Massachusetts CPA Requirements 2017 (Rules on Exam + Licensing)

Massachusetts CPA requirementsMassachusetts CPA requirements state that you can sit for the exam with 120 semester credit hours, but you have to earn the full 150 credits to get your CPA license.

The working experience varies depending if you would like to have a “reporting” or “non-reporting” license. Please find the explanation below.

Massachusetts CPA Requirements

1. Education Requirements to Sit for the Exam

  • Bachelor degree or above.
  • 120 credit hours from an accredited university or educational institution.
  • Course requirement:
    • Accounting: 21 credit hours (financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, taxation).
    • Business: 9 credit hours (business law, finance and information systems).
  • You must have completed all of the requirements for your bachelor’s degree before you sit for the exam, but you can apply before graduation. Please read this FAQ for details.
  • Associate degree/junior college courses will be accepted only if transferred into a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

2. Additional Massachusetts CPA Requirements for the License

Education

  • 150 credit hours from an accredited university or educational institution.
  • 30 credit hours of undergraduate accounting courses or 18 semester hours of graduate courses for licensing. Please refer to FAQ for details.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: You have 3 years from the time you receive notice of passing all 4 parts of the exam to meet the educational requirements for CPA certification/license. If you don’t, you will need to retake all parts of the exam.

Work Experience

The requirement is different for full license and non reporting license. Massachusetts CPA requirements state that non reporting license allows you to perform all accounting services except issuing reports on financial statements.

Here is a direct quote from MA state board website (FAQ page) on the definition of non reporting license:

If the candidate has no CPA experience or no report (attest) experience in his/her public accounting experience, the privileges of their license will be restricted to all accounting services, except issuing reports on financial statements. This restriction is designated as a non reporting license, but only the Board and the non reporting licensee will be aware of this restriction unless a member of the public were to inquire. The actual license itself has no restriction on it and we rely on the licensee to provide this information to clients or other members of the public if they are presented in their practice of public accounting with a potential report engagement. The non reporting licensee should review 252 CMR 3.01(5) and make a decision to upgrade the license to be able to perform report services.”

(i) Non-reporting license

  • 1 year of public accounting experience or 3 years of non-public accounting in a position that is substantially equivalent to public accounting.
  • Experience must be beyond entry level and under the supervision of a CPA.
  • None if you have a graduate degree in accounting, business, or law.

(ii) Reporting License

  • Reporting license: 1 year of public accounting experience, and 1000 hours of report (attest) experience, of which not more than 300 hours may consist of full disclosure compilation.

*Launched in Apr 2016* The NASBA Experience Verification service is now available to those who do not have access to an active U.S. CPA for verification.

Ethics Qualification

  • None required.

3. Massachusetts CPA Requirements on Residency and Age

  • US citizenship not required.
  • Massachusetts residency not required.
  • Minimum age: 18.
  • Social security number (SSN) requirement: The SSN and/or ITIN number is mandatory to obtain a Massachusetts CPA license.  There is no waiver. International candidates and H4 visa holders can apply for ITIN by filling out Form W-7.

4. Fees

  • First-timers: $774 + application fee

5. Continuing Education

CPE is needed for license holders. Click here for Massachusetts CPA CPE courses for details.

6. Source Documents

7. Contact

Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy

1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118-6100

  • Email: cpaes-ma@nasba.org (exam)
  • Email: accountingboard@state.ma.us (licensing)
  • Phone: 617-727-1806
  • Fax: 617-727-2197

What if the MA 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:

If you have questions, feel free to drop a note in the comment section, or visit my Facebook page.

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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  • VB says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for all the content, it has been really helpful so far.

    However, I do have some confusion regarding state selection as my work experience and education isn’t conventional by most standards.

    I have a three year B.Com degree from the University of Mumbai (Management stream) and a one year M.Sc. in International Management from the University of Strathclyde, UK. I have got these evaluated by NASBA NIES and they have assigned 135 credits for the same.

    I recently completed the MCom (Part I) exams from the University of Mumbai which consisted of – Strategic Management, Global Economics, Advanced Cost Accounting and Advanced Financial Accounting. I am awaiting results for the same, but I assume this will help me fulfill the 150 hour credit requirement.

    I have worked as a Financial Advisor at a bank for 15 months, from Oct 2013 – December 2014. Ever since then I have been an entrepreneur and now plan to work as a freelance business consultant. Will my banking tenure be counted towards work experience requirement? I do not plan to work in auditing or under a CPA in the near future, so I am looking for a state which is flexible enough to accept this experience.

    As much as possible, I would like a reporting license, but a non-reporting or restricted license would be fine.

    I am an Indian citizen and I do not reside in the United States, so I do not have a Social Security number.

    I do realise this is a lot of information. Any kind of help will be appreciated.

    Thanks and Regards,

    VB

  • Julian says:

    I just heard Mass state canceled non reporting CPA license. More likely than not it is true, just to let you know in advance.

  • Beth says:

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to let you know that the MA Board of Public Accountancy changed the hour requirements from 1,000 hours to 2,000 hours.

  • Bhairavi Agnihotri says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have followed your blog ever since I enrolled for CPA exams. I have question for you. I cleared all parts of my CPA exams in November 2015 fro Massachusetts. I did not hold Employment authorization until 2016. On obtaining work authorization in 2016 I started working with a reputed accounting firm and completed my work experience requirement from Florida few months back. I have tried look in Massachusetts board website but unable to find the time frame within which I can apply for a CPA licence. Could you please help me? I want to know the time frame of applying for a CPA license from Massachusetts board of public accountancy. I think it’s three years from passing of the last cpa exam but not sure. Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards
    Bhairavi

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