Certified Public Accountants are licensed and regulated by their state boards of accountancy. While state laws and regulations vary, the education, experience and testing requirements for licensure as a CPA generally include:
A CPA must achieve all of this under the supervision or with the verification of a licensed CPA.
In order to maintain a CPA license, states generally require the completion of 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) each year (80 hours over a two year or 120 hours over a three year period). Additionally, all American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) members are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct which requires that they act with integrity, objectivity, due care, competence, fully disclose any conflicts of interest (and obtain client consent if a conflict exists), maintain client confidentiality, disclose to the client any commission or referral fees, and serve the public interest when providing financial services. The vast majority of state boards of accountancy have adopted the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct within their state accountancy laws or have created their own.