Become a CPA

Experience

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the experience requirement for CPA certification/licensure?

You are required to have no less than one year of employment in public accounting that includes no fewer than 2,000 hours of providing any type of services or advice using accounting attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax and consulting skills. Part-time experience can be earned over a period of up to three years.

Is there any time limit to acquire my work experience once I pass the Exam or earn my 150 credits?

No.

Can I substitute non-public or government accounting experience to meet the requirement for certification?

Yes, you can substitute three years of full-time employment in industry, government, academia or a nonprofit that includes no fewer than 2,000 hours of performance of services or advice using accounting attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax and consulting skills. Part-time experience can be earned over a period of nine years. The Board of Public Accountancy will look at such factors as the complexity and diversity of work. Your three years of employment must include responsibilities above entry-level and you must work under the direct supervision of a CPA (licensed at the time the experience was obtained).

Are there specific circumstances when governmental experience is considered equal to public accounting experience?

Yes, the Board, in its discretion, may grant credit for field audit work, including the direct supervision of field audit work, with the U.S. Government or any agency or subdivision of the Commonwealth with a demonstrated emphasis on the expression of opinions on financial statements in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, the review of and report on internal controls, the application of varied auditing procedures, the preparation of audit working papers for account examinations, the planning of auditing work programs, the preparation of written explanations and comments on examination findings and the preparation and analysis of financial statements. The experience required by this clause, as approved by the Board, shall be considered work experience on the same basis as experience in public accounting practices; provided, however, that adherence to the standard of independence is strictly applied.

How is full-time experience at a public accounting firm calculated?

You must work for an uninterrupted period of two months or more with a minimum of 35 hours per week.

Sickness and legal holidays are not considered an interruption of service.

How is part-time experience at a public accounting firm calculated?

You must work for an uninterrupted period of two months or more with a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Sickness and legal holidays are not considered an interruption of service. Credit will be granted only for actual hours devoted to the performance of services described above.

How is full-time experience in government or non-public accounting calculated?

You must work for an uninterrupted period of 12 months or more with a minimum of 35 hours per week.

Sickness, vacation and legal holidays are not considered an interruption of service.

How is part-time experience in government or non-public accounting calculated?

You must work for an uninterrupted period of 12 months, with a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Sickness, vacation and legal holidays are not considered an interruption of service.

Will my internship at a public accounting firm count toward the experience requirement?

Yes, if the type of service you were performing qualifies and you worked for an uninterrupted period of two months or more.

Can volunteer experience be used to fulfill the experience requirement?

No, it won’t but it might lead to a paid opportunity in the future or introduce you to individuals who may help advance your career.

2017 Updates

The changes to the regulations that became effective in May of 2017 require Massachusetts CPA candidates to have the equivalent of one year of public accounting experience.