Surely, if you are looking to become a CPA in Wyoming, you are familiar with the joys of this beautiful state. With the lowest population in the country, what Wyoming lacks in bustling, over-populated cities it makes up for with interesting state history. Who knew that Wyoming was the first state where women were given the right to vote, hold public office, and serve on juries? This fact is the one that coined the state nickname "the equality state." It was 1869 when the territorial legislature of Wyoming became an international first in granting women's suffrage. In 1894 Estelle Reel was elected into the role of Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction, making her one of the first women in the country to be elected into state office. Though it is clear that Wyoming had 12,000 years of preoccupation by tribes such as the Plains Indians, they did not become a state until 1890, making them the 44th state in the union. The Wyoming state flag says a lot about Wyoming itself, as it simply shows a white imprint of a bison, representing the fauna of the state, with a livestock branding seal on the image.
Wyoming Accounting Programs
Being the lowest populous state in the country has its upside and its downsides. If you're like me and need to sit down at the mere thought of crowds and big cities, Wyoming offers a lot in the way of wide open spaces. Natural gas, oil, and mineral extraction dominate the economic landscape, offering high wage jobs to a populous of historically farmers and ranchers. An interesting economic fact about the state, there is no personal or corporate income taxes, and therefore businesses that are located in the state have a much easier time collected profits and paying higher salaries to workers. Sales tax in the state is much lower than other places, at only 4%, and the food is not taxed at all, nor is inheritance. The state revenues from property taxes and the collection of royalties and levies from the oil and gas industry are what fund Wyoming and keep it going. These practices are what have named Wyoming the most business-friendly tax state in the union.
In Wyoming, there is only one school that offers bachelor's degrees in Accounting. The University of Wyoming, located in the southeast corner of the state in Laramie, offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting. They also offer a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration that can be completed on campus or completely online. The BSBA is offered with the option to major in Accounting. Each of these requires coursework in Ethics, Professionalism, Accounting Information Systems, Nonprofit Accounting, and Government Accounting. The University of Wyoming also offers a Master of Science in Accounting degree from their college of business. This course of study acts most often to prepare students for the CPA examination. It can be completed in one year, and consists of 30 credit hours, the number needed to fulfill the 150 hours total of accounting schooling for the CPA Exam education requirements.
Becoming a CPA in Wyoming
The education requirements for becoming eligible to sit for the CPA exam vary from state to state. In Wyoming, an applicant for licensure must have completed 150 hours of education, including a bachelor's degree. Of these, 24 semester hours of the undergraduate or graduate degree must be in accounting courses. These courses could include financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting. Another 24 hours must come from business courses. These requirements ensure that CPAs are well versed in the intricate details and complications that doing business and finance brings in the Equality state. These courses can include work in quantitative methods, business law, information systems or technology management, economics, finance, business communications, marketing, statistics, technical writing, or ethics.
As far as the CPA exam requirements in Wyoming, applicants must pass all four sections of the exam with a 75% or higher score to be eligible to continue. The 150 hours of education, including the BA degree in accounting, must be completed prior to sitting for the exam, or the applicant must show documentation that these requirements will be completed within 90 days of the exam application date. Applicants can take more than one section of the exam within the same exam block schedule, although it is advised to do each of the sections at their own time, allowing for the proper study of the test materials. No section of the exam can be retaken in the same test block of time, rather retests must be taken in the block of time after the failed attempt.
Wyoming Eligibility for CPA Licensure
Each state outlines the experience requirements for CPAs before they are eligible for licensure. In Wyoming, applicants are required to work for a year, or 2,000 hours, in accounting. This can be in the area of government, industry, academia or in public accounting. The experience component ensures that a licensed CPA can supervise each CPA applicant. This process allows for advising them through situations that arise during their experience period before they have to sole responsibility for correcting any errors. It also encourages good work habits like ethical professional behavior and providing the ability to network with established professionals.
Applicants for the CPA license in Wyoming must be 18 years old or older but are not required to be citizens of this country. A green card for foreign students is sufficient. Applicants do, however, need to prove residency in Wyoming to get a license in the state. This can often be as simple as proving having lived there more than one calendar year. Unlike some states, in Wyoming, applicants must pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam to be eligible for initial licensure.
Post-Licensure Requirements for CPAs in Wyoming
After obtaining a license to practice as a CPA in Wyoming, the license must be renewed each year by the last day of the year. CPAs must keep their license current by participating in Continuing Professional Education credits, called CPEs. CPAs can report the acquisition of these educational requirements anytime throughout the year and must earn 120 hours over a rolling three-year period. CPAs are also required to re-engage with an professional ethics as a part of their renewal process. Thet must take four of the 120 hours in ethics, to keep their license current. They must also take four hours in board-approved courses on the provisions of the Wyoming CPA Act and Wyoming Rules and Regulations.
There are Credit Limitations for these CPE hours to be considered acceptable. For CPE hours to count toward license renewal, CPAs can participate in conferences that are specific to accounting or practice Independent study options. These hours must be sponsored and are limited to 12 hours during any renewal period. College and university instructors of accounting can also receive CPE credit for instruction. They are limited to 50% of their required hours in instruction. Students who are CPAs may also receive CPE credit for coursework in accounting. Each semester hour equals 15 hours of CPE for professionals in this position.
Given that CPAs are required to pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam,as well as being a requirement for initial licensure. The difference in having a professional and an ethical approach to the Accounting field is night and day. To be trusted with the finances and financial direction that a family, small business, and corporate taxes, is a lot of responsibility. An advanced degree in accounting will spend time going into a great deal of detail in the concepts and skills of practicing ethical accountning.