Georgia CPA Requirements — Georgia CPA Exam Requirements & License Info

The Georgia CPA requirements are fairly flexible, and we like that this state is less strict about its CPA requirements than others. Like other states, Georgia still requires you to earn 150 college credit hours before you can be licensed.

Georgia CPA Requirements

To become a CPA in Georgia, you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or higher)
  • 150 total credit hours
  • 30 credit hours in accounting outside introductory courses
  • 24 credit hours of business coursework
  • A social security number
  • Passed the CPA Exam

Additionally, you must be 18 years-of-age or older.

Georgia CPA Exam Requirements vs. Georgia CPA License Requirements

To be able to take the CPA Exam in Georgia, you only need to have earned 120 credit hours and hold a bachelor’s degree (any major). Conversely, you need to have a bachelor’s degree, 150 credit hours, 30 credit hours in accounting, 24 credit hours in business, a social security number, be 18 years or older and pass the CPA Exam in order to be licensed as a Georgia CPA.

What’s Not Required of Georgia CPA Candidates

The Georgia CPA requirements do not need you to:

  • Live in the state of Georgia
  • Be a U.S. citizen

Applying for CPA Certification in Georgia is a process regulated by the Georgia State Board of Accountancy (GSBA). The GSBA consists of six licensed CPAs together with one Consumer Member. These board members oversee the process. It also protects the citizens by ensuring that CPAs have the required skills and experience. Georgia CPA Requirements include:

  • Pass the NASBA CPA Exam
  • Meet the educational and experience requirements
  • Apply for Initial licensure
  • Meet the on-going educational requirements to maintain certification

We discuss these requirements in detail below.

The Uniform CPA Examination

Individuals seeking to become Certified Public Accountants (CPA) must first pass the Uniform CPA Examination. With this in mind, the NASBA publishes The Candidate Bulletin to help you become familiar with the exam. When you apply for the exam, you confirm that you have read The Candidate Bulletin.

The CPA Exam Quiz

Before you apply to take a section of the CPA Exam, you must show that you are ready and eligible. The CPA Exam Quiz is a way to show you are prepared and begin your CPA Exam journey. Additionally, the CPA Exam Quiz asks a series of questions that will help you through the process.

Meeting the Requirements for the CPA Certification in Georgia

Educational Requirements for the Georgia CPA Certification

The educational requirements to apply for the CPA license in Georgia are dependant on the date you first took the CPA Exam. Applicants sitting for the CPA exam before January 1, 1998 must have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 20 semester hours in Accounting above the introductory level

Correspondingly, applicants taking the exam for the first time after January 1, 1998, must meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 30 semester hours in Accounting at an intermediate/ advanced level
  • A total of 150 semester hours of education
  • 24 semester hours in business subjects

The first two courses in accounting qualify as elementary level, regardless of the course difficulty. These courses are not counted toward the required 30 semester hours in accounting.

Special note to BCOM + CA holders:

Education requirements must be met through academic coursework completed at an accredited institution. Professional training is not acceptable toward these requirements. Coursework completed as part of a Chartered Accountant program is considered professional training.  Therefore, it is not accepted toward the education requirements for the U.S. Uniform CPA Examination.

Experience Requirements for Georgia CPA Certification

Public Accounting Experience for Georgia CPA Requirements

Employment as a staff accountant by a currently licensed CPA or a firm of duly licensed accountants registered, certified, or licensed to practice in the state of Georgia or duly licensed to practice in any other state or country qualifies. Allowed experience includes:

  • Services involving accounting
  • Auditing
  • Attestation skills
  • Consulting services
  • Preparation of taxes, or providing tax advice

Public Accounting Experience for the Georgia CPA Requirements:

  • Experience at least one year in duration, completed within one year before the date of application
  • Minimum of 2,000 hours of experience
  • Supervised experience by a licensed CPA

Industry Accounting Experience for the Georgia CPA Requirements

Industry or business accounting experience is acceptable if the applicant was employed by an individual or business performing the use of accounting and auditing skills, following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The corresponding experience must meet the following requirements:

  • Experience at least one year in duration, completed within one year before the date of application
  • Minimum of 2.000 hours of experience
  • Supervised by a currently licensed CPA or registered public Accountant

Government Accounting Experience that Meet the Georgia CPA Requirements

To earn qualifying experience in government, the applicant must be or have been:

  •  Employed by a local, state, or federal government agency which receives public funds
  •  Considered a public employee
  • Employed by a government body recognized by the Board as performing auditing and accounting functions
  • Must have at least one year of experience, completed within one year before the date of application
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience
  • If your employment was at the Internal Revenue Service, it must have been at or above the GS 11 level.

Teaching Experience

Experience earned as a teacher in the accounting discipline must have been at an accredited four-year college or university and include the following:

  • Teaching at least two different accounting courses above the introductory level
  • A minimum of 24 semester hours taught in a period of 12 to 36 months.
  • Courses taught must be inside the accounting field.

Additional Requirements to Take the CPA Exam

In addition to the exam, experience and educational requirements, the following qualifications apply:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  • Also, the applicant must have a valid Social Security Number
  • However, US citizenship is NOT required
  • And Georgia residence is NOT required
  • An Ethics Exam is not required

Before Applying to Take the Exam

Before applying to take the exam, it is wise to go over all the requirements and make sure that you qualify. Georgia offers a NASBA Advisory Evaluation as an optional service to help you identify any academic deficiencies. Use the evaluation before you submit your first-time application for the exam. You can learn more about this service by visiting CPA Central.

Prior to beginning the Advisory Evaluation process, you create a user account and send additional required documents and information to:

CPA Examination Services – GA
PO Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219

Fees

The following fees apply:

  • Initial Application – $140
  • Transfer of Grades – $220
  • Reciprocal Fees – $220
  • Firm – $225
  • Firm Late Filing – $475

After Passing the Georgia CPA Exam

When you have completed the exam, educational requirements, and experience, you must submit a new Individual License Application to the NASBA through the GSBA. You can apply through GSBA Services.

After completing your file, paying your fees, and submitting all required materials to the NASBA’s Licensing Service, allow up to two weeks for processing. A receipt of application arrives by email unless otherwise instructed.

International Candidates

Georgia also accepts International Candidates. Furthermore, educational requirements completed at an accredited institution are eligible and cannot include professional training. Coursework completed through the Chartered Accountant program is professional training and not counted toward the education requirements for the US Uniform CPA License.

In addition, applicants who obtained their educational requirements outside the US must have their credentials evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Services.

To Apply for a Firm License in Georgia

To qualify for a firm license in Georgia, the firm must meet the following requirements:

  • A simple majority of the partners, members, or shareholder owners are CPAs in good standing in Georgia or other states. CPAs whose place of business is in Georgia must hold a permit from Georgia.
  • An individual holding practice privileges in Georgia and performing services for which the firm registration is necessary does not need a certificate or permit from Georgia.
  • The firm must comply with all requirements and provisions of state law governing the organizational form in the firm’s principal state of business.
  • Of course, the firm complies with all regulations of firms registered with the Georgia State Board.
  • Likewise, each office within the state of Georgia must be under the supervision of a partner, principal, shareholder, or staff employee holding a live permit.
  • Furthermore, the Office Manager, partners, members, or shareholders who are practicing public accountancy in Georgia must be a CPA in good standing.
  • Additionally, firms that offer audits, reviews, or compilations must enroll in a Georgia State Board approved Peer Review Program.
  • Other requirements apply. For more information, go to the NASBA website for Georgia

CPE Requirements for CPA Licensure in Georgia

During the first year of licensure, no Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is required, After the first renewal, 80 hours of CPE coursework taken for every two years, with a minimum of 20 hours each year. The following rules apply to CPE requirements.

  •  When licensed less that one year at the first renewal date, no CPE hours needed.
  • If licensed at least one year, but less than two years, 40 CPE hours need to be completed.
  • At the end of the renewal period, CPE requirements must be completed, or the license will expire.
  • But, if the license expires, reinstatement is at the discretion of the board.
  • Additionally, CPAs who have reached the age of 70 are exempt from CPE requirements.
  • Licensees must retain documentation of CPE credits for five years.

What CPE Courses are Eligible for CPE Hours?

The Georgia State Board of Accountancy does not pre-approve courses or providers for CPE hours. Therefore, the licensee is responsible for determining the eligibility of CPE hours according to the Board Rules found in Chapter 20-11.

Where Can I Take These Accounting CPE Courses for Georgia CPA Requirements

Individual Study Programs, Correspondence Programs, and internet courses are eligible for CPE credit as long as they meet all the course requirements.

Alternately, we recommend CPE Link, a CPE provider registered with NASBA on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors (Registry ID: 109068). The Societies of CPAs in California, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and West Virginia endorse their courses.

CPE Link offers over 1,000 hours of self-study content taught by accounting and tax professionals–all experts in their fields with many years of practical experience to share.

What if the Georgia CPA Requirements Don’t Work for Me?

Check out these pages to learn about the educational and experience requirements, with my recommendation at the end of the posts:

 

Additional Information About Becoming a Georgia CPA

Georgia State Board of Accountancy

200 Piedmont Ave.
Suite 1604, West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: 404-463-0365
Email: GSBA@sao.ga.gov

 

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites

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  • Stephanie says:

    Dave, let’s continue our discussions here.

    I am surprised that no one is able to help you on this despite your very diligent research on the matter… but I understand — I have been there. Neither NASBA nor my state board answered any of my questions.

    First of all, going back to getting your CPA after years of experience is doable. That’s what I did. You can sit for the exam and then fulfill the rest of the experience (see below on the last point). But you are doing the right thing to make sure it’s worthwhile at all to sit for the exam in the first place.

    Anyway, the sentences with capital letters are straight from the Georgia State board website (the link you included in the comment).

    TWO YEARS AND 4, 000 HOURS IN PUBLIC ACCOUNTING; FIVE YEARS AND 10,000 HOURS IN BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, GOVERNMENT OR COLLEGE TEACHING (TEACHING AT A 4 YEAR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT AREAS OF ACCOUNTING ABOVE THE INTRODUCTORY OR ELEMENTARY LEVEL) OR A COMBINATION OF WORK EXPERIENCE IN PUBLIC ACCOUNTING, BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, GOVERNMENT OR COLLEGE TEACHING.

    It does look like that you have/will have relevant experience, in the business field. So we’ll need 5 years.

    ALL WORK EXPERIENCE MUST HAVE BEEN SUPERVISED BY A PERSON WHO HOLDS A LIVE PERMIT AS A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT OR REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT EXCEPT FOR GOVERNMENT OR COLLEGE TEACHING. IN THESE TWO AREAS YOU MUST BE SUPERVISED, HOWEVER, THE SUPERVISOR IS NOT REQUIRED TO HOLD A CPA OR RPA LICENSE.

    And your experience has to be supervised by a CPA. If your CFO isn’t a CPA, how about the controller, or someone who is senior in your department that you have worked for? If you are dealing with accounting and reporting there really should be some CPAs around… but do check whether they are active. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them, you can always check their CPA status on the web.

    THE EXPERIENCE MUST HAVE BEEN EARNED NO EARLIER THAN ONE-YEAR PRIOR TO APPLICATION; THE EXPERIENCE MAY HAVE BREAKS IN SERVICE OF NO LONGER THAN 1-YEAR IN DURATION.

    That means that you’ll have to plan working in the general accounting field for at least 4 more years.

    So, it looks like the biggest problem is the supervision by an active CPA. If you really can’t identify one, maybe you can start looking for states that only requires “verification” vs “supervision” by CPA.

    Of course, with an out-of-state CPA license you might not be able to work in public accounting in Georgia, but if you stay in private, there is no problem. You can still use the CPA title in your business cards and so on as long as you get a full CPA license.

    If you are ok with getting the CPA qualification outside of Georgia, I can look for the states that requires only verification from the CPA for you. Let me know… Stephanie

  • sugandha says:

    hi stephanie

    Firstly I must thank you for putting together such detailed info about cpa. I have just landed in US ( Georgia ) with my husband and I plan to do CPA. I have going through numerous sites for the relevant info –
    I have a few questions to ask you

    1) I am an Indian chartered accountant and hold a B.Com degree also. ( however the issue is that I have lost my degree for my B.Com and have got only the marksheets) do you think only marksheets would suffice for evaluation. If not can i just submit my CA degree would it be sufficient for the hours required as per Georgia state law.
    2) Refer to your discussion above with Dave – do you suggest i apply from some other state with less stringent requirements. I plan to do cpa only for adding to my credentials.

    Thanks

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi sugandha,
    May I suggest you go to this page for more information for international / H4 visa candidates?

    Thanks and good luck!
    Stephanie

  • Stephanie says:

    Dear all,
    I have set up a new comment box powered by Facebook to let me answer your questions more efficiently. It can be found right after each article. Thanks! Stephanie

  • dhara says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    I really appreciate your efforts for helping the CPA aspirants to achieve their goal and solving their difficulties.

    I have completed M.Com from India, have work experience of five years,planning to appear for CPA exams in the US. First of all,which state should I pick and why? Also, how are the job prospects on completion of this course especially for international candidate in this depressed economy?

    Thanks for your time!
    Dhara.

  • dhara says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    I really appreciate your efforts for helping the CPA aspirants to achieve their goal and solving their difficulties.

    I have completed M.Com from India, have work experience of five years,planning to appear for CPA exams in the US. First of all,which state should I pick and why? Also, how are the job prospects on completion of this course especially for international candidate in this depressed economy?

    Thanks for your time!
    Dhara.

  • shuang says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    Your efforts are much appreciated.
    I am a canadian citizen, live in toronto, I passed all part of CPA examination in 2009. Originally, I applied with New Hampshire under my instructor’s instruction, I found that was a big mistake after I passed part of the examination. I would like transfer my registration information to New York state now, then go to NY to find a firm job, and then finally get my license there. The information from New York state board of accountancy looks not clear enough, so I am wondering if you could tell some advantages or disadvantages about New York?

    Thanks

    Shuang

  • Moonshine9709 says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have been a silent follower of your page for quite some time now. I am interested in doing cpa in Georgia and am trying to find answers to my questions. I have b.com from india and mba from USA. I got my bcom evaluated by NIES and they have me total credit of 94.50 equivalent to undergraduate in the US.
    Before I pay the application fees for cpa and submit my transcripts to Georgia coordinator how would I know if I am eligible to sit for exam in Georgia. The masters degree that I have is from a college in New York and totals to 34 credits on my transcript.
    I just want to be sure that I don’t lose the money before I pay that and find out I need more courses to finish to get more credits.
    Any information you are able to share would be truly appreciated.

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