To become a CPA in Mississippi, the economic realities of this deep South state are important to consider. Mississippi has been battling a slow-starting economy for a very, very long time. With a large agricultural history and few large income boosters, the Magnolia State has seen a great deal of evolution over the years. Currently, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the largest industry in Mississippi is government, bringing in 17% of the Gross Domestic Product for the state. For government accountants, this is great news, as their industry is in high demand in Mississippi. They still engage in significant manufacturing in the state and rely on the taxes from gambling in off-shore casino boats that were legalized in the early 2000’s. A major source of revenue in Mississippi is sales taxes, as well as corporate and personal income taxes. High-priced items like gasoline and gaming also bring in a lot of revenue to the state. The smaller regional governments rely on the income generated from property taxes. Another great career path for accountants in Mississippi might be going for a Master’s in Taxation degree.
Even the spelling of this state has a ring to it M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, as does the state song that was adopted in 1962 called “Go Mississippi. This southeastern state is surrounded by Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico, and Arkansas. The capital is Jackson, and it is also the largest city in the state. If you are looking for what is known as the “most southern place on earth,” stop at the Mississippi Delta, which sits between the Yazoo River and the Mississippi River, and brace yourself for a unique cultural experience steeped in the American South. This state has nicknames that are appropriate for the southern charm it exudes, including “The Magnolia State,” and “The Hospitality State.” The flag speaks to some of the sad and violent times in the state’s Confederate history. This is the only state in the union that still includes any representation of the Confederate flag in their current flag. To the right of the Confederate design, you will find a blue white and red stripe.
Accounting Programs in Mississippi
As for the Accounting programs that Mississippi has to offer students, there are three in the state that stand out as offering some of the best business and accounting as evidenced by their accreditation. The University of Southern Mississippi, The University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University each have business schools that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. These business schools also each have a separate accounting accreditation as well. Since the AACSB is considered the Gold Standard in business accreditation, it is no small feat to acquire and maintain it. The schools, like the three mentioned, have spent a considerable amount of resources on the ability to stamp the AACSB seal on their web pages and their graduates’ transcripts. It is no surprise that those transcript
s end up earning former students more opportunities in the business and accounting professional world as well.
The University of Southern Mississippi is located in Starkville, MS and is a large public research school. They offer both full and part-time accounting degrees at the associate, bachelor, and master levels. They offer a full-time doctorate in accounting as well. The AACSB stresses as a part for the accreditation process the skills, accomplishments, and aptitude of the faculty body at an accredited school. Southern Miss has 55 active, full-time faculty members, 83% of whom have a doctoral degree in accounting. They offer students a 4:1 student-faculty ratio in their program. The University of Mississippi or “Ole Miss” is located in Hattiesburg and is also a public research school but much smaller. They offer full and part-time bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting. They have 54 full-time faculty, and 90% of those have doctoral degrees in accounting. As for Mississippi State University, the third university to earn AACSB accreditation in Mississippi, they are located in a town that should be easy to remember. Their street address is simply in the city of Mississippi State. This little school offers full and part-time accounting degrees at the bachelor and master level and full-time to doctoral students of accounting. They have 79 full-time faculty, more than 88% of whom have a terminal degree in the subject.
To Become a CPA in the State of Mississippi…
The education requirements for those studying to become a CPA in Mississippi are similar to those in other parts of the country. The 24 minimum semester hours in accounting and upper-level business courses are necessary here also. This coursework can be in any area the student feels drawn to, including some overlooked, niche areas of accounting. The 120 hours in undergrad and an extra 30 post-grad accounting hours are needed to finally get the CPA license in Mississippi, and 3 hours in each of the following are a Mississippi CPA must: financial accounting, management/cost accounting, taxation, government/not-for-profit accounting, and auditing.
To make oneself eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, all of the education requirements must be completed in full. In some states, the exam can be taken concurrently with finishing the education component, but not in Mississippi. To sit for the exam, applicants must also have established residency in Mississippi, and have a social security number. There is no minimum age and the applicant does not need to be a citizen of the country. The experience requirements in Miss include 1 year of general experience of accounting and auditing, as in becoming an internal auditor at a company or firm, all earning valuable skills in the practice and execution of the duties of both of these. Unique to Mississippi, the experience component cannot be gained in the area of teaching accounting in academia. Finally, applicants are not required to pass an ethics course or exam to earn their CPA license in Mississippi.
Requirements for Maintaining Licensure in Mississippi
In Mississippi, CPAs must complete 40 hours of Continued Professional Education each year. Four of these hours must be in the area of ethics in accounting. One of the 40 must be on the topic of Mississippi Public Accountancy Law and Regulations. Without this requirement, CPAs in the Magnolia State may miss out on their opportunity to learn about the frequent and continual changes to tax laws and grow out of synch with some of the most important elements of their job. The reporting date is between July and June each year. CPAs can renew their license on the first day of the year each year. Given that there are so many ways to earn this credit, there are State Board imposed limitations on the types and amount of each type of credit earned as CPE. For example, no more than 20 hours of CPE credit can be credited to a professional for their work in personal development courses. Another example is that although Self Study Courses are undoubtedly accepted, they must be approved by the NASBA QAS program, which is a program that CPAs complete without a real-time instructor.
For those licensed CPAs who are also university instructors, they can claim teaching time as CPE in Mississippi, as long as the material is changed from one instruction period to the next. Credit for preparation time for these situations limited to 2 times the actual class presentation time but is offered at the same number of hours as presentation time. The number of instruction hours cannot exceed 40 hours and is offered at 15 hours of CPE per semester hour of instruction and preparation. CPAs in Mississippi must complete the ethics CPE requirement, except for those who are primarily employed in another state and has already completed the 4 hours of CPE in ethics.