How to Become a CPA in Kentucky

Understanding Kentucky’s Economy

The economy of Kentucky seems like it might be all Bourbon and Thoroughbred horses, but it is not. Kentucky does produce more of these things than any other region in the world, bringing the state more than $4B and $8.5B respectively. In fact, Kentucky produces more of these two things than any other region in the world. What brings in the most money for the Bluegrass State is Aerospace products and parts and motor vehicles and parts. With several new aerospace manufacturing facilities located around the state, this industry is bringing home the bacon in the state. Both Ford and Toyota have manufacturing plants in the state, and Kentucky is where most the country’s Camry sedans and F-150 pickup trucks come from. The largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product of the state was mining and oil and gas extraction. Kentucky is also unique in having the majority of its agricultural enterprises owned by individuals and families instead of corporations, as much of the Midwest.

Quick Facts About Kentucky

Accounting Programs in Kentucky

For those pursuing Certified Public Accounting in Kentucky, there are several options to choose from as far as a solid education. There are three universities with business schools that are AACSB accredited. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the gold standard for business school accreditation internationally. With over 100 years of providing guidance and standards for accounting and business educational programs on every populated continent, their seal of approval is a big deal in the business school world. Those accredited schools are the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and Western Kentucky in Bowling Green. These schools have gone through the rigorous accreditation process to ensure that their programs are top notch on a global market.

Young people who know they want to pursue accounting in their future must stress critical thinking, which can be attained in a variety of ways that may or may not be business specific. Student clubs like student government and DECA are great ways to learn business models and be exposed to structures of meetings, professional collaboration and decorum, and have access to opportunities for networking. Mathematics courses and Statistics coursework is helpful also. Once a university accounting program in Kentucky is underway, students must keep their eye on national and state minimums for CPA licensure. Many professional degrees have the option of being eligible for professional hire upon completion of the educational program. This is somewhat true for accounting if the graduate is going the route of a bookkeeper. The CPA license is much more rigorous and involved process.

Becoming a CPA in Kentucky

To be eligible for CPA licensure in Kentucky, students are not required to complete an accounting program, per se. They are, however, required to have passed 27 semester hours (generally 9 courses) with accounting and business-related subject matter. Often this means completing an accounting program. To become licensed in Kentucky or any other state, another national minimum is for the applicant to complete 150 hours of post-secondary education, generally 30 more than a bachelor’s degree. This can be accomplished through a master’s degree program or a substantial certificate program. There are seven universities in Kentucky that offer graduate degrees in Accounting.

CPA Testing Process for Kentucky Accountants

Kentuckians have the option of sitting for the Uniform CPA Exam upon completion of a bachelor’s degree. The undergraduate degree is also a state and national minimum for CPA licensure. The exam, which is the same in all U.S. states and territories, covers the basics of professional accountant life. There are four parts, each to be taken at different times. These four are Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, and Business Environment and Concepts. License applicants must pass with a 75% or higher on each of the sections to be eligible for licensure, and each section must be passed within an 18 month period. Unlike licensure exams in other fields, the Uniform CPA Exam is not the last stop on the train to licensure.

After the 150 hours educational requirements, 27 of those in accounting, and successful completion of the CPA exam the last step awaits. CPA wannabes at this stage are required to gain one year of experience in an accounting or auditing position in the industry, public practice, government, or academia. This experience is as a provisional licensee, and therefore must be supervised by a licensed CPA. People in this position can take paid positions or work as a volunteer or complete an internship in this year. The experience portion of the pre-licensure requirements can also be achieved while earning a degree, but any academic work that will count towards experience for the CPA must be direct, meaning professors but not teaching assistants in college may be eligible for this work to count toward licensure.

Post Licensure Requirements For CPAs

Many fields require the individual professional to continue to grow in their work throughout the course of their engagement with the topic. As long as CPAs wish to stay licensed, they too must complete educational programs meant to maintain the evolution of the profession. For CPAs, the tax code and finance laws change more quickly than most regulation. It behooves the savvy CPA to take their Continued Professional Education (CPE) units seriously. Kentucky requires CPAs to complete up to 80 hours of CPE, to be reported every two years. Reporting these hours can be done anytime throughout the year, but many people choose to report when they renew their license. The license renewal date for CPAs in Kentucky is August 1, each year, but if the CPA’s license number ends in an even digit, they must report in even years and with an odd license number, odd years.

Unique to Kentucky, the amount of CPE is different depending upon the sector where the CPA works. For those CPAs who worked 3,000 hours or more in a public accounting firm, they are required to complete 80 hours. It drops to 60 hours if they worked less than 3,000 hours over those two years in public accounting. If the CPA is employed in government, industry, or education, they are also required 60 hours. Like most states, 2 of these hours, regardless of industry and amount of work, must be in Ethics.

Instructors are allowed to count one hour of CPE for each contact hour and up to two times the amount of time they are teaching for preparation. There are certain courses that crossover into business and accounting that do not qualify in Kentucky for CPE credit. For those who are licensed in Kentucky, but are completing CPE credits in another state, they must communicate to the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy. If the requirements in that state are different, they must comply with Kentucky requirements, as well as those of that state, if the other state requires this.