How to Become a CPA in Maine

The steps to becoming a CPA in the state of Maine in the Northeast of the United States are clear and simple. The economic realities of this New England state are driven by the largest industries and the exports. For the mere 1,335,907 residents of Maine, the average per capita personal income was $46,455. Not exactly like “the 1% dodging the taxman” type of income, but not that far from the national average. The most lucrative export from Maine is fresh lobster, bringing in $326 million in 2017. After lobster, the second largest export was aircraft parts, including engines. Maine earns hundreds of millions by exporting natural gas, chemical wood pulp, and miscellaneous coniferous logs and poles. The gross domestic product for Maine in 2017 was $61.4 billion which places it 43rd in the country. Like many, many states the largest single focus industry is finance, which accounted for 20.9 percent ($12.8 billion) of the $61.4 billion total.

The State of Maine is at the tippy top of New England and is the farthest east of any country in the United States. This state touches New Brunswick, which is part of Canadian provinces and Quebec, the Atlantic Ocean, and New Hampshire. Maine is known for its tiny mountains and its rugged coastlines, forested terrain, and seafood culinary culture that features lobster and clams. Portland is the most densely populated city in the state and is the home to one-third of the state’s population, as well as the largest port, called the Port of Portland, in all of New England. The city has its own seal that features a phoenix rising from the ashes. Maine’s nicknames include “The Pine Tree State,” and “Vacationland.” The state flag features the state’s Coat of Arms with a resting moose in the center beneath a giant pine tree; framing the coat of arms is a farmer and a seaman, all on a blue background.

Maine Accounting Programs

Of the accounting programs in Maine, the Univerisity of Maine, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, University of Southern Maine, and the University of Maine at Augusta are all great options. The University of Maine is located in Orono, Maine. Their College of Business offers four undergraduate degrees, including one in accounting. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine stands in Standish, Maine, and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting through their business administration department. The University of Southern Maine is located in Portland, ME and offers an undergraduate degree in accounting, and a Master’s in Business Administration with an accounting concentration. The University of Maine at Augusta is located in Augusta, ME and offers associates and bachelors in business administration. Accounting and Managerial accounting are two conceptions that students can pick, who plan to eventually earn their CPA license in Maine.

The role of ethics in accounting cannot be stressed enough. Because of how accounting as a profession is done, not only is a requirement to be truthful about how much money, but also from whom, and to what purpose. This means that ethics does not only require honesty, but also aptitude, and continued learning about the profession. Without being highly skilled in a role like accounting, shareholders and others, who rely on the documents that an accountant draws, like the yearly financial statement of a company, will not have the information they need to best do their job. It is not only the hard numbers they rely on, but also the informed opinion of the accountants whose statements were prepared, and the auditor whose edits and corrections were next in line. There may be instances in public accounting where an ethical dilemma pushed the CPA into making a choice that may not benefit the company but will benefit the unsuspecting member of the public from the harm a company can inflict. As the concept of ethics in accounting has evolved over time, there have been 7 principles or goals of ethics in accounting that have been passed down. These 7 include making proper education morally good, understand that accounting can be a source of ethical implications, have a sense of moral obligation grow within, work for skills to properly handle dilemmas, make a change in unethical behavior accessible, and learn the history of the field in order to help shape its future. Most on-campus and online undergraduate degree programs, spend required coursework covering ethics in great detail.

The Process of Becoming a CPA in Maine

To sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Maine, applicants must have a social security number and must have completed 150 hours of post-secondary study. There is no minimum age, citizenship, or residency requirement. To be eligible, 15 of those 150 semester hours must be in upper-level accounting specifically. Another 3 hours must be in auditing. To sit for the exam, the applicant must have finished the 120 hours of the bachelor’s degree within 120 days of finishing the exam. In nearly every state, the applicant must earn experience in public accounting or something like it. The experience can be paid or not. Many people use the time they are in college to land a great internship in accounting, knocking out two things at once. In Maine, the requirement is 2 years of public accounting experience. This 2 years must include the use of accounting or auditing skills. This can mean the issuance of reports on financial statements and things of that nature. Another requirement about those two years is at least one course from the following must be experienced by the applicant in their job, and these things are providing the public with management advisory services, with financial advisory or financial consulting services, it must include the preparation of tax returns, and finally, it requires the applicant be able to furnish advice on tax matters. Unlike most states, there is no ethics exam required to earn licensure in Maine, but it is only a good idea to take a course on ethics to gain a strong foundation in it before the professional realm has a chance to take over.

Maine Post Licensure Requirements

The post-licensure requirements for CPAs in Maine include 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education on top of four credit hours of ethics requirements every three years. The renewal date for licensing is September 30 every year. The CPE reporting period is October 1 to September 30 each year. There are no additional subject area requirements. As far as credit limitations go there are several to keep in mind as you work towards your CPE credit retrieval. For those CPAs who teach at the academic level, you are in luck, because some of your work can count for CPE credits, however, with the limit of 50 percent of the total instruction hours. Non-technical subjects can also qualify, however only up to 50 percent of the total hours including math, communication arts, statistics, probability and quantitative applications related to business, human resources policy, accounting computer software applications, administrative law, and probability.

Published materials are accounted for, but authorship is limited to a total of half of the CPA’s total CPE hours. In terms of fields of study, there are some limitations regarding the subject areas that are accepted as per the Board. When delivering instruction three times the amount of time for the presentation is granted as CPE credit. There is no credit, however, given for preparation. If the same class is repeated it cannot be accounted for unless the material has been altered significantly. As far as carryover is concerned, up to 20 credit hours can be brought over from a previous reporting cycle. Hours that are carried over, however, cannot meet the ethics requirements. The state of Maine is willing to accept CPE credits for programs that are delivered by the National Registry Sponsors.