CPA Licensing Requirements in Colorado

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For Candidates in Colorado who have Passed the Uniform CPA Exam

The Board of Accountancy is making a significant change to the requirements for CPA licensure effective July 1, 2015. The change eliminates the option of substituting advanced education for experience. Instead, it will bring Colorado into compliance with the UAA (Uniform Accountancy Act) requirements stipulating:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • 150 semester hours that include specified upper-level accounting and business courses
  • One-year active experience in accounting

Education Requirement
Before July 1, 2015, no additional education requirements must be met beyond those required to sit for the exam.

After July 1, 2015, candidates in Colorado will need a total of 150 semester hours of college education (30 beyond what is required to sit for the exam) consisting of:

  • 33 semester hours of accounting coursework, including:
    • 6 hours in auditing
    • 3 hours in ethics.
    • 27 of these hours must be above the undergraduate level
  • 27 hours of business coursework, including:
    • 3 hours in business, technical or accounting communications.
    • 18 hours must be above the undergraduate level

Experience Requirement
One year (1,800 hours) supervised work, either full or part-time, carried out not more than five years prior to applying for licensure. Internship work qualifies. The work may be in public or private accounting, industry, government or academia and should involve at least some of the following skills:

  • Accounting
  • Internal auditing
  • External auditing
  • Reporting on / preparing financial statements
  • Consulting
  • Advising management
  • Preparing tax returns
  • Providing tax advice
  • Installing internal control systems
  • Teaching at least two different upper-level accounting courses (academia)

Note: Those have passed the Uniform CPA Exam prior to July 1, 2015 may also substitute the experience requirements for a bachelor’s or higher degree that includes at least 150 semester credit hours with no less than 45 accounting and 36 business semester credit hours.

Ethics Exam Requirement
CPA license candidates are required to pass the ethics examination administered by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). It involves an 11-hour course of study covering the AICPA code of conduct, the concept of “independence” and new rules and regulations affecting the accounting profession.

Candidates must achieve a passing grade of 90 percent on the 40-question multiple-choice online test.

Licensing fees requirements

  • Initial license application – $100.00
  • Transfer of grades – $185.00
  • License renewal (active) – $77.00
  • License renewal (retired) – $23.00

Continuing Professional Education Requirements
CPA licenses in Colorado must be renewed annually. Licensed CPAs are required to complete 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) for every year. At least four of those hours must be in ethics courses.