How to Become a CPA in Missouri

Becoming a CPA in Missouri has never been a better decision. Both the Gross Regional Product as well as the average per capita income is right on par with the average for the country. The major industries for the state are financial services, food processing,  transportation equipment manufacturer, electrical equipment, aerospace, chemicals, printing/publishing, light manufacturing, and beer. Anheuser-Busch, located in St. Louis, is the largest producer of beer in the world. The unemployment rate is 3.6%, down from 5% this time last year.

With such a solid and stable economy and a high rate of employment in general, the state of Missouri is a great place to be a worker. CPAs are essential to assist large companies and small businesses, individuals, and governments, operate in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics from the Department of Labor, the expected growth for CPAs and other financial advisors in Missouri is 10% between now and 2026. In a state that already employs more than 25,000 CPAs, that means many opportunities for employment in the Show-Me State in the coming years. Another great reason to be a CPA in Missouri is that three of the “Big Four” accounting firms have locations in St. Louis. Any internship with one of these firms before becoming licensed will set a future CPA up for great success in their professional life.

MO Quick Facts

*Source: BLS Data

Accounting Programs in Missouri

Certified Public Accounting requires a broad range of expertise, and therefore a certain amount and particular type of education regulated by the state where they hope to practice. Certainly, the job of a CPA is very similar in each state, but licensing is state-specific for the sake of being clear that the varied state tax laws and guidelines are covered completely and the consumer or company is protected completely. Almost all states have made it possible for CPAs practice locally, even if temporarily, regardless of where their license was obtained. The rules that govern this practice are called Mobility Legislation. Some states only allow this temporary license to be valid for a certain number of working hours per month, or stipulate the amount of money a CPA can make outside of their licensing state, while others require that the CPA can only own property in their licensing state, for instance. These agreements vary from state to state, meaning Missouri has agreements like these with some states, but not with others. The website CPAmobility.org is an easy way to find out where CPAs in Missouri can practice, and what documentation they must submit, depending on where they wish to practice.

Nationally, people who are applying to become a CPA are required to take a minimum of 150-semester units of a college education, in any concentration. They also must engage in accounting related work experience, and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Once someone is licensed as a CPA in any state, interstate CPA licensing requirements (like those mentioned above) begin to apply, regardless of the type of client services performed, and regardless of how well the practitioner knows about the laws in the next state over.

CPA Certifications in Missouri

To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Missouri, specific eligibility requirements must be met beyond those of the national minimums. The Missouri Board of Public Accountancy has a website describing these requirements, with links to the relevant statutes, contacts, and in many cases, downloadable and electronic submittable forms for CPA applicants.

In Missouri, the person applying to become a CPA must have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting with 150 educational hours from an accredited post-secondary school. This means that in addition to the 120 hours a bachelor’s degree offers, applicants must obtain an additional thirty hours of upper-division coursework in accounting or business. Unique to Missouri, applicants must be 21 years old, and have 33 semester hours in accounting, with 1 course in auditing and 18 hours be in upper-level accounting. Applicants must also have 27 semester hours in general business courses such as management, economics, marketing, and finance.

Anyone who wishes to become a CPA in the United States, must sit for and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam). The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the body that creates and regulates the exam, and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers it in each state.

The Uniform CPA Exam is the same, or uniform, in every state, however, the requirements for being eligible to sit for the exam, and subsequently passing, determines if the applicant can be licensed in their state.

CPA Licensure in Missouri, Steps Toward Eligibility

To be eligible for CPA licensure in Missouri, candidates must meet these following qualifications:

Source: Missouri Board of Public Accountancy

In addition to the three minimum national standards, CPAs in Missouri (and all states) must complete continuing professional education (CPE) hours to maintain their CPA licensure. Specific to Missouri, these must be earned throughout the year and reported once every two years. Missouri CPAs must report at least 120 hours for the 2-year period that goes from New Year’s day until New Year’s Eve, over a three year period. A minimum of 20 hours must be earned each of the three years.

For those CPAs who are also instructors of Accounting, CPE credit is equal to presentation plus preparation. Preparation is limited to two times presentation. Repeat instruction of the same course is only accepted if the material is substantially changed. Those CPAs who are enrolled in a university for accounting courses can also count their education for CPE credit. The semester hour equals 15 CPE hours; One-quarter hour equals 10 CPE hours; Non-credit courses – each classroom hour will equal one qualifying hour.

Best Cities in Missouri to Work as an Accountant (Based on Salary)

Source: BLS Data

In the year 2007, federal regulations were passed to allow CPA mobility, meaning if, for example, a CPA had been working with a client for years, and that client moved away, r is working in a state they do not live in, that CPA could continue working with that client, even outside of the state the CPA is licensed in. The regulating bodies who govern accounting, and who passed this new regulation are The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

The regulation itself is referred to as Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and the section dealing with mobility across state lines is section 23, or “no notice, no fee, no escape”. Section 23 is often compared to the driver’s license model. Any driver who is licensed in a U.S. state can, without penalty, drive across the country without applying for new driver’s licenses in each state she visits. If she were to disobey the traffic laws of the state she is visiting outside her licensing state, she can be disciplined by the state where the infraction occurred. The same applies to the UAA, and specifically section 23. The UUA in its entirety was developed and is maintained, reviewed and updated by the AICPA and NASBA. It provides a uniform approach to regulation of the accounting profession.