The AICPA Uniform CPA exam is known to be exceptionally challenging on its own, but this process is further complicated by each state providing their own set of CPA requirements to fulfill before the applicant qualifies both to sit the exam and to apply for licensure. Therefore, we have compiled a detailed summary of the Arizona State Board of Accountancy’s requirements. This also includes details on transferring your existing credits or CPA license to Arizona, or to maintain your existing Arizona CPA license. As these requirements are subject to change, we recommended confirming all information with the Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy to make sure you qualify, and to verify that the charges have not been updated since this piece was published.

Age

Arizona has a minimum age requirement of 18 to sit the CPA exam.

Residency

There are no residency requirements in Arizona.

Citizenship

Arizona has no citizenship requirements to sit the CPA exam.

Education

Arizona has a credit requirement of 150 semester hours from a college or university education with a bachelor’s degree or higher to sit the CPA exam.  The 150 hours must include the following:

  • Accounting (36 hours), including at least 30 hours of upper-level coursework. These must be non-duplicative.
  • 30 semester hours of related courses including:
    • Business administration
    • Statistics
    • Computer science, information systems or data processing
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Business law
    • College algebra or more advanced mathematics
    • Advanced written communication
    • Advanced oral communication
    • General ethics
    • Marketing
    • Other courses that are closely related to the subject of accounting or that are satisfactory to the Board

Foreign Educations

Accountants who graduated from international institutions must have their transcripts evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). The NIES will then notify the applicant whether their education was found to be substantially equivalent to that of the Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy’s educational requirements. If not, they will be informed of which requirements need to be fulfilled. If they are found to be substantially equivalent, then the applicant can request the evaluation service to send an official copy of their evaluation to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy.

Work Experience

Arizona CPA applicants are required to acquire at least 2,000 hours of work experience either before or after passing the CPA exam. These can be earned in any state or jurisdiction that is consistent with Arizona’s requirements, and the work can be either paid or unpaid. However, the experience must have exposed the applicant to practical experience in the accounting field. It must also be sufficient to demonstrate the applicant’s ability for critical inquiry and analysis of financial accounting information, including balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements and tax returns and the applicant’s ability to communicate, either orally or in writing, on the results of an inquiry or analysis of that information to an employer, client or a third party. Experience can be any combination of full-time, part-time, volunteer, or internship as long as it meets the aforementioned requisite experience.

Ethics

The Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy requires the candidate to take the AICPA Professional Ethics Comprehensive Course and Exam “For Licensure.” The applicant must achieve 90% or higher in order to apply for licensure. This can be done before or after taking the CPA exam.

How to Apply for the Arizona CPA Exam

The Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy processes their own CPA Exam applications. Therefore, to apply to take the Arizona CPA exam, applicants will need to:

  • Request the Registrars of all the issuing institutions of their educations to submit official copies of their transcripts. This can either be done through the postal service in sealed envelopes or online directly from the university of college
  • Include official copies of transcript translations and official copies of the transcript themselves where necessary
  • Include official credit evaluations where applicable, sent direct from the evaluation service
  • Submit the application form to the Board
  • Pay the relevant fees
  • After the Board’s Executive Director’s approval, Board staff will electronically submit the Authorization to Test (ATT) to NASBA.

Fees

Application Fee$100.00
Auditing & Attestation (AUD)$226.15
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)$226.15
Regulation (REG)$226.15
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)$226.15
Total$1,004.60

There is a $50.00 re-application fee.

Fees are non-refundable. Most exams can be rescheduled. 

Locations

How to Apply for an Arizona CPA License

To apply for CPA licensure in Arizona, you will need to:

  • Submit your application either to the state board
  • Request all transcripts from all issuing institutions be sent directly by the Registrar to the State Board
  • Submit your social security number
  • Submissions of work experience verification form
  • Submission of copies of name change documentation where relevant
  • Submit proof of passing the ethics exam within two years of applying for licensure
  • Pay the application fee of $100.00

Practice Privilege for Out-of-State License Holders

A CPA who holds an out-of-state license recognized as substantially equivalent to that of Arizona can practice in Arizona without applying for a state CPA license on condition that:

  • They have a valid CPA license that is recognized as being substantially equivalent to that of Arizona’s
  • The license is current in the issuing state or jurisdiction
  • Their principal place of business is in the state of licensure
  • They do not have an office or represent in Arizona
  • They have fulfilled the 150-credit hour requirement, have acquired one year of work experience and have passed the CPA exam
  • The individual will stop practicing in Arizona should the license expire in the issuing state

Reciprocal Application

Arizona recognizes interstate reciprocity of CPA licenses from jurisdictions and states that are considered to be substantially equivalent to that of Arizona’s. In order to apply for CPA license conversion, you will need to me the following requirements as well:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Prove that you passed the CPA exam in another state or jurisdiction
  • Proof of acquiring a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Providing transcripts proving of fulfillment of ONE of the following education paths:
    • A degree with at least 150 credit hours with:
      • Accounting (36 hours), including at least 30 hours of upper-level coursework. These must be non-duplicative.
      • 30 semester hours of related courses
    • A degree with at least 150 credit hours with:
      • Accounting (24 hours), including at least 12 hours of upper-level coursework. These must be non-duplicative.
      • 18 semester hours of related courses
    • A bachelor’s degree of high with (foreign licenses):
      • Accounting (24 hours), including at least 12 hours of upper-level coursework. These must be non-duplicative.
      • 18 semester hours of related courses
  • Experience requirements of either:
    • 2,000 hours of paid or unpaid experience
    • Three-years employed in the practice of accounting
    • Five of the last ten preceding years employed in the practice of accounting
    • Ten of the last fifteen preceding years employed in the practice of accounting

A list of substantially equivalent jurisdiction’s can be found on the NASBA website.

International License Reciprocity:

Arizona recognizes NASBA’s Mutual Recognition Agreements. This means that license holders from the institutions listed below are permitted to take NASBA/IQAB’s International Qualification Examination in lieu of the full CPA exam.

IQAB has currently established MRAs with the following professional bodies:

The IQEX exam fee is $835, and the Illinois IQEX application fee is $345.

Non-recognized foreign license holders

Public Accountants who possess a foreign license from a non-recognized issuing institution must have their credentials evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). The NIES will then notify the applicant whether their education was found to be substantially equivalent to that of the Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy’s educational requirements. If not, they will be informed of which requirements need to be fulfilled. Once approved, they will be permitted to take the CPA exam.

NTS Validation Period

You will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) upon paying for your Payment Coupon from NASBA. You will have 6 months from the date of issuance in which to write your CPA exam, or the NTS will expire. You will then need to reapply for the exam. Therefore, before trying to save money by applying for multiple exams at once, make sure that you will be able to study for them and schedule them in beforehand.

License Renewal Requirements

Arizona CPA license holders are required to renew their licenses biennially. Whether the year is odd or even will be determined by whether they were born in an odd or even year. It must also be renewed during their birth month. During each cycle, they must fulfill an 80-continued professional education (CPE) hour requirement. These must be submitted with the CPE reporting form.

The educational requirements are as follows:

  • A minimum of 40 hours of CPE in accounting, auditing, taxation, business law, or consulting services. A minimum of 16 of these hours must be in accounting, taxation or auditing
  • Ethics (4 hour)
    • Ethics (1 hour) related to the practice of accounting including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Professional Code of Conduct.
    • The Arizona State Board of Accountancy statutes and administrative rules (1 hour)

CE reciprocity

Non-resident license holders will be considered to have met Arizona’s CPE requirements upon fulfilling the CPE requirements in the state in which they currently reside. However, if there are no requirements in that state, then they will need to meet the CPE requirements of Arizona.

Acceptable CPE hours

  • Each correspondence program hour is worth one CPE credit hour
    • Instruction received at accredited colleges or universities:
    • Per semester system credit hour = 15 CPE hours
    • Per quarter system credit hour = 10 CPE hours
    • Per noncredit class hour = 1 CPE hour
  • CPE Lecturer or Discussion Leader (max. 40 hours)
  • Publishing Books or Articles (Max. 20 hours)
  • Computer courses (Max. 20 hours)
  • Nano-learning courses (max. 4 hours)
  • Excess hours cannot be carried over to the next period.

Further details can be found here.

Inactive license holders

Arizona CPA license holders can opt to change their license status to ‘inactive.’ This will allow them to maintain their license by paying biennial the ‘inactive’ renewal fees, without the need to meet the CPE requirements. However, they will not be permitted to practice as a CPA until their license is made ‘active’ again. In order to switch their license status back, they will need to apply for reinstatement and meet the license renewal requirements stipulated above.

Expired license holders

Any CPA who fails to pay the biennial renewal fee will automatically have their license suspended. In order to reactivate an expired license, you will need to:

  • Submit the application form
  • Pay the $100.00 application fee
  • Provide proof of 80 hours of CPE as above taken within the last 2 years
  • Provide proof of Ethics requirements:
    • If less than 24 months, then 4 hours
    • If 25 – 48 months have lapsed, then 8 hours

State Board

Arizona State Board of Public Accountancy

  • Address: Arizona State Board of Accountancy
    100 N. 15th Avenue, Suite 165
    Phoenix, AZ 85007
  • Phone: (602) 364-0804
  • Fax: (602) 364-0903
  • Email:  info@azaccountancy.gov
  • Website: https://www.azaccountancy.gov/
  • Hours: Mon – Fri: 08:00-17:00
  • Resources: