These are the requirements to either qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Montana or to acquire a Montana CPA license. Each state has its own set of CPA requirements but here we will solely be looking at the The Treasure State.

In addition to passing the CPA exam, which has a reputation for its difficulty, you must also meet the course credit, educational and work requirements.

In order to make this process easier for you to navigate, we have listed all of the relevant information below, as well as the contact information for the New Montana Board of Public Accountants. We recommended confirming all information with the board to ensure that you qualify, and that the charges have not been updated since this piece was published.

Age

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

Residency

There are no residency requirements for the state of Montana.

Citizenship

Montana does not require US citizenship to take the CPA exam.

Exam Educational Requirements

Montana CPA candidates require a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited four-year institution. They are also required to meet to have acquired at least 120 credit hours prior to sitting the exam.

These semester hours must include:

  • Accounting subjects (24 semester hours/ 36 quarter hours,) including courses in the following:
    • Financial accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Management accounting
  • Business subjects (24 semester hours/ 36 quarter hours)
    • These cannot be in accounting subjects

Accredited Institutions

The Montana Board of Public Accountants recognizes credits from an institution that has been granted accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB.)

Foreign Educations

Foreign students must have their credentials evaluated by NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES). If they are found to be substantially equivalent, they will be able to sit the CPA exam.

Work Experience

There is work requirement of one year’s experience of acceptable accounting and/or auditing experience before you will qualify for licensure. You can meet the work experience requirement either before or after taking the CPA exam, but it must be accumulated within three years of application for the license. One year of work experience equates to at least 2,000 hours of work. It can be fulfilled in the course of 1 – 3 years preceding application. Experience shall be considered intensive and diversified if experience is acquired in the areas of auditing or accounting skills. All experience must be attested to by a US CPA in good standing with a valid license, or an international license holder from an institution that forms part of NASBA’s MRA Agreements.

Ethics

The Montana Board of Public Accountants requires the candidate to take the AICPA self-study Professional Ethics: AICPA’s Comprehensive Course (For Licensure) and their corresponding exam. The applicant must achieve 90% or higher in order to apply for licensure. This can be done either before or after taking the CPA exam.

How to Apply for the Montana CPA Exam

  • Exam applications are done through NASBA’s CPA Examination Services (CPAES.) therefore, the applicant will need to set up an account with CPA Central
  • Request the Registrars of all schools to send your official transcripts to the NASBA either electronically to etranscript@nasba.org or physical copies to Montana Coordinator, CPA Examination Services, PO Box 198469, Nashville, Tennessee 37219-8469
  • Supply a full record of all current and inactive licensures from any state or jurisdiction
  • Submit the NIES evaluation, if applicable

Fees

Initial Application Fee$245.00
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 ($100 x 4)$400.00
Total$1,549.60

All fees are non-refundable, but the exams can be rescheduled.

Locations

Any Prometric Testing Center

How to Apply for the Montana CPA License

The initial Montana CPA license is processed by NASBA. When submitting their application for their initial license, the applicant must:

  • Have the sealed, official transcripts proving 150 semester hours of education directly from their accredited institutions sent to NASBA
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a board-approved institution
  • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA exam within an 18-month timespan and submit the results to the board
  • Submit an Experience Verification Form
  • Submit proof of passing the AICPA exam with a 90% score or higher
  • Pay the $150.00 fee

License Reciprocity

Interstate License Reciprocity

Montana recognizes interstate license reciprocity on condition that the following requirements are met:

  • Their license is considered to be substantially equivalent to that of Montana’s
  • The license is valid and in good standing with issuing board
  • Meet the education, ethics and work experience requirements of Montana
  • Submit the application form
  • Paying the $200.00 reciprocal license fee

Practice Privilege

An out-of-state CPA license holder or holder of a foreign license of substantial equivalence according to NASBA’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) whose principal pace of business is not in Montana can apply for practice privilege in Montana without requiring a Montana CPA license on condition that:

  • Their license is valid and in good standing with the issuing Board
  • Montana is not their primary place of work
  • They meet the educational, ethics and experience requirements of Montana
  • Practice privilege will be lost as soon as the CPA license expires in the issuing state

International License Reciprocity

Montana recognizes NASBA’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) and will allow license holders who were licensed by them to sit NASBA’s International Qualification Exam (IQEX) in lieu of the full CPA exam. Once passed, they will also need to meet the other educational, ethics and experience requirements before they can apply for license.

The institutions that form part of the MRA are:

Other foreign license holders

License holders from non-equivalency jurisdictions will need to have their credentials evaluated as per the ‘foreign educations’ section above. If approved, they will then need to sit the full four-part CPA exam.

NTS Validation Period

After your application is accepted and you have paid the exam fee, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS.) You will then have 6 months in which to schedule the exam, or the NTS will expire. You will then need to pay the fee again. Therefore, make sure that you are able to take the exams within that time frame before registering.

License Renewal Requirements

Active License Holders

Montana CPA license holders are required to renew their licenses annually by December 31st by 23:59. However, they are required to earn 120 of Continued Professional Education (CPE) on a triennial basis by December 31st. Three of these CPE hours must come from Ethics courses.

Renewal applicants must submit:

Inactive License Holders

A license holder can register to have their license made inactive. They will then be exempt from meeting the CPE requirements, but will still need to pay the annual inactive license fee of $75.00 (late fee of $150.00). They may neither practice as nor use the CPA title while listed as inactive.

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

  • Complete the 120 CPE credit requirement mentioned above
  • Meet the 2 hours of Ethics CPE listed above
  • Pay the $150.00 license fee
  • Submit the license reactivation fee

Recognized CPE

  • Lecture credit may be claimed once per course at a rate of 2 CPE hours per course class length
  • College course credits shall be awarded as follows:
    • 15 credits of CPE credit for each semester or trimester credit earned or 10 credits of CPE credit for each credit earned in a quarter
    • Noncredit courses shall be awarded CPE at the rate of one credit for every 50 minutes of in-class participation
  • Self-study courses are calculated on a 50- minute hour and should preferable be on the list of NASBA National Registry of CPE sponsors
  • Non-resident Montana license holders may be exempt from CPE requirements on condition that they meet those of their current state or jurisdiction of practice. However, if that state has no requirements, the license holder will need to meet those of Montana.

State Board

Montana Board of Public Accountants