How to Become a CPA in Oklahoma

Becoming an accountant in Oklahoma may come to you Sooner than you think. Playing your CPA cards right in this Midwestern state looks like following the steps outlined below, on the Accounting Degree Review guide on How to Become a CPA in Oklahoma for 2019.

Understanding Oklahoma's Economy

Oklahoma, where the winds come sweeping down the plain, is perfect for large agriculture. Wide open spaces mean cattle ranching as far as the eye can see, in some areas. The state is the fifth largest beef producing state in the country, and beef is the largest income source for Oklahomians as well. Oil is a big industry in states that surround Oklahoma, so the Sooner state has responded to this by being the manufacturer of the machinery they need to pull this oil out of the earth. Construction machinery, machine parts, and refrigeration and heating equipment are also all produced in the state. The services industry makes Oklahoma lots of money too. In the lead on this front is health care and equipment rental companies (like oil equipment rental services).

For the last 2,000 or more years, people have lived in the plains of what is now Oklahoma. Many of the stereotypical imagery of Native Americans seen throughout the world is actually of Plains Indians, even when it does not intend to be, with elaborate feathered headdresses and a horse riding Buffalo hunter. The word Oklahoma, in fact, comes from a Choctaw Chief named Allen Wright, who was also a Christian missionary later in his life. In 1866, appealing to the U.S. Government to be able to name the territory a Choctaw word, given the population of that tribe living in the area at the time, he combined two Choctaw words, "ukla" and "humá", meaning person and red respectively. Oklahoma means "home of the red man" and the state now celebrates its heritage as being a collaborative effort towards statehood between white people and indigenous people.

Accounting Education in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, there are only 2 AACSB accredited business and accounting programs. These two schools are Oklahoma State University with their Spears School of Business and the University of Oklahoma with the Michael F. Price College of Business. What achieving and maintaining this prestigious accreditation means is that these two schools are dedicated to providing the best business education possible. The accreditation process for business schools is grueling and renewed every 8 years. For schools that are renewed accreditation, it is because they adhere to every item in a 72-page book of standards and guidelines put forth by the AACSB. What is most important to the organization is that the school or business program abides by their three goals of education; engagement, innovation, and impact.

In Oklahoma, accounting students are required to pass at least 30 semester hours or in accounting courses, that must be in areas more advanced than principles of accounting or introductory accounting. One course must be in the area of auditing or assurance. In order to be eligible to sit for the national Uniform CPA Exam in the Sooner state, the applicant must have achieved 150 credit hours, including 120 hours of a bachelor's degree. These extra 30 hours are not hard to fulfill with such great Accountancy programs in the state, and usually, account for the 76 semester hours of upper-level accounting courses required by the state board of accountancy. What is also required is 30 semester hours of accounting courses beyond the introductory level. One of these courses must be in assurance or auditing, ideally concentrated on external auditing standards including Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS). A total of 9 semester hours must be in upper-level business courses such as Statistics, Economics, or Finance.

Oklahoma CPA License, Step by Step

After education, there are three other E-words that CPAs in Oklahoma must be familiar with. Those are experience, exam, and ethics. The experience requirements for CPAs in Oklahoma after finishing their education include 2,000 hours or one year of full-time public accounting experience. They can gain this either through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice. The experience can be through paid employment as a bookkeeper or in the capacity of an unpaid internship.

The Uniform CPA Exam is the same across the country. Accountants take it after they have finished 150 hours of education, and the year of experience in an accounting setting. It consists of four parts, each one assessing a different important part of accounting as a profession, not just as a theory as it may have seemed in school. One example of that point is the section of the exam call Business Environment and Concepts. In this part, test takers are assessed on how much of the practice of accounting they are aware of. Each exam weights the parts differently based on a randomized selection of tests. In order to pass the whole exam, you must score 75% as an average score across each of the weighted sections. After the education, experience, and exam, to get a CPA license you must pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure. Not all states require this, but many do, and Oklahoma does. Since Oklahoma is what is called a two-tiered state, when a CPA passes the Uniform CPA Exam, a certificate will be issued to them stating their impending licensure. However, a license/permit to practice will be issued after the experience requirement is completed, which in this state is possible to do out of the order that many other states require it.

Maintaining the CPA License For the Long Haul

In order to maintain an Oklahoma CPA license, CPAs in this state must also earn Continuing Professional Education hours, every year, for the length of the time they intend to practice accounting. They must earn a minimum of 20 hours per year, at an overall rate of 120 hours every three years. The license renewal date is the last day of the CPA's birth month each year. CPAs in Oklahoma are also required to earn 4 hours of credit in professional ethics each year. A minimum of 72 hours of the 120 hours of CPE throughout the three years must focus on public accounting and at least 8 of those must be spent learning accounting, taxation, or assurance, whichever of these is the CPA's main area professional focus.

For CPAs who also teach accounting at a college level, 15 hours is the maximum number of CPE credits they can claim each year for instruction. Accounting education publications can only get them a maximum of 10 hours per the calendar year. CPAs can receive credit for self-study, as long as it is interactive and provided by the NASBA. Each semester of university or college credit can be claimed as 15 CPE hours for the CPA who is back in accounting school. Other structured learning programs that increase a CPA's professional competence and ability to deliver public accounting services may also qualify for credit. However, these need to be approved by the NASBA before credit will be issued.

CPA Support After Licensure

There are several organizations and affiliate groups that help accountants in Oklahoma and around the country to do their best, serve their clients and keep the field running smoothly. These include the Oklahoma Society of CPAs which is a professional membership organization. They offer CPE, networking, and employment opportunities around the state, as well as fun social events for its members. They are a great resource for people already in the field, and also prospectives who may have questions on how to break into accounting within the state of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Accountancy Board (OAB) is the Oklahoma state regulatory agency for CPAs and the firms that some of them work at. It is also the governing body for administering the Uniform CPA examination in the state of Oklahoma. They process the applications of recent graduates to determine if that person has met the requirement to become licensed. Overall they are concerned with maintaining the integrity of the profession in the state through rigorous oversight.