PICPA - CPA Licensing Questions


CPA Licensing Questions

Q: What is the difference between the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs and the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy?
A: The PICPA is a membership association for CPAs that preserves the legacy and propels the integrity of the CPA profession and provides CPE and advocacy for its members, whereas the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy is the licensing authority that regulates the practice of, and requirements for, CPAs. PICPA leadership attends State Board of Accountancy meetings and advocates on behalf of its members for policy changes on matters of CPE, licensing, etc. as needed.

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Q: How do I contact the State Board of Accountancy?
A: You can contact the State Board at the following address:

Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649

You can also contact the State Board via phone at (717) 783-1404; fax at (717) 705-5540; or e-mail at ST-ACCOUNTANCY@state.pa.us. You can also visit the State Board's Web site.

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Q: What experience do I need to receive my CPA Certificate?
Candidates are required to complete one year (1600 hours) of work experience through employment in government, industry, academia, or public practice within five years of the date you apply for your license. 

Conditional candidates who passed at least one part of the exam before Dec. 31, 2011 have two options: 

  • 120 Credit Hours and two years (3200 hours) work experience
  • 150 Credit Hours and one year (1600 hour) work experience

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Q: How long do I have to complete my work experience requirement?
A: Prior to Jan. 1, 2012 – Individuals taking the CPA Exam for the first time before Dec. 31, 2011, must complete their work experience within 10 years (120 months) of application for the CPA certificate. Effective Jan. 1, 2012 – All CPA candidates must have completed their one year work experience requirement within five years (60 months) of the date of application. 

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Q: Where can I get CPA certification applications?
A: Certificate applications can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy Web site.

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Q: How do I renew my CPA license?
A: Licenses expire December 31 of every odd-numbered year. The State Board mails renewal notices two to three months prior to the license expiration date. The cost for renewal is $100.

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Q: If my CPA license is inactive, can I still be a member of the PICPA?
A: Yes. Unlike other associations, there are no professional education requirements for membership with the PICPA. Your membership is voluntary. Whether your CPA license is active or inactive, your membership with the PICPA is unaffected.

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Q: How do I place my license on inactive status?
A: To request inactive status because you no longer practice public accounting, you may do so through the online renewal after receiving the licenese renewal notice in November of odd-numbered years.

If you want to place a license on inactive status while the license is current, you must return the biennial registration and wallet card with a written request for inactive status to the State Board at the following address:

Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy
PO Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649

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Q: How do I reactivate my inactive Pennsylvania CPA license?
A: You may reactivate your license by contacting the State Board of Accountancy and requesting a reactivation application.

You will be required to complete a reactivation application, complete the CPE reporting form, provide verification of completion of professional education courses, and then pay the renewal and reactivation fees.

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Q: My CPA license is on inactive status. Am I permitted to use the CPA designation after my name?
A: Yes, but you must include the word "inactive" immediately adjacent to the CPA designation. For more details on these stipulations contact the State Board of Accountancy at (717) 783-1404.

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Q: I have passed the CPA Exam in a state other than Pennsylvania. How do I obtain a reciprocal license to practice public accounting?
A: Please contact the State Board of Accountancy.

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Q: What are the professional education requirements to maintain an active CPA license in Pennsylvania?
A: CPAs are required to complete 80 hours of continuing education, including 16 in A&A, eight in tax, and four in ethics, in programs approved by the State Board. The reporting period for licensees shall be Jan. 1 of even-numbered years to Dec. 31 of odd-numbered years. A minimum of 20 credit hours shall be taken each year.

For more details on professional education requirements and program sponsor responsibilities, review the regulations of the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy.

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Q: Is the PICPA an approved sponsor of CPE programs as required by the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy?
A: Yes, our sponsor number is PX000490L.

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Q: How do I determine licensing and registration requirements when I serve clients across multiple states?

A: The AICPA and NASB have develped an online interactive tool to assist CPAs in navigating mobility laws across the country. You can find this at www.cpamobility.org.

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To request a hard copy, submit the online order form.


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