How to Become a CPA in Connecticut

To become a CPA in Connecticut, as in all states, accountants must complete four main steps towards licensure. These include finishing a certain amount of education, passing the uniform CPA exam, a specific kind of experience, and knowledge of accounting ethics. With these four E’s, Connecticut accountants are sure to do a great job serving in their role as licensed CPAs.

Understanding Connecticut’s Economy

The economy of Connecticut has been strong since the early foundation of the country itself. As a New England colony, Connecticut began the manufacture of goods, tools, and resources that soon began replacing the British equivalent in the New World. Since then, manufacturing continues to be a powerful force of income for the state, but not the strongest. In 2017, the most lucrative economic forces in Connecticut were finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing. Nearly 28% of the wealth of the state comes from these endeavors. Accountants who handle business in these sectors do well for themselves, especially in real estate. Within the industry of insurance, which Connecticut is pretty famous for having invented, is one of the biggest businesses in the state. The precursor to most insurance as we know it today, Connecticut began the trend of paying to ensure your goods when they began offering Marine Insurance in the 1700’s, covering trans Atlantic cargo ships. Currently, there are more than one hundred insurance companies that are headquartered in Connecticut.

Quick Connecticut Facts

Accounting Climate in Connecticut

Connecticut is an interesting region, as it is placed directly between two economic superpower cities,  Boston and New York City. Because of this location, many very successful people live in the small state. There are also important educational centers located in Connecticut. There are, however, only two university business programs that are accredited by the industry standard-setting organization, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB offers members resources like continuing professional education, conferences for professional networking, and worldwide innovative measures for creating and maintaining business models built for the 21st century.

Employment Prospects for Connecticut Accountants

Connecticut is a great place to work, with excellent proximity to important business and finance hubs and a higher than average annual median salary for workers, it specifically is a great place to be for public or private accountants. Nearly 700 CPA firms are headquartered in Connecticut, including branch locations for the “Big Four” international accounting firms — Pricewaterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, and Ernst & Young. Several Fortune 500 companies also call the Nutmeg State home, including tech giants Xerox and General Electric amongst seventeen others. Accounting is projected to grow in The Constitution State by nearly 2,000 jobs by 2026. The median salary is expected to rise to $84,300, much higher than the national average.

Accounting Education in Connecticut

There are two outstanding business programs in Connecticut that stand out the degree that they have taken steps to earn accreditation from the AACSB. These two are the Quinnipiac University School of Business and the University of Connecticut School of Business in Storrs, CT. What this means is that these schools, among other things, are continually working to improve their educational standards. They are proven to expand and update their materials and provide students with faculty who are relevant and up to date in their specific niche of the business as they develop these degree programs. It also means that the Accounting and Business programs at Quinnipiac and UConn represent the state’s business model realistically, accurately, and with integrity. The last part is so important not only for students who are looking for accurate information when deciding to study at a particular school, but it is also an important trait wholistically, as a practice that informs the organizational culture of business leaders in the next generations.

Accounting Associations Represented in the State

The AACSB is a membership organization that has been around since 1916. It serves to better the professional education of business leaders worldwide. The organization has seen a lot in their 100+ years of professional experience, including world wars, the economic collapse of powerful countries, and much more. All of the information that has been collected and passed down only works to better serve the educational opportunities for students, instructors, and schools of business here in Connecticut. The AACSB even has resources for schools to guide their potential students through the process of selecting an AACSB school, ensuring that students do not miss the important learning, networking, and future employment opportunities that come from studying at an AACSB accredited school.

Continued Professional Education for the CT CPA

For those accounting professionals who are interested in serving their clients well, taking a proactive approach to staying up to date on the changing face of the field is essential. As you may know, financial and tax laws change constantly. Best practices and even what some may consider being “ethical standards” also change. If CPAs do not commit to learning about these evolutions as they occur, they will miss the ability to give the best professional advice and service to their clients. For example, if a client came in to discuss the implications of their use of digital currency, but you do not know the answers to how this practice impacts their overall financial health, you may lose that client.

If CPAs do not stay current in their education, they also may not be able to practice at all. Licensure renewal in each state is dependant on CPAs earning Continuing Professional Education credits each year. For Connecticut, CPAs must earn 40 hours of CPE annually. They can report their progress any time of the year, but their reporting must be done by July 1 of each year. After reporting, they can renew their license after New Years. CPEs are also responsible for completing credit hours in ethics every 3 years of licensure. The coursework in ethics should cover the issues of Codes of Conduct at both the national and state level, Conduct for Accountants in a professional setting, and State Licensing Regulations.

Accounting professors and other instructors can also receive credit for their time in the classroom, prepping for the classroom, and writing educational materials for other accountants. Teachers can earn a maximum of 20 CPE units per year, while published materials can make up no more than 10 hours per reporting year. The State Board will determine the appropriate number of hours for published materials. For those CPAs in Connecticut who want to go back to school, they can earn CPE for the accounting related instruction they receive here also. Graduate-level credit courses account for 15 hours for each credit hour of a semester course, while undergraduate business and accounting courses count for 7.5 hours for each credit hour of a semester course. Connecticut also allows CPE credit to be earned for programs that are offered by National Registry sponsors. A large number of these can be earned at accounting conferences. The organization responsible for regulating and renewing licensing and setting standards for CPE in each state is the state’s board of public accountancy. For Connecticut, this is simply called the CT State Board of Accountancy and is accessible through the state government website. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy manages national CPE standards, and determines interstate standards of CPE acceptability, among other responsibilities.