurance Services

Assurance services refer to independent professional services that can help improve the context or quality of information for the decision-makers in a company. This applies to both non-financial and financial industries.

On the other hand, auditing is an objective-based position where you evaluate the economic and financial information in order to ensure its accuracy and correctness. In this case, you must familiarize yourself with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and make sure that the financial and economic data meets GAAP pre-requisites.

Tax Services

The tax services entail the preparation and filing of all local, state level, and federal tax returns. Additionally, you will be working with the companies and/or individuals throughout the year with the aim to minimize their tax obligations.

If the IRS audit or any other local or state level tax authority has questions, it will be your responsibility as a CPA to represent your clients, for both individuals and the organization.

Management Services

In Management services, you will provide assistance to the company or individual in supervision and management of their day-to-day activities. As a CPA, you will also provide them with long-range and strategic planning.

These services may include financial planning, budgeting, cash management, etc. Plus, you will also prepare their financial statements, coordinate their insurance compliances, provide investment guidance, estate planning services and handle risk management

Why Become a CPA in Texas

If you are on the fence about becoming a CPA in Texas, the answer is logical and straightforward. The CPA designation puts a stamp of assurance on the quality of services you provide. The CPA license demonstrates to the employee that you have met the very highest standards of achievement and competence as a professional accountant.

However, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), here are the five significant reasons for you to endure this rigorous pathway of becoming a CPA in Texas.

Respect and Prestige

Once you have conquered the strenuous journey of passing the CPA exam and fulfilled all other state requirements, you will become a member of an elite group of professional accountants in Texas. Finally, it is your time to take pride in all your accomplishments and competence in the field.

Exponential Career Development

As a Certified Public Accountant, you will have access to an exponential range of professional and career growth.  You can pursue the continued potential growth within the accounting industry, such as working for an accountancy firm. Alternatively, you can work in a different industry for a company or an individual as a CPA professional

High Career Security

The CPA professionals working in Texas remain high in demand. As the retiring CPAs leave the market, there will always be increasing job opportunities for new CPA licensed professionals such as yourself.

Pure Job Satisfaction

Once you have earned the CPA designation in Texas, you will become one of the most qualified accounting professionals with specialization to perform some of the highly critical tasks. This will offer you pure job satisfaction.

Benefits and Money/Salary

The salary and benefits as a CPA professional depend on your specific skill set, level of expertise. However, rest assured that as a CPA, you will be earning higher than any non-CPA accounting professionals in the company or industry.

Steps to Become a CPA in Texas?

Becoming a CPA in Texas requires careful planning and investment. Here are essential steps to becoming a CPA in Texas

Complete your Undergraduate Degree

First, you must complete an undergraduate degree in accounting or a relevant field. In the state of Texas, every CPA must complete 150 credit hours from an accredited institution.

Gain Experience in the State of Texas

If you wish to become a CPA in Texas, you must fulfill one of the most essential criteria, i.e., work experience. The state of Texas requires every CPA candidate to meet the prerequisite of gaining a designated amount of experience working as a public accountant.

Your work experience requirement for CPA in Texas states that you must have worked at least two years in a public accounting role. There is an additional requirement, i.e., you must gain this experience under the supervision of a licensed Certified Public Accountant.

In order to gauge your eligibility, you can use a website by NASBA especially created for the purpose of experience verification.  You will also find all specifications of requirements as per your current location for an accurate track of your progress.

Are you wondering which companies to work for to gain this kind of work experience? Well, you can choose to work for any public accounting firm that provides consulting, tax, and audit services to organizations or individual clients.

Once you become a CPA, you can always move to the private sector and work for any company nationally or internationally.

Enrolling to Appear for CPA Exam

Whether you are living in Texas or outside the state, you will have to apply to take an exam. For this, you must contact Texas State Board for Public Accountancy (TSBPA) and pay the fee applicable at the time of your request. Once the board accepts your application and approves your request to take the CPA exam, you will receive a Notice of Schedule or NTS.

The Certified Public Accountant Exam consists of four separate tests. Therefore, you will only pay the fee for each test when you schedule one.

Time to Prepare for Your CPA Exam

Now that you have the approval to take your CPA exam, it is time to get your preparation gear on and get down to business. There are myriad resources that you can choose from when it comes to studying and preparing for your CPA exam.

You can do it via self-help through flashcards, textbooks, and video lectures. You can even enroll yourself in one of the live test preparation courses offered by various institutes in the state of Texas. All you need is hop on to Google and search for the term such as "CPA exam preparation near me" or "CPA exam preparation in Texas" etc.

Well, be easy on yourself because it has probably been a while since your last academic endeavor. Therefore, you must always consider the studying format that has suited you in the past. This will help you easily slide into study mode without any mental block.

Some people have no issues with self-studying, and they can literally and diligently prepare for CPA exams all by themselves. However, others may need structured and supervised instructions to guide them and pass the exam.

The Consensus is that in order to prepare for the CPA exam, you will need approximately 400 hours of study under your belt. This means you will have to assign or invest 100 hours for each of the four tests to gain CPA designation.

What type of Questions Appear in CPA Exam

Do not feel shy; you are not the only one curious about what type of question they will ask you in a CPA exam. Here is a quick overview of the different types of questions you will have to answer in each of the four tests.

Multiple-Choice Questions or MCQs

These are one of the most common types of questions that appear in almost all formats of certifications. All four tests pertaining to the Certified Public Accountant Exam will include several multiple-choice questions. Each of the questions will typically come with four choices you can choose the answer from.

The exam writers are very clever and diligent. They make sure they do not provide any hint in the answer choices that may give away the right answer. All four choices given for answers are usually the same length approximately.

Simulations

In the past few years, the AICPA organization has made it very clear that they put great emphasis on questions with task-based simulations. As a candidate who wishes to earn a CPA designation, these questions test your ability to apply your body of knowledge about accounting to any given situation.

However, this is far more difficult than you think. Answering these task-based simulations will raise the bar far higher than answering simple multiple-choice questions because you will get any answers. Instead, you have to apply your accounting knowledge and experience to solve a particular problem.  

Written Communication Skills

The written communication test is also known as BEC, which stands for Business Environment and Concepts. In this test, you will have to answer essay questions. Here is a tip; you must always outline your thoughts prior to your attempt to write the essay answers.

Do not worry; you can always find sample tests for all four tests mentioned above online. Simply visit the AICPA website, and you can practice some of the sample tests from previous years.

Schedule a CPA Exam's Test Date

In order to take your CPA exam test, you will have to appear at an approved and designated test center near you. However, it is entirely up to you when and where you wish to take each of the four tests. There is no obligation for you to appear for all four tests from the same test center. You can opt for a center as per your convenience.

You will be taking each CPA test at one of the Prometric test centers, and the whole test will be on a computer. If you wish to book a test date, you can do so by visiting the Prometric website and schedule a test date for your Certified Public Accountant Exam.

When you book your test date, you will have to enter your ID number given to you by TSBPA. You will find this iD number in your NTS. Once you have done this, the Prometric will send you an email of confirmation with your details and test date for each test.

You do not have to book all four tests at once. You can simply take one test at a time and book the next one when you feel ready. However, there are test windows throughout the year, so always book your tests during these times. Here is quick information on which test windows are available throughout the year.

  • From January to March
  • April to June
  • July to September
  • October to December

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to confirm with Prometric about when the next window will open in the area near you in Texas.

Ethics

There is an additional CPA requirement by the state of Texas. You will have to complete a prerequisite, i.e., "the examination on the board Rules of Professional Conduct" as an accountant before they issue you a CPA license.

Furthermore, in order to become a CPA in Texas and obtain your license, you will also have to complete a 4-hour CPE Ethics pre-requisite.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Become a CPA

While you may have several questions in your mind, we hope that you found most of the answers in the article above. That said, here are quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about CPA in general.

Should I consider becoming a CPA?

The accounting pundits believe that the demands of accountants will grow by 6 percent in the years to come, i.e., the end of 2028. Therefore, it is logical to say that the job requirement for CPAs is also going to increase because they are specialists and have extensive experience than a normal accountant in the industry.

Do I have to meet all the minimum prerequisites by the State of Texas?

The answer is a straightforward yes. If you wish to become a CPA in Texas, you will have fulfilled each and every requirement stated by the board in the state of Texas. The process is challenging, but the perks to come will make this strenuous journey worthwhile.

Can I Get Exemptions to Apply for CPA?

No, there are no exemptions that you can avail of. Therefore, fulfill the eligibility criteria before you can receive your NTS by TSBPA.

How long will it take me to become a CPA?

The CPA exam consists of four individual tests that you take one by one. However, you must pass all four of these within a time limit of 18 months. Your 18-month time limit will start with you receiving the first passing mark.

Starting from July 1st, 2020, the testing windows are now available throughout the year.  This will allow you to take the exams as quickly as you want to.

Can I become a CPA without a degree in accounting?

Yes, you will need an accredited undergraduate degree in accounting. However, if you started on a non-accounting educational path, you can always complete a minimum amount of accounting credit hours required by the Texas State Board for Public Accountancy.

However, you must fulfill the 150 hours of the degree course requirement and the relevant work experience as well.

 Do I need a Master's degree to become a CPA?

No, there is no such requirement for you to earn a Master's degree to become a CPA in Texas. However, if you are considering pursuing a Master's degree or already have one, it will not stop you from seeking your CPA license.

Is it hard to become a CPA in Texas?

Well, all good things come at a price. Here the price is hard work and grueling hours of study. You will have to invest around 200 to 400 study hours to prepare for a CPA exam. As a CPA candidate, you must spend approximately 20 to 25 hours studying and preparing for your exam every week.

However, you have to do it fast though; remember you must clear all four tests within a time frame of 18 months once you clear your first test.

How Can I Become a CPA online?

Well, you can study offline, at home, or online; it is totally up to you. All the TSBPA requires is that you earn a bachelor's degree in accounting with 150 credit hours under your belt and two years of experience.  You can even prepare for your CPA exam test online.

You can either take live classes through a teaching institute or simply take virtual lectures already uploaded by the coaches. So, yes, you can become a CPA online in Texas.

Charles Hall

Charles Hall

Charles has spent 25 plus years in the world of accounting and business. His experience includes working as a CPA/Auditor international accounting firms. He has worked as a controller and as a COO for small to medium sized companies.

Learn more about Charles Hall