Explain the work experience that is necessary for the purpose of obtaining a license (CPA certificate).

Depending on the timing, an applicant for a license may meet the work experience requirement for a CPA certificate (license) before, during, and/or after passing the CPA exam. The qualifying experience must have been obtained in the four years immediately preceding the application for the CPA certificate / license.

After a candidate has passed the CPA exam, the applicant must submit a license application along with written confirmation of one year of recent qualifying experience. One year of full time — or 2,000 hours of part time — qualifying work experience, obtained within the last four years, is the minimum. The overall time to qualify may in some cases be longer than a year because, as noted below, verifying supervision by an outside CPA may be intermittent. The experience can be satisfied in more than one employment positions, in public practice, industry or government, and can be satisfied inside and/or outside of Louisiana.

The nature of the applicant’s job duties, the complexity and diversity, are considered and must be confirmed by the employer(s). Part time hours must be fully documented by timesheets and/or payroll records.

The CPA may confirm the dates, job titles and description of the applicant’s experience with the employer — if this is appropriate to the employer organization. In any event, licensed CPA(s) must provide letter(s) to the applicant (addressed to the State Board) explaining and verifying accounting-related work experience with the application. (By “licensed” we mean a CPA who has an active right to practice in some state and is taking and reporting mandatory CPE to his/her state board.) Any period of time in which the CPA’s license has lapsed would typically not be counted by the Board.

With regard to verification, it may be received internally from a licensed CPA manager -– or — from an external CPA as follows:

If the applicant is or was an employee of an attest client (audit or review engagements) client of a CPA firm, after 4 successive audits or reviews in which the applicant participated in the engagement, the Board would generally deem this degree and extent of contact as “supervision”. Thus, in these cases, it may take 4 years (annual audits or reviews) to obtain sufficient contact. If other services occurred in which there was interaction with the applicant, these could be considered by the Board. And, other employment positions that qualify could be combined which could reduce the need for 4 successive audits/reviews.

If the CPA services to a client are other than an audit or review, the extent and nature of the licensed CPA and applicant’s working relationship during the period of otherwise qualifying experience should be documented in a confirmation letter from the licensed CPA for Board consideration. These are decided on a case by case basis. It is advisable that the applicant and/or the CPA track the amount of contact and the nature of the interaction, so that at the time of the application the relationship can be accurately documented and confirmed.

The employment and work experience letter(s) must be addressed to the State Board of CPAs of Louisiana, but the applicant should collect these and enclose the letter(s) with the application. The applicant may collect such letters in advance, as may be convenient, prior to being eligible to apply, but all experience must fall within the four year preceding the Board’s receipt of the CPA certificate (license) application.

You may review a CPA certificate application on our website (“Forms & Links” page). See the instructions for the type of information required. You may also refer to Chapter 9 of the Board’s rules for more information. (See Statute & Rules web page, download the pdf on the Board Rules and refer to Chapter 9.)