Colorado CPA requirements

Wondering how to become a Colorado CPA? The first thing you’ll want to do on the road to becoming an accountant in Colorado is to check the Colorado CPA requirements, as the Colorado board will ultimately license you. This page serves as a resource for how to become a CPA in Colorado and is current as of June 2021. Always consult with your state or jurisdiction's board of accountancy for the most current information.

Colorado CPA Exam

Getting a CPA in each state mandates different requirements for taking the CPA Exam and becoming a licensed CPA. In order to be eligible to take the CPA Exam in Colorado, the state requires candidates to meet certain education requirements.

Colorado CPA Exam requirements - Education

In order to take the CPA Exam in Colorado, you must meet a set of education requirements. First, you need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. You must also have 150 semester units in designated course subjects.

Semester unit requirements
Becoming a Colorado CPA requires 150 semester hours in various subject areas, including:

  • 33 semester units in accounting coursework with a grade of C or better including 27  semester hours of accounting courses at the upper level covering:
    • Accounting ethics
    • Accounting information systems
    • Accounting research and analysis
    • Accounting theory
    • Auditing and attestation services
    • Financial accounting and reporting of business organizations
    • Financial accounting and reporting for government and nonprofit entities
    • Financial statement analysis
    • Fraud examination
    • Internal controls and risk assessment
    • Managerial or cost accounting
    • Taxation
    • Tax research and analysis
    • Other areas as approved by the board

Of the 27 hours listed above, a total of 6 semester hours must be in auditing and must include a 3 semester hour (or more) course concentrating on US GAAS. The remaining semester hours may be in advanced auditing or a subset of basic auditing such as fraud or information technology auditing.

The 27 hours listed above must also include a 3 semester hour (or more) course concentrating on accounting or business ethics.

The 27 hours required above must also include a 3 semester hour, or more, course concentrating on accounting or business ethics. The course content should include the following: the ethical responsibilities of accountants, both personal and professional; ethical dilemmas facing accountants; ethical theory; the various accounting codes of conduct and ethical guidance for accountants; and the application of ethical theory, codes of conduct, and professional standards. Courses focusing on general or business ethics will not be counted toward this requirement.

  • 27 semester units in coursework in business administration such as:
    • Behavior of organizations, groups or person
    • Business communication
    • Business ethic
    • Business law
    • Computer information system
    • Economic
    • Finance
    • Legal and social environment of business
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Quantitative applications in business
    • Statistics
    • Other areas approved by the board

Of the 27 semester hours listed above, no more than 9 semester hours can be in any single subject area, but semester hours in excess of the 9-hour maximum may count toward the total 150 semester hour requirement.

All coursework must address subject areas as provided above, but the coursework need not be taken within the business or accounting department.

Colorado CPA license requirements

In order to earn a certified public accountant license in Colorado, you must meet the following requirements.

Colorado CPA work experience requirements

Colorado requires all applicants to complete 12 months of general accounting experience providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attestation, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills.

In addition to the Colorado CPA requirements for work experience, Colorado also requires: 

  • You need a Social Security number. If you are not a United States citizen, you'll need a Social Security Number Affidavit that affirms that you are applying for an accountancy license in Colorado. 
  • You must complete and pass the AICPA ethics exam.

CPA license renewals

Colorado requires CPA license renewals every two years. CPA licenses expire every other year at midnight on the last day of the licensees’ birth month.

Colorado CPA CPE requirements

The Colorado CPA continuing professional education requirements demand 80 hours of CPE for each licensing period.

Licensees who provide audit, review, other attestation services or who issue compiled financial statement reports must, during the two-year license renewal period, complete a minimum of 24 hours of qualifying continuing education in the area of accounting and auditing related to reporting on financial statements.

Fees

Initial Application

$250

Hard-copy fingerprint process

$49

Biennial license renewal

$120

Application for retired status

$75

Retired-to-active status

$50

Sources:

Colorado Board of Accountancy - Rules and Regulations

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