The AICPA/NASBA Uniform CPA exam is challenging on its own, but this process is complicated further by each state also having its own set of requirements to fulfill so as to sit the exam. To make this process easier, we have compiled a detailed overview of the Arkansas CPA requirements, closely following guidelines from the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. This should prove helpful if you are planning to either sit for the CPA exam, transfer your existing credits or CPA license to Arkansas, or to maintain your existing Arkansas CPA license.

As these requirements are subject to change, we recommended confirming all information with the Arkansas 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

Arkansas has no minimum age requirement to sit the CPA exam.

Residency

There are no residency requirements in Arkansas.

Citizenship

Arkansas has no citizenship requirements to sit the CPA exam.

Education

Arkansas has an educational requirement of having a four-year bachelor’s degree from a university credit requirement of 150 semester hours from a college or university education with a bachelor’s degree or higher to sit the CPA exam.  They are required to receive at least a ‘C’ for the accounting and business subjects.

The 150 hours must include the following:

  • Accounting (30 hours in upper-level or 20 hours of graduate accounting), must include:
    • Financial Accounting (Intermediate)
    • Management Accounting (Cost Acct.) 
    • Governmental Or Not-For-Profit Accounting (Institutional Acct.) 
    • Federal Taxation (Adv. Income Tax or Fundamentals of Taxation)
    • Auditing And Attestation
    • Accounting Information Systems
  • Business (30 hours of undergraduate courses or 20 hours of graduate courses) in courses other than accounting
  • Other
    • Content area in accounting may be acquired from standalone courses
    • Internship credit: Either the accounting or business component may include a maximum of 3 semester credit hours from either an accounting or business internship as credits outside of those listed above
    • Independent study: Either the accounting or business component may include a maximum of 3 semester credit hours from an accounting or business self-study course outside of those listed above

Board-recognized regional accrediting agencies

If your school is not listed with either of these organizations, you can check with your school to see whether it is recognized with the board. You will then need to have your transcripts evaluated by the board in all cases.

Non-recognized educations

US licenses or degrees that are not recognized by the Board can be evaluated by NASBA’s National Qualification Appraisal Service (NQAS) service to confirm for substantial equivalency. This will cost you about $250.00, which you must pay to NASBA. If approved, you must request that the results be sent directly to the Board.

Foreign Educations

Accountants who graduated from international institutions must have their transcripts evaluated by any member of the National Association of Credential Evaluators (NACE.) A copy of the results must then be sent directly to the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy’s office by the evaluations service.

Work Experience

Arkansas CPA applicants are required to acquire at least 2,000 hours of work experience either before or after passing the CPA exam before you can apply for licensure. This must be completed in a minimum of one year to a maximum of three years prior to applying for licensure. It can also be done in either the public, private, governmental, or academic environment sectors of accountancy.

Ethics

The Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy requires all CPA license applicants to complete their one-hour Ethics Exam covering the Accountancy Law and Board Rules. This must be completed AFTER all four parts of the exam have been passed.

How to Apply for the Arkansas CPA Exam

The Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy processes its own CPA exam applications. To apply to take the Arkansas CPA exam, applicants will need to:

  • Submit a color copy of a government issued ID (Driver’s License, passport, etc.)
  • Submit the online application form
  • Pay the following fees:
    • Initial Application – $50.00
    • Annual registration – $110.00
    • ASP & FBI Background Check – $35.00
  • 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 or college directly to the Board
  • Include official copies of transcript translations and official copies of the transcript themselves where necessary
  • Include official credit evaluations where applicable, sent directly from the evaluation service
  • If you passed any sections of the exam in another jurisdiction, you can apply to transfer the results to the Arkansas Board. This will incur a transfer fee of $10.00 per section

Fees

Initial application Fee$50.00
Auditing & Attestation (AUD)$226.15
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)$226.15
Regulation (REG)$226.15
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)$226.15
Registration Fees
4 sections – $120.00
3 sections – $105.00
2 sections – $90.00
1 section – $75.00
$300.00
Total$1,254.60

Locations

How to Apply for an Arkansas CPA License

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

  • Submit your application to the state board
  • Prove that you have passed the Arkansas CPA exam within the last three years
  • Request all transcripts from all issuing institutions be sent directly by the Registrar to the State Board proving all 150 semester hours and education requirements were met.
  • Submit your social security number
  • Submissions of work experience verification form
  • Submission of copies of name change documentation where relevant
  • Pass the Arkansas Ethics exam
  • Submit the Experience Affidavit
  • Pay the application fee of $100.00

After the Board’s Executive Director’s approval, Board staff will electronically submit the Authorization to Test (ATT) to NASBA.

Practice Privilege for Out-of-State License Holders

A CPA who holds an out-of-state license recognized as substantially equivalent to that of Arkansas’ can practice in Arkansas 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 Arkansas’s according to the NASBA NQAS’s appraisal.
  • 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 Arkansas
  • They have at least four years of experience outside of Arkansas within the ten years preceding this application according to the stipulations above
  • The must have fulfilled the CE requirements listed below
  • 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

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

  • Submit copies of all transcripts as described above
  • Meet the work requirements
  • Submit the online application form
  • Pay the following fees:
    • Initial Application – $50.00
    • Annual registration – $110.00
    • ASP & FBI Background Check – $35.00
  • A color copy of a government issued ID (Driver’s License, passport, etc.)
  • CPA Exam scores proving successful completion of the exam sent directly to the Arkansas Board from the Board of Accountancy of your home state
  • Certificates or transcripts documenting the completion of 40 hours of CE earned within the last full calendar year or 120 hours earned over the previous three full calendar years

International License Reciprocity

Arkansas will issue a certificate to foreign license holders whose licenses are recognized as being substantially equivalent to those of Arkansas on condition that:

  • The issuing foreign authority provides a similar provision for Arkansas CPA license holders
  • The license is current and valid
  • It was issued according to the educational, examination and experience requirements established by the foreign authority or law
  • They passed a uniform examination that is substantially equivalent to those of the national standards of the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy
  • They notify the Board within 30 days of that license’s expiration date

Non-recognized foreign license holders

Public Accountants who possess a foreign license from a non-recognized issuing institution will need to follow the same procedure as those of foreign education holders.

NTS Validation Period

You will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) within four weeks of paying for your exam application. 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

Arkansas CPA license holders are required to renew their licenses annually by January 1st.  They are also required to fulfill Continued Professional Education (CPE) hours, which can be done either annually or triennially. If annually, there is a 40 CPE requirement, and if triennially, then it is 120 CPE.  These must be submitted with the CPE reporting form.

The educational requirements are as follows:

  • Licensees engaged in public accountancy – 40% of the required hours in the subject areas of accounting, accounting ethics, attest, or taxation
  • Licensees NOT engaged in public accountancy – 20% of the required hours in the subject areas of accounting, accounting ethics, attest, or taxation
  • Licensees engaged in any attest or compilation function shall complete at least 20% of the required hours in the subject areas of attest and accounting theory/practice.
  • Ethics – 4 hours every 36 months
  • The Board may make exceptions based on individual hardship such as health, foreign residency, military service and other factors

CPE Parameters:

  • Each correspondence program that is at least 50 minutes long is worth one CPE credit hour. One-half CPE (equal to 25 minutes) is permitted once the first hour has been earned per program
  • Nano-learning courses
    • Maximum 4 hours per year
    • Five ten-minute courses will equate to 1 CPE hour
  • An instructor will receive twice the number of CPE awarded to participants, on condition that the lecturer is qualified and that the program contributes to the professional accounting competence of the applicant. Repetition of the same course work cannot be counted twice within the same year
  • The Sponsor must be approved registered or exempt from registration according to Board laws
  • 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)
  • Excess hours cannot be carried over to the next period.

Inactive license holders

Arkansas CPA license holders can opt to change their license status to ‘inactive.’ This will allow them to maintain their inactive license by paying an annual ‘inactive’ renewal fee of $55.00, 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.

However, these CPE requirements will be required:

  • 40 hours per 12 months if less than three years
  • If less than 12 months, then the CPE requirements will be calculated on a pro rata basis, at a rate of 3 1/3 hours per month from the date of reinstatement to the end of the renewal period in which reinstatement occurs
  • If it has been more than three years, then the applicant will also need to provide verified experience of one year within the five years preceding their application from the state in which they were practicing under that state’s CPA license
  • Submit to a federal background check

Expired license holders

Any CPA licensee who fails to report their CPE hours by December 31st will automatically have their license switched to ‘Expired’ status. They will then need to apply for reinstatement. If they fail to submit their outstanding CPE hours by January 31st of their reporting period, will receive notice of having 30 days within which to provide acceptable documentation to explain the noncompliance, as well as documentation to prove the fulfillment of the CPE requirements. They will then have until April 1st to renew their license; the licensee will be subject to a hearing which may result in their license being revoked.  

 In order to reactivate an expired license, you will need to:

  • Submit the Reinstatement or Re-Licensure form
  • Meet the experience requirement as outlined for Inactive license reactivations
  • Meet the work experience requirements as stated for Inactive license reactivations
  • Pay the $150.00 application fee
  • Submit an Employment Record form
  • Submit to a federal background check

State Board

Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy

  • Address: Arkansas State Board of Accountancy
    900 W. Capitol Ave, Suite 400
  • Little Rock, AR 72201-3108
  • Phone: (501) 682-1520
  • Fax: (501) 682-5538
  • Email:  ASBPA@arkansas.gov | Licensing specialist email: Kathrine.Stone@arkansas.gov
  • Website: https://www.asbpa.arkansas.gov/
  • Hours: Mon – Fri: 08:00-16:30
  • Resources: