How to Become a CPA in India: Complete CPA Course Guide

If you are aiming to earn a globally recognised accounting certification, then US CPA might be the right fit for you. The Certified Public Accounting (US CPA) credential is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is considered to be one of the most reputed qualifications in the field of accounting and is recognised in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. 

Earlier, an aspiring Indian candidate would need to travel all the way to the US or countries like Dubai to be able to give the US CPA Exam. However, since 2020, the US CPA exams are being conducted in India as well and can be taken on-demand. So if you are planning to become a US CPA, here are some facts you should know about US CPA.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to become a US CPA, a candidate must have 120 credits, whereas, for the licence, you need 150 credits. In India, the most common qualifications that make you eligible for US CPA are B.Com and M.Com.

The eligibility for US CPA can be briefly explained as follows:

  • Exam – Graduation + 1 year of Post Graduation (120 credits)
  • Licence – Graduation + Post Graduation (150 credits)

For becoming a CPA, a candidate must also cover at least 2,000 hours of work experience in a relevant field of work. 

Evaluation and Registration for US CPA

Before you can register yourself for the US CPA exam, you must first complete the evaluation process. The eligibility criteria for US CPA are different for each US State. The evaluation process can help determine whether you are eligible to enrol for CPA in a particular state based on your academic credentials and scores. 

During the evaluation, your local academic transcripts, i.e. mark sheets will be assessed and translated in such a way that a U.S. based evaluator can understand them. Some evaluation bodies that can help you with this process include the World Education Services (WES) and NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). 

Once the evaluation is complete, you can proceed with the registration process. 

  1. The first step of the registration process is submitting all the necessary details about your accounting education and your accounting designation.
  2. Once you have submitted all the necessary details, you will then receive the Notice to Schedule (NTS) 
  3. Upon receiving the NTS, you can now go to the Prometric website and schedule your exam on whichever date is convenient for you. 

The entire process of registration can be quite confusing and stressful. However, after you enrol with Zell Education for the US CPA course, we can take care of this entire process and guide you through the states of the US that might be the right fit for you to do US CPA. 

Academic Structure of US CPA

The US CPA exam consists of 4 papers. They are as follows: 

1. Auditing and Attestation (AUD):
Learn US GAAP

4 Hour Exam (50% MCQ – 50% Simulation)

2. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR):
Learn Auditing Standards & Procedures

4 Hour Exam (50% MCQ – 50% Simulation)

3. Regulation (REG):
Learn US Federal Taxation & Business Law

4 Hour Exam (50% MCQ – 50% Simulation)

4. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC):
Learn Business Theories & Financial Management

4 Hour Exam (50% MCQ, 35% Simulation and 15% Written)

Duration

Since the US CPA exam consists of only 4 papers that can be taken on-demand per your convenience, there’s a lot of freedom given to students regarding how quickly they finish the course. So if you give significant time to preparation, you will be able to complete the US CPA course in 1 to 1.5 years. 

It is recommended that a student includes at least 300-400 hours of integrated learning in their schedule to be able to attempt the US CPA exams comfortably. When you sign up with Zell education, we can help you achieve those 400+ hours of learning with the help of lectures, self-study tips, mock exams as well as practice tests. 

Exam window

The US CPA Exams can be taken on demand in the months of January, February, April, May, July August, October and November.

Scope

The US CPA qualification has earned global recognition as one of the most prestigious credentials in the field of accounting. After becoming a US CPA, you will be able to work in any part of the world in addition to India and the US. 

Source

In India, after you become a US CPA, you will be able to work in similar profiles as a Chartered Accountant.  You can find high paying jobs in Indian companies as well as in US-based companies located in India. It has been observed that these Indian companies actively hire people with globally recognised accounting credentials such as US CPA and ACCA

For those who want to potentially immigrate to other countries like the US, Canada or Australia and wish to work there, the US CPA qualification will definitely help you along the way. The companies hiring US CPAs include some of the most reputed accounting and finance firms such as the Big 4 (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY)

Job Profiles

1. Financial Accounting
A Financial Accountant is supposed to keep track of the company’s financial records by preparing balance sheets, maintaining and tracking financial operations, and looking after all financial transactions. 


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2. Taxation

After completing the US CPA course, you can also start working as a Tax Accountant. As a Tax Accountant, you are responsible for preparing and submitting the tax statements for the organisation or their client. You will also need to ensure that your client or the organisation is obeying all the laws and following the regulations with respect to its tax obligations. 

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3. Internal Auditing
As an Internal Auditor, you will be required to ensure that the documents and operations of an organisation are in compliance with the laws and regulations of their country. They also monitor the potential risks faced by the organisation and make recommendations on how they can be reduced.

 

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4. Financial Advisory

A Financial Advisor is a professional who looks over the finances of an individual or an organisation and makes suggestions so as to help them meet their financial goals. So if an organisation is planning to achieve certain financial goals in a fixed amount of time, they tend to hire Financial Advisors to help them plan out their finances and meet their goals. 

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Cost of becoming a US CPA  

The following costs are unavoidable when it comes to preparing for CPA (excluding the training fees and the cost of study material).  

  • Evaluation – USD 250
  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – USD 238
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – USD 238 
  • Regulation (REG) – USD 238 
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – USD 238

 

If you are giving the exam from India, or anywhere outside the US, you will have to pay an additional amount of USD 1486 to be able to give the exam in your country.  So based on the current conversion rate, it should cost you anywhere between INR 1.5 to 2 Lakhs for US CPA excluding the training fees. 

In addition to these basic expenses, you should also consider the training fees that you will have to pay. At Zell Education, the total fees for the US CPA program are INR 1,20,000. So when you consider the training fees and the exam fees, the total cost of becoming a US CPA should be anywhere between INR 3 to 3.5 lakhs. 

The US CPA qualification is recognised worldwide and can open doors to opportunities in Europe, Asia and North America. If you are an accounting professional looking to boost your career or just curious to learn about the course, we suggest you check out our Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course to learn more.

What is better - US CPA or CPA Canada?

It is preferable to do US CPA instead of CPA Canada, especially if you are currently in India. The CPA Canada exams can only be taken from Canada whereas you can take the US CPA exam from India. Moreover, with a US CPA, you will not only be able to work in the US, but also in Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

Can I earn the CPA licence after B.Com?

No, you can not earn the CPA after completing just B.Com, since it only gives you 90 credits. You need 120 credits to register for the exam and 150 credits to earn the licence.

In which US states am I eligible to appear for the US CPA exam?

Since each US state has a different set of eligibility criteria, you are eligible to be a US CPA exam from those that don’t require candidates to have a Social Security Number. Indian applicants can only enrol for US CPA in the following states - Montana, Washington, Pennsylvania, Guan and Alaska

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