How to Become a CPA in Idaho

When considering a typical day in the life as a professional after becoming a CPA in Idaho, the economy of the Gem State will factor in more than you might think. With a population of 1,716,943, it is the 39th most populous state in the nation. Said another way, it is the 11th least populous state. What it lacks in millions of people, it more than makes up for in potatoes. Well, that is a bit of a joke. Agriculture is still a big source of revenue for Idaho, and while Idaho is the state that produces at least a third of the country’s potatoes, the industry is not the largest or most lucrative.

Like many states, finance, insurance, real estate, and rental enterprises bring in the most revenue at $12.94 billion per year. That is 18% of Idaho’s gross domestic product of $71.9 billion per year, 42nd in the country. The manufacturing exports from Idaho are also not potato focused, rather technology hardware, like memory cards and microchips. Software development is also on the rise in Idaho. This is great news for accounting professionals who are relying more and more on the use of sophisticated programs like blockchain technology to move the field into the 21st century.

“Let it be Perpetual,” is the motto of the state of Idaho, which can be found on the back of the state’s 2007 quarter. This state really gets around, as it borders Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. The largest city is also its state capital, Boise. The state is separated and divided into many unique climate and geographic regions. Idaho features many mountainous regions, specifically the Rocky Mountain range. An interesting fact is that 38 percent of the state land is owned by the United States Forest Service. Idaho is also known for producing gemstones, which is why their nickname is “the gem state.” Their state flag is blue with the state seal prominently in the center, and a banner beneath it reading “State of Idaho.” They also have a state song, which is called “Here We Have Idaho.”

Accounting Programs in Idaho

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is known for its rigorous and unyielding process of determining the best business and accounting programs, both in the United States and internationally. The qualities in a college or university business school that elevate them to the status of AACSB accredited include 15 business accreditation standards, and the accounting program accreditation includes six more standards that are more specific to accounting. The 15 general business standards are concerned with the mission and strategic management of the college or school of business, the support the program shows for students, faculty, and staff, the faculty and their accomplishments as educators, and proven record of success, including the engagement of former students in the profession.

There are three AACSB accredited schools in Idaho, the University of Idaho College of Business and Economics, the Boise State University College of Business and Economics, and the Idaho State University College of Business. The University of Idaho business and econ school is located in Moscow, ID, and was founded in 1925. They offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, both full and part-time. Of the 34 full-time business faculty, 82% of them have a Ph.D. in business. The Boise State College of Business and Economics has partnered with Harvard on a number of business and accounting curriculum exchanges, and offer interesting and creative learning options for students. They have 67 full-time faculty, with 52 terminal business degrees among them. Boise State offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, including a top-ranked MAcc program that can be completed online. The Idaho State University College of Business is located in Pocatello, and also offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. There are 53 full-time faculty offering students expertise in accounting, economics, finance, business informatics, management, marketing, professional development, and health informatics.

Becoming a CPA in Idaho

Idaho requires students to be 18 before they can qualify for CPA licensure. Students are not required to be citizens, they must, however, be residents. It is imperative for students to have a social security number to sit for the CPA exam. Each student must have 150 hours of education in order to qualify for licensure. This includes having earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and 30 more credit hours in upper-level business or accounting fields. It is here where an accountant can really focus on the area of accounting or finance they are most interested in. Do you want to be a sports accountant, or do you want to be a budget analyst?  In addition, 24 semester hours or 15 equivalent quarter hours at the graduate level are required. One year of work experience is also necessary, which can include working in government, public practice, industry, or academia. Students must also pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam in order to achieve licensure or qualify for the exam as approved by the Board of Accountancy.

Idaho Accounting Requirements, Post-Licensure

In the state of Idaho, CPAs have a general requirement of Continued Professional Education that must add up to 80 hours and must span a two year period. The minimum amount of CPE Idaho CPAs can earn is 30 hours per year, and the maximum is 50 credit hours for a given calendar year. Those who were recently licensed are required to participate in 2 credit hour CPE courses that are Idaho-specific. The purpose of these courses is to cover instruction in the Idaho specific Rules and Accountancy Act. Proof of this coursework which must be submitted with the application for licensure. This set of classes must be taken within the first calendar year that the license was issued. Any CPAs that need to reinstate a CPA license that has lapsed must also complete a two-hour Idaho specific CPE course. The license renewal date is June 30 each year, and it costs $120.

Ethics for licensed accountants in Idaho is a big deal, as it should be everywhere. Idaho CPAs need to complete 4 hours of coursework in Ethics every 2 years, but they are encouraged to take more if they like. There are some credit limitations for CPE in the Gem State. Staff or committee meetings are designed to be accessible ways to achieve CPE and are in compliance with the 2016 AICPA/NASBA Standards for Continuing Professional Education. Self Study is that is noninteractive is often helpful for CPAs to stay current in their field, however, self-directed coursework that does not have an evaluation process that shows comprehension of the material doesn’t qualify for CPE credit. Published materials by instructors of accounting may be approved by the board for credit, as there is a great value to the reader as well as to the author on the time and scholarship required for creating new material that benefits the field. The material must first be evaluated formally by an independent body, to ensure that it qualifies. All related documentation must be submitted to the board office with the CPE review report.

For those CPAs who are interested in going back for on-campus or online graduate study in accounting or business, they can receive CPE credit for these hours also. University or college credit is calculated at 1 university credit-hours per semester, equals 15 CPE hours. For accounting professors, speakers, or lecturers, they can receive CPE credit for the time it takes them to prepare and teach their material for class. These CPAs can claim up to twice the number of CPE credits that students or participants would receive by taking the class. For example, if participants can receive 4 CPE credits in a course, instructors can claim up to 12 CPE credits (8 for preparation and another 4 for the presentation of the prepared material). The second or subsequent teachings on the same topic must be changed significantly in order to count for CPE credit more than once.