I am honored to have Leslie-Anne Rogers, in-house expert on CPA exam qualification service at CPAexcel, to shed some light on changes in qualification rules, her views on evaluation agencies, and how she can help international candidates to successfully apply for the CPA exam.
Stephanie: I understand that you have been helping international CPA exam candidates for the last 16 years. How did you get started?
Leslie-Anne: I started working as a marketing coordinator for a large CPA review course provider who wanted to expand their reach into the Canadian market because there were a lot of Canadian and internationally educated candidates living in Canada who wanted to become U.S. CPAs.
One of my biggest early lessons was that most of these people weren’t initially interested in which review course to take; they were much more interested in getting accurate information on what it took to become a CPA, what the exam was like and if there was a state that would work for them from an eligibility standpoint.
That lesson lead me to shift my focus to what I specialize in now which is eligibility, state and evaluator selection and the application process and I provide assistance for candidates from all over the world. It is a really fun and rewarding job!
Stephanie: There has been quite a lot of changes in the state board rules on qualification especially in the past couple of years. In general, do you think it’s more difficult to get eligible for the exam?
Leslie-Anne: Yes, it has definitely become more difficult. For example, Delaware used to allow candidates to sit for the exam with a two year diploma and now they require five years of university. Most states have moved to requiring this amount of post-secondary education and this can be problematic for candidates who come from countries where a three year undergrad degree is the norm.
Stephanie: We have a lot of aspiring candidates from India. One of the most common questions is whether a holder of BCOM (or other 3-year bachelor degree) can get qualified for the CPA exam. What is your view on this? I usually ask these candidates to either get a 2-year master’s degree or transfer their credit to a 4-year degree and graduate from there.
Leslie-Anne: Our answers would be similar with some slight exceptions. For example, if a candidate is only interested in passing the CPA exam, there are a few states that they could write but that would depend on which university they attended and what their average marks were*. Those same candidates would then need to get an extra year of education in order to get the CPA designation as well as to show that they have meet the work experience requirements.
*For candidates who don’t qualify to sit based on this criteria, they would definitely be well advised to get a two year masters degree in accounting and/or business, that way, they would make themselves eligible for a number of states.
Stephanie: How about BCOM with CA certificate?
Leslie-Anne: There are still options available for Indian BCom candidates who also have their ICAI but my suggestion for candidates in this category is not to procrastinate, especially if they are serious about becoming CPAs! There are no guarantees that the states which currently accept Indian CA coursework will continue to do so.
Stephanie: Speaking of credential evaluation agencies, many states recognize more than one of them. Does it make a difference which agency we choose?
Leslie-Anne: Yes, it can often make the difference between being accepted or not accepted as an exam candidate.
Stephanie: What do you think about taking the CPA exam at non-US testing location?
Leslie-Anne: I think offering international testing sites was a brilliant idea. It has been a very exciting time for those candidates who live in the IExam countries because they can now save themselves the time and expense of traveling to the U.S. to sit for the exam and of course, the number of exam candidates in those countries has grown considerably.
Stephanie: Finally, many readers ask for help in transferring their CPA exam credit from one state to another, mostly because they realize they have trouble fulfilling the experience requirement after passing the CPA exam. Do you offer any assistance on this?
Leslie-Anne: Yes, I am definitely willing to give candidates information on switching states to one where they think they will be able fulfill the work experience requirements. An important note though: not all candidates will have this option. Switching can sometimes be difficult, if not impossible to achieve, however I should be able to let them know if it can be done, and if so, how to do it.
I hope you enjoy this post. You can reach LA by phone or drop her a note here on this page.Chat with Leslie Anne Today!
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I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!