Hawaii is one of the few states that allows you to take the exam before you have actually graduated from college. As long as you are within 120 days of graduating with a bachelor’s degree with the approved course selection, you are eligible to sit for the exam. The test can even be taken by non-accounting majors.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.
Hawaii CPA Exam Requirements
In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Hawaii, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.
- Must be at least 18 years old
- You must be a US citizen
- Not required to be a HI resident
- Valid Social Security Number required
- HI does participate in the International Examination Program
Educational Requirements to Sit
In order to be eligible to sit for the HI CPA exam, you must meet the minimum requirement options. You can either graduate with a bachelor’s degree or be close to it. Here are your options.
Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting (120 credit hours) including:
- 24 credit hours in upper-level Accounting classes including financial accounting, auditing, and taxation.
Bachelor’s Degree in a Non-Accounting Subject (120 credit hours) including:
- 18 credit hours in upper-level Accounting classes including financial accounting, auditing, and taxation.
Be 120 days away from meeting the minimum qualifications.
This last option is a great opportunity for current college seniors to try to take one section before they are even done with school. Trust me. After you get your first job, life can get kind of hectic. Take advantage of this!
The total cost to take the CPA exam in Hawaii is $874.08 including an initial one-time $145 application fee. The cost for each section is listed below.
|AUD – Audit||$192.03|
|FAR – Financial Accounting and Reporting||$192.03|
|BEC – Business Environment and Concepts||$172.51|
|REG – Regulation||$172.51|
The fees are typically based on the duration of the exam. That’s why the FAR and AUD exams cost the most.
IMPORTANT – Don’t go all out and register for all the sections at once. Your NIT or notice to sit is only valid for six months. After that, it will expire and you will have to re-register. Re-registration application fees are $75 for one section and vary depending on how many your sign up for at once, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.
Here is the breakdown for the registration fees you will have to pay. As you can see, registering more exams at once will save you some money.
- 1 section $75.00
- 2 sections $90.00
- 3 sections $105.00
- 4 sections $120.00
CPA License Requirements
Taking the exam is only the first step in becoming a CPA in the state of Hawaii. After you sit for the big test, there are a few administrative things you must do before you can truly call yourself a Certified Public Accountant. Here is the basic process.
Pass the Exam
You’ll have to pass all four sections of the exam with a score of at least 75 in an 18-month period.
Submit all the required paperwork to the state board usually includes transcripts, license application, and proof of work experience.
Pay the applicable license fees with your application.
There is no Ethics Exam requirement, but you do have to take at least 4 hours of Ethics related CPE.
150 credit hours must be completed including:
- 24 credit hours of upper level Accounting courses
- 24 credit hours of General Business courses
Work Experience Requirements
Unlike many states, Hawaii has two ways to gain your work experience. One of them is based on billable hours. In other words, you might work for an entire year, but if you aren’t billable or working on billable work it doesn’t count. Here are the two ways to reach your work experience requirements.
1,500 billable hours performing audit procedures in a public accounting firm under the supervision of a current CPA
2-years of experience working in Governmental Accounting, Private Industry, or Teaching. They go on to say that the duties of these positions should be similar to what you would perform in a public accounting firm.
Either one of these options is acceptable to get your license.
More Exam Resources and Information
The entire process of applying, taking the exam, and sending your paperwork can be quite an involved, especially if you attended more than one college. Since you have to show proof of your education, you’ll have to send in transcripts from every college you’ve attended. This can be a pain.
This entire process can be kind of confusing, especially because you rarely get feedback from the state board. I think it’s important to contact the state board directly to see what they already have on file and more importantly what they need to complete your application. For example, sometimes your test scores aren’t received by the state even if you requested a copy be sent to them in your exam application process. They will rarely contact you and say something is missing. It’s a good idea to contact them directly to confirm they have everything they need.
Here is the contact info for the state board.
- Dept. of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 3469
- 335 Merchant Street (96813)
- Honolulu, HI 96801-3469
- Phone: 808-586-3000
- Fax: 808-586-2689
Time to Get Busy!
OK. So you have all the information to get signed up for the exam. Now you need to find a study guide that will work for you. Depending on how you learn, your overall time frame goals, and budget, picking the right CPA review course can be tricky. Don’t waste any time though. Jump into it right away.
Generally, state boards take anywhere from one to three months to review and approve your application. You can spend this time to choose your first CPA exam section and study to pass the CPA exam your first try.