We have already discussed the process of applying for the CPA exam in this article. Here we will be discussing how to actually pay for and book the exam. As always, this will vary from state to state.

Paying the fees

Once your application has been accepted, you will need to pay the exam and registration fees to the correct bodies. Where NASBA’s CPAES is involved, this process is easy as all fees are simply paid directly to them. However, when it is the state accountancy board that is involved, this becomes more complicated. This is because whether the board of a certain state or jurisdiction will process all fees or split this between the board and NASBA varies between each. In the table below, we have stipulated whether the exam fees are paid to NASBA or the state board. However, this does NOT include any application and registration fees. Where the state board processes exams, those fees are always paid to the board, and not NASBA.

The difference between an ATT and an NTS for the CPA exam

What an NTS is

A Notice to Schedule (NTS) is a document that is issued by NASBA once they have received payment on behalf of a CPA exam candidate either from the candidate themselves or by the board on the candidate’s behalf. This will allow authorize a student to book a test date for whichever exam sections were paid for. However, the NTS expires, so the candidate needs to book a testing date with Prometric before that happens.

The NTS is usually valid for 6 months, but there are also some states that offer a 9- or 12-month window. Therefore, as the full CPA exam must be passed within 18-months, it is wise to plan ahead realistically when paying for your NTS, as you might wind up losing time and money by failing or missing the deadline due to life circumstances. Its important to bear this in mind when being tempted to book for multiple exams at once in response to the registration fee needing to be paid per exam application regardless of the number of sections this covers, where applicable.

What an ATT is

Where a state accountancy board processes only their fees and leaves the actual exam fees to be paid directly to NASBA by the applicant themselves, the board will issue the student with an Authorization to Test (ATT) once the application has been accepted and any application registration fees have been paid to them. Only once the student has received their ATT from the board, will they be permitted to contact the NASBA CPAES to pay the exam fees. Typically, like the NTS, the ATT expires if it is not utilized within a specific timeframe. It is also sometimes referred to as a ‘payment coupon.’

There are states that also charge for NASBA’s fees and then apply to NASBA on the candidate’s behalf. Note that in cases where the CPAES handles the entire application process, the registration fees are paid to them as well.

Can an international NTS be used in the US

No, you will need to apply for a domestic NTS. This includes paying all of the associated fees.

Scheduling with Prometric

Once you have received your NTS you will be able to contact Prometric to schedule a testing date. As we mentioned above, the validity of the NTS varies per state and jurisdiction, although the NTS of most is valid for 6 months. An NTS is only for a one-time use per section, which means that if you fail, you will need to book again. The good news is that test dates can be rescheduled. This may incur a fee, depending on how close to the test date you cancel. Cancelling does not change the NTS expiration date.

In order to register for a test date, you will need to:

  • Create an account with Prometric
  • Usually, states and jurisdictions that have citizenship or residency requirements will also stipulate that their candidates must take the exam within that state
  • Use Prometric’s Seat Availability Tool to book a test date
  • International applicants will also need to submit a copy of their international passport when they apply

Once you have booked a test date, you will receive a confirmation number. You will need to take this, as well as you NTS along with you to the Prometric testing center when you go to take your test. You can reschedule a test date by putting in your confirmation number and the first for characters of you last name into the online form.  If you reschedule a date within less than 30 business days, you will incur a fee. If you reschedule within 6-29 days before your scheduled date, the fee is $35.00. If between 5 days to 24 hours before hand, will be $84.84. If its less than 24 hours beforehand, then you cannot cancel, and all fees will be forfeited.