Becoming a CPA in West Virginia is no small feat. Those CPAs who familiarize themselves with the economy of this Appalachian, mountain state can use it to their advantage for a long and lucrative career in accounting. The population of West Virginia in 2017 was 1,815,857 making it 38th in the U.S. for population. The largest export in West Virginia is coal, followed by large engines and industrial equipment gears. The state also exports polymers and other synthetic materials in great quantities. All exports from WV accounted for $4.9 billion of the total $7.6 billion in revenue for the state.
The largest single industry in the state was finance, is government and government enterprises. In fact, this industry accounted for $1.18 billion in alone. One of the best types of jobs to have in West Virginia is in the healthcare practitioners and medical technicians area. Both because of the strong labor union presence that ensures safe conditions and high wages, but also because of the way the government assistance for low-income people works in this low-income state. State issued health insurance all but ensures healthcare workers are compensated, if not by private insurance, then by the federal government. As CPAs, it is important to understand things like the implications of healthcare and taxes and other seemingly different issues.
West Virginia’s nickname is the Mountain State, as it is known for its mountains, hollers, and rolling hills, which tie into their archetypal industries of logging and coal mining. Uniquely, they are almost entirely in mountains. They are also known for being one of the only Karstic regions globally, meaning having an abundance of limestone, gypsum, and dolomite, which create caves and sinkholes, enforcing a specific kind of drainage. After the Civil War, West Virginia became a state, following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861. They are situated in the heart of Appalachia with a debate on whether they are part of the mid-Atlantic part of the country or considered part of the south. The capital city of Charleston is also the largest city in the state. Visitors find this state to engage in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hunting, backpacking, fishing, skiing, hiking, and fishing. The state flag has a red flag on top that says State of West Virginia, and beneath it is the state’s coat of arms surrounded by wreaths.
West Virginia Accounting Programs
The business and accounting education world takes its cues of excellence from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This century-plus-year-old non-profit organization concerns itself exclusively with pushing the envelope of ensuring the success of business and accounting programs in colleges and universities internationally. There are three home bases for the organization; Tampa, Florida which oversees the North American programs, Singapore, which is in charge of the East and South Asian programs, and Amsterdam, which is responsible for European programs. There is a 15 point checklist of standards for university business programs that are seeking accreditation from the AACSB. These range from faculty accomplishments to the types of innovative technologies employed to educate students. For those schools who elect to earn the optional accounting accreditation on top of the business on, there are six more points that are focused exclusively on accounting professional topics and requirements.
The two schools in West Virginia that have sought and earned AACSB accreditation are the Marshall University Lewis College of Business and the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. Marshall University is located in the city of Huntington and is a large public Master’s college (as determined by the Carnegie Institute). They offer students accounting degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in Full-Time, Part-Time, and Evenings and Weekend formats. Lewis College of Business was founded in 1969. Of the 51 faculty members at Lewis College of Business, 39 have doctorate degrees in business. The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics is located in the city of Morgantown and was founded in 1951. WVU is a large public research university with a large student body and tons of resources for students in these professional programs. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in Accounting, all at the pace of full-time or part-time, depending on student needs. Of the 91 full-time faculty, 87% have terminal degrees in business.
Becoming a CPA in West Virginia
To become a CPA in West Virginia, the applicant must be 18 years or older and has to have been a resident of the state for more than a year. The applicant must also have a social security number. They will have needed to have 27 hours in accounting before becoming eligible. After the education and the exam, the applicants must acquire 1 year of general experience gained through either an internship in their area of interest or through paid employment in private practice, government, industry, not-for-profit organization, academia or public practice.
West Virginia Post Licensure Requirements for CPAs
West Virginia’s Post Licensure Requirements for CPAs are not much different than other states, with some nuances. Licenses must be renewed every year on June 30. There is a CPE reporting period from January 1-December 31 that rolls over a three year period. The general requirements include 120 hours biannually and 20 hours each year. The ethics requirement includes four hours of ethics coursework delivered by providers who have pre-registered with the board. There are no other subject area requirements. There are some limitations that are important to take into account before attempting to achieve CPE requirements. For instructors that teach in the academy 60 hours per year for each course can be achieved, if there are no repetitions, unless large edits have been made to the material. If you have published material 60 hours can be granted for every publication, which can include books and articles. Courses such as the principles of accounting will not be accepted for either attendance or instruction.
The board has determined that they will not grant credit to any program that is under 50 minutes long. Instructors that work within approved programs will gain two extra hours of credit for every hour that is taught. The total for this is an accumulation of three hours for every hour of teaching, but only for the first time, they teach the class. Every licensee may achieve a half of a credit for every hour of teaching tax classes to volunteers from VITA throughout a three year period. If after being licensed as a CPA one chooses to take classes at a college or university, each semester hour credit will be the equivalent 15 CPE hours, and one quarter hour will be the equivalent of 10 CPE hours. Providers of CPE credits must be sponsors from national or state accounting organizations. Licensees who are non-residents must meet the CPE requirement by proving to the board that they have met all of the requirements in their home state.
The CPE credit limitations that should be taken into account include that the maximum credit CPAs who are instructing classes can receive is 60 hours per course, including preparation and presentation. They should also know that they can only receive CPE credit for teaching a course once, and in order to receive credit again, the course must be changed significantly. Introductory accounting courses such as principles of accounting are not eligible for CPE credit, neither as an instructor nor a participant. For Non-Residents of West Virginia, who work as CPAs in WV must demonstrate to the WV Board of Accountancy that they meet the CPE requirements of their state of residence. That way thier license will not be compromised by working in West Virginia.