How to become a CPA in India
A fun fact about CPA licensure: it’s valuable anywhere on the planet. Most CPAs take the CPA Exam and ultimately practice within the United States, but it can be a good idea to obtain your license internationally as well.
India is one such example. India has one of the largest economies in the world, and as it increasingly provides vital finance and accounting services to other countries, India clearly has a need for skilled CPAs. That need will only grow stronger as the years pass. CPA licensure gives you an opportunity to be in demand locally and globally.
At Becker, we have helped to build skilled accountants around the world for over 60 years. In this article, we will detail all the steps that go into taking the CPA Exam in India. After reading, you will be one step closer to becoming that trusted and expert accountant your client base will need.
What exactly does a CPA in India do?
It’s likely that you know this answer already, but in case you don’t, a CPA is an accounting professional who has earned CPA licensure from any of the 55 state accountancy boards in the United States. Each of these boards has the authority to grant you, an India-based accountant, with a CPA license once you apply for and ultimately pass the CPA Exam.
Thanks to this established and respected licensure, it is universally understood that a CPA possesses all the required knowledge a skilled accountant needs. This can include the analysis of financial statements, financial planning, tax preparation, internal auditing, income tax and many other specializations within accounting.
A CPA, to put it simply, is a master of accounting — a highly desired asset for any person or organization that needs help with complex accounting and finance tasks.
Taking the CPA Exam in India: a step-by-step guide
Step 1: Meet academic eligibility requirements
This first step is straightforward. Most state boards require candidates to have 120 credit hours in commerce, accounting or finance to sit for a CPA Exam section. Once you have achieved those 120 credit hours, you’re one vital step closer to sitting for the exam. To earn full CPA licensure, you'll need to meet what's referred to as the Four E's:
- Education: 120+ credit hours in commerce, accounting or finance.
- Experience: Specifics vary depending on your licensing state, but most state boards require a set number of years of experience in public accounting firms or work overseen by a CPA.
- Exam: All candidates must pass all four sections of the CPA Exam.
- Ethics: Most states also require candidates to take and pass an ethics exam.
Important note: Eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA Exam can be different from the requirements to earn CPA licensure. For example, most states require 120 credit hours to sit for the CPA Exam but 150 hours to earn your CPA license. It’s an important distinction that should be considered when you decide which U.S. state you will apply in. State-specific CPA Exam requirements can be found here.
Step 2: Apply!
With academic requirements taken care of, the ball is now in your court to decide which U.S. state board you will apply to. When applying, be sure to take into account exam and licensure fees. The cost of taking the CPA Exam will vary based on the licensing state, so be sure to look up CPA Exam fees by state. Here is a Becker breakdown of CPA Exam costs. There is a fee of $1,500 for sitting for the CPA Exam internationally.
Do keep in mind that CPA Exam changes take effect in 2024, so some costs may change as well.
Costs you should prepare for include an initial application fee, a fee to take the CPA Exam, a fee to take the ethics exam and study preparation to help you pass on exam day.
On that note, we move on to Step 3.
Step 3: Study for the exam with Becker CPA Exam Review
The CPA Exam is a notoriously difficult test that challenges even the strongest accounting minds in the world. According to recent data from the AICPA, cumulative CPA Exam pass rates for the calendar year 2022 were just over 60% across all four sections.
However, in 2020, Becker Exam Day Ready℠ students reported passing 94% of the CPA Exam sections they attempted. Exam Day Ready℠ students are those who prepared using Becker CPA Exam Review as their guide. This serves as solid proof that Becker is a go-to resource for preparing for and passing the CPA Exam and earning CPA licensure.
We work closely with designated partners in India who provide live training using Becker’s CPA Exam Review and methodology. Contact details of those partners and where they are located can be found on our International Partners page.
We’re here to help you prepare for the exam and you can also lean on your fellow Becker classmates as a support system leading up to exam day. Once you’ve enrolled in a Becker course, be sure to join our Facebook study groups to learn from your peers.
Step 4: Take the exam at a Prometric testing center
Prometric is a trusted and professional leader in test administration. Once you have applied for the CPA Exam in your chosen U.S. state and received approval, you can schedule your CPA Exam in India through Prometric. Learn more about how to prepare for exam day and the testing experience at Prometric on the Becker blog.
Step 5: Pass the CPA Exam
When the big day arrives, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Remember that you studied hard and are ready for whatever the exam puts in front of you.
After passing (congratulations in advance, by the way), be sure that you have met all your state’s requirements for CPA licensure. Start with the Four E’s we listed earlier and be sure nothing is missing.
Step 6: Apply for CPA licensure
You made it! Visit this NASBA page to find out how to obtain your CPA licensure after passing the CPA Exam.
Important note: Once you have your CPA license, continuing education is required to help ensure your accountancy skills grow as time passes and the industry evolves. Again, Becker can be a valuable resource for you and your Continuing Professional Education (CPE). Our CPE coursework is taught by practicing accountants, and it gives you additional critical information you need to build a long and lucrative career.
Good luck on this exciting journey!
If you have decided to become a CPA, you’re already on your way to a successful career in accounting. Please accept our early congratulations! Becker is here as your partner – both before and after exam day.
Ready to get started? Contact a Becker partner in India now.