The AICPA Uniform CPA exam is extremely difficult on its own, but added to this are the unique set of requirements stipulated by each state that must be met before you can qualify to write for their accountancy board. In order to make this process easier, we have compiled a detailed overview of the Iowa CPA requirements. This should prove helpful if you are planning to either sit for the CPA exam, transfer your existing credits or CPA license to Iowa, or to maintain your existing Iowa CPA license.

As these requirements are subject to change, we recommended confirming all information with the Iowa Accountancy Board to make sure you qualify, and to verify that the charges have not been updated since this piece was published.

Age

Iowa does not have any minimum age requirements to sit the CPA exam.

Residency

There are no residency requirements in the state of Iowa.

Citizenship

There are no US citizenship requirements in the state of Iowa.

Education

Iowa requires the applicant to have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a Board-recognized accrediting institution. Additionally, they must meet a 150-semester hour requirement. The following four types of degrees and educations are accepted:

  • A graduate degree with a concentration in accounting from a program that is recognized by the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board
  • Earned a graduate degree in business from a program that includes at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the intermediary or higher level, covering the subjects of:
    • Financial Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Management Accounting
    • *Not Including Internships or Life Experience
  • Earned a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting from a program that is accredited in business by a Board-recognized accrediting that includes at least 24 semester hours in accounting at an intermediary or higher level, covering the subjects of:
    • Financial Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Management Accounting
    • *Not Including Internships or Life Experience
  • Earned a bachelor’s or higher degree and completed the following minimum hours from an accredited institution recognized by the board that includes:
    • Accounting at intermediary or higher level, covering the subjects of:
      • Financial Accounting
      • Auditing
      • Taxation
      • Management Accounting
      • *Not Including Internships or Life Experience
    • Business (24 hours) – above the elementary level. Internships and life experience cannot count towards this.

Recognized accreditation bodies

The Board recognizes accreditations from four-year colleges or universities accredited by the North Central Accreditation Association (now known as the Higher learning Commission) or other regional accreditation association having equivalent standards, with a major in accounting, or that the applicant is a graduate in accountancy from a business or correspondence school accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Business Schools (ACBSP) or the accrediting commission of the National Home Study Council (now known as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission).

Non-recognized accreditation

Students who graduated from US-based institutions that were not accredited by a recognized institution must meet the following requirements:

  • Have your transcripts evaluated by the NIES or prove in another way that these credits would be acceptable by a college or university recognized by the Board
  • At least 18 of the required hours in accounting and at least 16 of the required hours in business–related subjects must be obtained in a college or university recognized by the Board
  • They must request that their educational institution send an official copy of their transcript directly to the Board

Other acceptable credits

  • Correspondence, CLEP, CPA Review and online courses are acceptable when they are accepted for accreditation at a regionally accredited US college or university. These courses must appear on an official transcript
  • Semester hours earned through a community college or two-year degree granting institution are also acceptable

Foreign Educations

Iowa allows for accountants who graduated from international institutions may apply to have their transcripts evaluated by NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES). If the international accreditations are found to be substantially equivalent, the applicant will be eligible to sit the CPA exam, provided that the work and ethics requirements are also met.

Work Experience

You will need one year’s worth of work experience, amounting to at least 2,000 hours during that time. This can also be done part-time over no more than three years. Employment experience can be gained from multiple employers, including internships. Those seeking qualification as an attest CPA will require two years of experience before they can apply for licensure.

If you plan on acquiring experience hours through teaching, then you will require a minimum of 24 semester hours of accounting courses for which the course participants receive credit on an official transcript in order for it to qualify.

Ethics

The Iowa Accountancy Board requires the candidate to take an ethics exam within two years of applying for your license. The board ONLY accepts the Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course. You will then need to take the AICPA Ethics exam and earn a score of at least 90%.

Background Check

  • Must be of good moral character
  • Submit official copies of transcripts from all issuing institutions. These must be posted or emailed directly from the Registrar’s office. If posted, it must be in an officially sealed, unopened envelope
  • Submit the Verification of Work Experience form or Attest Experience form
  • Submit fingerprints for criminal background check at the exam testing center
  • If international, submit your credentials evaluation to CPA Examination Services (CPAES.)

Fees

Initial Application Fee *cannot exceed $1,500.00$170.00
Auditing & Attestation (AUD) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Regulation (REG) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Registration fee (4 x $90.00)$360.00
Total$1,434.60

Fees are usually non-refundable, but it may be possible to claim a partial refund for license application fees under certain circumstances. Most exams can be rescheduled. 

Locations

Prometric Testing Centers

Practice Privilege for Out-of-State License Holders

A CPA who holds an out-of-state license recognized as equivalent to that of Iowa’s may practice in Iowa provided that they fulfill these requirements:

  • Holds a valid license to practice public accountancy in the state if issuance
  • The issuing state is their principal place of business
  • Pay the $100.00 permit fee

Reciprocal License Application

Iowa does recognize CPA licenses from states and jurisdictions considered to be substantially equivalent to Iowa’s CPA licensure. If a CPA wishes to establish their permanent place of business in Iowa, they will be required to apply for reciprocal licensure.

International License Reciprocity

Iowa currently recognizes the following international licenses as being substantially equivalent to that of the Iowa CPA license:

  • Canadian Chartered Accountant
  • Australian Chartered Accountant
  • Hong Kong CPA
  • Ireland Chartered Accountant
  • Mexico Contador
  • Público Certificado (CPC)
  • New Zealand Chartered Accountant
  • Scottish Chartered Accountant

These license holders are permitted to write the NASBA International Qualification Exam (IQEX) in lieu of the full CPA exam. Once passed, they will need to apply for Iowa licensure, providing proof of work experience and results form the AICPA Ethics exam mentioned above.

International License Endorsement:

Licensees not listed above will need to undergo the process listed above for foreign education holders. However, it should be noted that the Iowa Accountancy Board’s statutes are currently being updated and are planned for release in February 2022. Therefore, it is advisable to confirm if other jurisdictions have also been included after this date. These updates will likely reflect the licenses issued by institutions that form part of the NASBA Mutual Recognition (MRA).

NTS Validation Period

You will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) once your application has been accepted. You will have 6 months from the date of issuance in which to write your exam, or the NTS will expire. You will then need to reapply for the exam.

License Renewal Requirements

The Iowa Accountancy Board requires CPA license holders to renew their licenses every year by July 1st. However, the 120 continuing professional education (CPE) hour requirements will need to be met by December 31st every three years of the preceding year of the June 30th renewal date. In order to renew your license, you will need to meet the following Continued Professional Education (CPE) requirements:

  • 40 CE hours must be submitted by December 31st preceding June 30th of the first cycle
  • 4 hours of Ethics CPE courses annually

Renewal Fee: $100.00

License Reinstatement

A license holder who fails to renew their license by the expiration date will be allowed to renew their license within the 30 days following the date of expiration. If the expiration was later than that, the board will consider the reinstituting licenses on a per-case basis.

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

  • Pay the current renewal fee
  • Meet the 120 CPE hour requirements within the three years prior to the application
  • Provide a written statement detailing the applicant’s professional activities during the time of the license’s lapsing

Inactive license holders:

A license may be renewed as an inactive license if the licensee does not meet the CPE requirements listed above. However, they will need to pay the annual renewal inactive license fee of $50.00.

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

  • Pay the current renewal fee
  • Meet the 120 CPE hour requirements within the three years prior to the application
  • Provide a written statement detailing the applicant’s professional activities during the time of the license’s lapsing

State Board

Iowa Accountancy Board