Rhode Island CPA requirements

This page serves as a resource for your state's CPA licensure requirements and is current as of December 2019. Always consult with your state or jurisdiction's board of accountancy for the most current information.

Degree requirement
bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university

Minimum education requirement
150 semester hours including:
24 semester hours in accounting

  • 6 semester hours in both fundamental accounting and intermediate financial accounting and reporting
  • 3 semester hours in each of the following: advanced financial accounting and reporting, tax accounting and auditing

24 semester hours in business courses (other than accounting courses)

  • must include 3 semester hours in both business law and economics

Minimum experience requirement
One year (minimum of 1,820 hours) experience required.

The applicant shall demonstrate to the Board that he or she has obtained a portfolio of experience consisting of providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills all of which was verified and supervised by a licensee, meeting the requirements of these regulations. Such portfolio of experience obtained in the following categories, or in any combination thereof, shall be acceptable:

  • Public practice. Experience may be gained through employment as a staff accountant of a firm of certified public accountants or a firm of public accountants where such experience is of a non-routine accounting nature that continually requires independent thought and judgment on important accounting matters. The work must involve application of appropriate technical and behavioral standards such as the standards contained in the Code of Professional Conduct, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements, Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services, the Statement on Standards for Tax Services, or the Statements on Standards for Management Consulting Services (the “Professional Standards”).
  • Government. Experience may be gained through employment with accounting agencies or groups within federal, state or municipal government where such experience is of a non-routine accounting nature that continually requires independent thought and judgment on important accounting matters. The applicant shall obtain experience in assessing the adequacy of the accounting agency or group’s internal controls by developing an understanding of the accounting agency or group’s transaction streams and information systems. Such experience will be under the supervision of a licensed CPA and include obtaining an understanding of the areas and/or industries with which the applicant’s agency operates, including the operations of similar service providers. The Board will review on a case-by-case basis experience that does not clearly meet the criteria identified in §§ 1.5.2(A)(2)(a) through (e) of this Part below. Acceptable government work experience includes:
    • Employment in state government as an accountant or auditor
    • Employment in federal government as an accountant or auditor at a GS-7 level or above;
    • Employment as a special agent accountant with the Federal Bureau of Investigations;
    • Military service, as an accountant or auditor; and
    • Employment with other governmental entities as an accountant or auditor
  • Industry. Experience may be gained in industry where such experience is of a non-routine accounting nature that continually requires independent thought and judgment on important accounting matters. The applicant shall obtain experience in assessing the adequacy of the employer’s internal controls by developing an understanding of the employer’s transaction streams and information systems. The applicant shall also obtain experience in tax return preparation and research, preparation and analysis of financial statements, cost accounting, budgeting and the application of accounting principles. Such experience will include obtaining an understanding of the industry in which the applicant’s employer operates, including the employer’s competition and key competitiveness factors that affect the industry. Professional services performed under this category include any services offered in the course of the practice of public accountancy, even though such services are not offered to the public.
  • Education. Experience may be gained as an instructor at a college or university which has gained accreditation from an accrediting agency which is recognized by the United States Secretary of Education where evidence is presented showing independent thought and judgment was used on non-routine accounting matters. Only the teaching of upper division courses as approved by the Board will be considered. 

The applicant shall also show to the satisfaction of the Board that experience obtained has included all of the following:

  • Understanding of the Code of Professional Conduct promulgated and adopted by the Board of Accountancy as demonstrated by a grade of 90 or above in the Professional Ethics, the AICPA’s Comprehensive Course;
  • Ability to assess the achievement of an entity’s objectives by demonstrating knowledge of various business organizations, understanding of the objectives and goals of business entities, ability to develop and analyze performance measures and critical success factors, and understanding of the economic and regulatory trends that affect an entity’s environment;
  • Experience in preparing work papers that include sufficient relevant data to support the analysis and conclusions required by the applicant’s work
  • Experience in the preparation and analysis of financial statements together with explanations and notes thereon;
  • Understanding transaction streams and information systems, including the ability to understand how individual transactions aggregate at the organizational level, to infer how transactions impact the organization as a whole, and to evaluate the integrity and reliability of various client information systems, including relevant computer aspects.

An applicant who has not achieved experience of the variety and diversity set forth above shall bear the burden that the experience submitted is of sufficient quality and diversity that it fulfills the entry requirement objective as set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-3.1-5(a)(5).

The experience required under R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-3.1-5(a)(5) shall consist solely of experience within activities generally performed by a licensee.

Residency requirement
Candidate must be a resident of Rhode Island, be regularly employed in Rhode Island or have a place of business in Rhode Island.

Ethics exam
Understanding of the Code of Professional Conduct promulgated and adopted by the Board of Accountancy as demonstrated by a grade of 90 or above in the Professional Ethics, the AICPA’s Comprehensive Course.

Renewals
Every 3 years; January 1 - December 31

CPE
120 CPE hours required per three-year reporting period.

The maximum credit for self-study programs shall not exceed 80 CPE hours for that three-year reporting period.

Subjects allowed:

  • accounting and auditing (accounting, governmental accounting, auditing, and governmental auditing)
  • technical business subjects, which includes:
    • consulting services (administrative practice and the social environment of business)
    • management (business law, finance, management advisory services)
    • specialized knowledge and applications (computer science, economics, mathematics, production, specialized knowledge and applications and statistics)
  • taxes
  • personal development and marketing (communications, business management and organization, personal development, personnel/human resources and marketing)
  • ethics (behavioral ethics and regulatory ethics)

Sources:

Residency, degree, education, fees

Education, experience, CPE, renewals