How to Become a CPA in Montana

If becoming a CPA in Montana is something you are interested in, taking an interest in the state economy is important too. With a very small population, the 1,050,493 people out in Big Sky Country earn an average of $45,385 per year. The finance industry, including every niche type of accounting in the state, accounted for 18.8 percent of Montana GDP, which was $48.1 billion in 2017, the third lowest in the United States. The two that came up with less were Wyoming at 49th and Vermont at 50th. Money is not everything, however. There are reasons that GDP should be one of the last measures of success in this gorgeous state. Montana shipped $1.6 billion worth of grown and manufactured items in 2017, to other states and other countries.

Perhaps surprisingly, Montana’s largest export is cigarettes, despite the state not producing tobacco as much as other states. They also produce coal and copper in great numbers, as well as food products like lentils and chickpeas. Montana depends on the enormous skies and giant open ranches for more than just coming up with new ways Agriculture and ranching, and exports more live cattle than most other states. The industry of educational services, health care, and social assistance are on the rise in Montana, as generations of people are switching into these fields form cattle ranching and farming. This type of economy means that there are so many things that a CPA could find to focus on or to be able to generalize their services to many different industries. All you need to decide is which type of accounting degree is for you.

I Hear Montana is Great, What is it Like?

Montana sits in the Northwest of the United States. People call it “the treasure state,” and “the Land of Shining Mountains,” though they don’t have an official nickname. The Western half of the state has many mountain ranges; in fact, the state is home to 77 ranges that all make up a part of the Rocky Mountains. The state is bordered by Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Tourism is the state’s most rapidly growing economic-sector, as people travel from all over to visit their national parks, which include Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, and other attractions like Big Sky Resort. The name Montana comes from the Spanish and Latin derivations of the word mountain. The state’s flag is an image of the Montana state seal in the center of a blue field. There is a ribbon in the center of the seal that says the state motto: Oro y Plata, which is Spanish for “Gold and Silver.”

Montana Accounting Programs

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has been one of the most trusted sources of vetting in business and accounting education since 1916. With the mission of fostering engagement, amplifying impact, and accelerating innovation in business and accounting education, the standards the AACSB employs for those business and accounting schools that apply for accreditation, have been proven to be only the things that make good students great, and great students even better. The accreditation process uses a 15 point business school standard requirement and a 6 additional standard for the optional accounting additional accreditation. The AACSB international headquarters are located in Tampa, Florida, the Netherlands, and Singapore. The process of accreditation for the first time relies on the institution’s ability to self-evaluate and peer review. Renewal, which occurs every five years and is called an improvement review reengages this same process and asks the question “how has the program gotten even better in the last five years?”

The University of Montana School of Business Administration is the only accounting and business program in Montana that is AACSB certified. Located in the Western center of the state, in a progressive town called Missoula, Montana, University of Montana started their School of Business Administration in 1918. One of the standards for becoming AACSB accredited is that the college or university takes student success very seriously, in obvious, accessible and measurable ways. The Gianchetta Student Success Center at the School meets this standard and beyond, by offering students an internship coordinator, a dedicated business and accounting advisor, and other support structures that are dedicated solely to student success. Students can organize together, creating leadership opportunities, and study abroad to learn international business and accounting.

The Process of Becoming a CPA in Montana

In the state of Montana, there is no age requirement to become a CPA. In fact, there are very few requirements, in the sense that one does not need to be a resident, have citizenship or even have a social security number. Students do, however, have to have 150 credit hours of coursework, which includes a bachelor’s degree and another degree that could be a master’s in accounting or business. Deciding what postgraduate degree you might want to earn enough credits to become a CPA is a personal choice. There is the additional requirement of 24 semester hours of upper division or graduate level accounting courses that include at least one class in each of the following categories: taxation; auditing; management accounting, and 24 semester hours in business related classes. There is also the additional requirement of 12 months (2000 hours) of actual work experience, which can be in the private, governmental, public, or academic sector. Students in the state of Montana must pass the AICPA Professional Ethics exam for Initial Licensure.

Montana Post Licensure Requirements

Post Licensure requirements vary a little for the Treasure State, so it is important to keep in mind that the renewal date in Kansas December 21, even though for most states it is June 30. The reporting period is rolling triennially from January 1-December 31. The general credit hour conditions add up to 120 hours of CPE, and 2 additional hours per year that must be focused on ethics specifically. The other subject area requirements add up to 60 hours in technical fields of study that start in the 2018- 2020 reporting period. Many CPAs become academic instructors, and their work in the classroom can be honored for CPE. Instructor credit hours have their limitations, and cannot go beyond 50 percent of their total hours. Published materials come with authorship credits that are beneficial of 25 percent of the total hours and no more. Also, no more than 16 hours, within a reporting period of a calendar year, is granted for delivering services as a report reviewer within the boards professional monitoring program.

In terms of credit calculations, CPAs who are academic instructors can receive the credit for the amount of time of the presentation and preparation that equals two times the presentation. They can only, however, receive credit one time per course and it has to be couched in a three year period. Formal self-study programming can also be credited in the amount the sponsor is willing to support. The sponsor, however, must be honored by the NASBA National Registry of CPE Sponsors. Such programs are calculated on a 50 minute hour. Additional self-study programs can access continuing education credits equal to 50 percent of the credit amount that the sponsor grants. If a CPA chooses to return to school, one semester of university or college courses equals 15 CPE hours, and for classes that are non-credit granting, every classroom hour is the equivalent of one hour that qualifies.