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CPA stands for the CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT, the American equivalent of the Indian Chartered Accountant qualification. One has to pass the uniform CPA examinations administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) to become a CPA. The CPA examination tests one's technical knowledge in auditing, law, taxation, management accounting and financial accounting.

Benefits of acquiring a CPA qualification and it's relevance in India.

CPA is the highest professional accounting qualification in U.S.A. and is recognized internationally, including India.
Job opportunities for CPA's exist all over the world.
CPA confirms knowledge of U.S. GAAP and GAAS
The Australian and Canadian Chartered Accountants have a reciprocal arrangement with AICPA, U.S.A.

American CPA's automatically qualify for membership in both Canadian and Australian Chartered Accountant societies

After liberalization, American companies like GE Capital, JP Morgan, Ford Motors, General Motors, Microsoft, Oracle, Coke, Pepsi have set up shop in India. They require professionals who have thorough knowledge of U.S GAAP.

Indian corporates like Infosys, ICICI, Wipro, Satyam, Reliance, HDFC Bank have issued ADR's in U.S.A. Due to the listing requirements of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC, U.S.A) these companies need to get their financial statements audited by CPA's Every quarter these companies have to send their financial statements to SEC. These financial statements have to be presented according to U.S GAAP, hence these companies require CPA's with thorough knowledge of U.S. GAAP.

Public Accounting firms in India like Pricewaterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young,
employ CPA's to do U.S. GAAS audit. All U.S companies as well as Indian companies listed in U.S have to get their financial statements audited by specialists who have thorough knowledge of U.S GAAS and U.S GAAP. A CPA designation confirms knowledge of U.S GAAP and U.S GAAS.

Eligibility

Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Members of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants in India.
Members of the Company Secretaries in India.
Master of Commerce
MBAs

Evaluation of foreign credentials

Every state in U.S.A has different rules regarding the eligibility of candidates appearing for the examination. Foreign candidates ( including Indian candidates) have to get their academic qualifications evaluated by an independent agency, suggested by the state board, to confirm that h/she is eligible to appear for the CPA examination

Indian Chartered Accountants are eligible to take the CPA exams from the state of Colorado without any foreign credential evaluation.

Subjects tested and pattern

SUBJECTS OBJECTIVE TYPE OTHER OBJECTIVE TYPE QUESTIONSESSAY
Business Law 50 - 60% 20 - 30% 20%
Auditing 50 - 60% 20 - 30% 20%
Taxation 50 - 60% 40 - 50% NIL
Financial Accounting 50 - 60% 20 - 30% 20%

CPA examination schedule

CPA examinations are held in U.S.A and one has to travel to the U.S.A. to write the CPA examinations
November 2003, is the last pen and pencil format of the CPA examination

From April 2004, the CPA examinations have gone online. From 2004 , Business Economics was introduced as a separate subject and the entire CPA examination format has been changed.