How to Become a CPA in Minnesota

The reasons someone would want to become a CPA in Minnesota are many, and the steps towards that goal a relatively few. This ratio makes for a great choice if you are already inclined in that direction in the land of 10,000 lakes. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Minnesota regularly boasts the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and is at a little over 3% at the time of this publication. They also have a whopping 19 fortune 500 companies in the state. Some of these include retail giant Target, insurance group UnitedHealthcare, Best Buy, and General Mills. Unsurprisingly, Land’O Lakes dairy is headquartered in Minnesota and accounts for $13,740M of their gross domestic income in the state. They are number 216 on the 2018 list.

Learning the Economics of Minnesota

The economy of Minnesota relies heavily on agriculture for income. In fact, it is the fifth largest agriculture producing state in the country. While there are other agricultural products produced in the state, livestock is the main revenue source for farmers, hogs being the most in the livestock market. Minnesota is the third largest producer of Hogs in the U.S. Farmers in Minnesota also rely heavily on the production of corn and soybeans. They are the top producer of soy in the country. In regards to the revenue from production, Minnesota is one of the top meatpacking states, as well as leading producer of flour, processed for breakfast cereals and cake mixes through General Mills. With such a long winter, it is good to know that if Minnesotans can make agriculture work, any of us can. Winter in Minnesota may be the perfect time for a farmer to go back to school online. It may even be a great time for a CPA to do the same thing. Accountants with a background in Agriculture or large corporations can do well given these circumstances.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of working licensed accountants in the country is expected to rise by more than 7% in the state of Minnesota. That figure in the United States as a whole is expected to grow by 13.1% by 2026. According to 2017 data, 1.24 million people are employed as an Accountant or Auditor in the USA. The salary for these folks averages just about $65,940 which is a little less than the national average for all jobs. Minnesota’s range for professional finance workers is a little more than $38 thousand for jobs like bookkeepers, up to more than $127 thousand for accounting supervisors, professors, and financial managers.

The Best Accounting Schools in Minnesota

There are 72 schools in Minnesota that offer some credential in accounting. None of the business schools in Minnesota are accredited by the AACSB. Although this accreditation is considered by some to be the gold standard in business school, only about 30 percent of business schools in the United States carry AACSB accreditation. The nine public schools in Minnesota offer excellent bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and will prepare students for a successful career in Accounting. These schools offering Accounting education in Minnesota are Bemidji State University, Metropolitan State Universtiy, Minnesota State University – Moorehead, Minnesota State University – Mankato, Saint Cloud State University, Southwest Minnesota State University, University of Minnesota – Crookston, University of Minnesota – Duluth, and Winona State University. These are fine schools that provide affordable in-state tuition, selective acceptance rates, and quality educations. Opting out of the AACSB accreditation process also means that the business school saves money on accreditation and renewal fees. They are in turn cheaper on the student and his/her/their family.

Becoming a CPA in Minnesota

CPAs in Minnesota are required to finish 150 credit hours of education in a post-secondary setting. A typical bachelor’s degree in accounting accounts for 120 of these, while the other 30 must come from an upper-level endeavor, like a graduate certificate in accounting or a master’s in business. Minnesota specifically requires 30 upper division level accounting courses before becoming eligible to sit for the CPA. The Board of Accountancy in Minnesota stipulates that to sit for the CPA exam, one must also hold a graduate degree from a business school with 24 semester hours in graduate-level accounting if the bachelor’s degree is not in Accounting or finance.

The next step in the process for Minnesota CPAs is to take and pass the Uniform CPA exam. To be eligible to sit for the CPA exam in Minnesota, the applicant must be a resident of Minnesota, or be in school or working in MN. There are four parts to the exam, Business Environment & Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR), Auditing & Attestation (AUD) and Regulation (REG). Each of the parts is a four-hour test to be taken on different days, and each one must be passed with a 75% or better. After passing the CPA exam, the candidate has one step left until the Minnesota Board of Accountancy takes over deciding their fate. They must take and pass an ethics exam developed by the AICPA within the two years before they apply for the license. After the exam, CPAs must work in the field for at least 2,000 hours or a full-time year, before being eligible to receive their full license.

Minnesota CPA License: Rules & Renewals

One of the regulatory bodies of CPE work for CPAs in the united states, and a regular host of conferences for CPE and networking throughout the country is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. NASBA works with state boards to ensure that they are resourced to provide state-based accountants with the things they need. They were founded in 1908 and have provided a guiding hand in the field of accounting, and increased the effectiveness of the country’s boards ever since. They act as a regulating body, the ethics of accounting and providing ethics training to accountants annually. They also assist state Boards relevancy by educating them on emerging issues that could impact their regional regulation of the CPAs in their jurisdiction.

Minnesota CPAs work with the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy and with NASBA to continue to work towards their ongoing accounting education through Continued Professional Education. The requirement in the Gopher State is Minnesota 120 hours every three years, with a minimum of 20 of these hours to be completed annually. CPAs must report to NASBA and their state board every year by New Year’s Eve. Eight of these hours must be in the area of regulatory (technical) or behavioral (non-technical) ethics for accounting, which is double what most states require. CPAs must also earn a minimum of 60 hours in technical learning activities, as described by NASBA.

For accounting professors who must earn CPE, the maximum they can claim per 3 years is 60 hours of instruction. The maximum credit for published articles, curriculum, and books is another 60 hours. No fewer than 24 hours of CPE must be in work that is a group or blended learning programs, like a workshop or conference attendance. While some CPE can be earned in less structured spaces, at least 72 hours have to come from NASBA approved providers. The living is easy in the state of Minnesota, that is when you are not buried in a snow drift. There are many fun ways to enjoy the cities and rural places in the state. The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis are both cosmopolitan epicenters. Some words to live by: if it’s good enough for Prince and Bob Dylan, it’s good enough for you.