Topic: General Posts

Subject: CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed
Gail Weiss
Member: 2002
Posts:3
Submitted on 12-26-10 12:01 pm
Message:
The scenario on which I would like feedback is one where the applicant attained a CPA designation but over time did not keep up with the continuing education requirements but wants to include accounting positions in the current job search. This leads me to ask how to display the designation on the resume. Is it misleading to note CPA, or should the applicant qualify it, for example as CPA (inactive)?

 
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Replies
Gary Parkinson
Member: 2010
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 12-26-10 1:20 pm.
Message:
It may depend on where you are certified. New York has passed some new rules requiring you to be up to date on your CPE if you wish to use the CPA designation.
 
Tim Hamm
Member: 2009
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 12-26-10 7:29 pm.
Message:
In Virginia - unless you are active you are not allowed to use it at all in a resume. Consult your state board
 
Gail Weiss
Member: 2002
Posts: 3

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 12-28-10 7:53 am.
Message:
Thanks much. It confirms my thinking to say CPA (inactive) rather than CPA or nothing at all.
 
Jim Madson
Member: 2010
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 12-28-10 5:52 pm.
Message:
Gail,

I agree with the other writers. Many states now require a license in order to use the CPA designation, even on business cards. Thus, in North Carolina, I work in industry, have the my license and proudly display CPA after my name.
 
Jill Albitar
Member: 2010
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 12-29-10 3:11 pm.
Message:
Passing the CPA exam is an important milestone. While being careful not trample on State laws, I would find a way to include the accomplishment on the resume. Do not put CPA after the person's name but maybe place the appropriate information under education or other accomplishments. Information such as the state, license number and status could be displayed so that it is clear the accomplishment was met then lasped over time. You would have full disclosure. I was inactive for a period of time and have not regretted getting back to active status. Maybe that is the best solution. Best of Luck.
 
Bryce Jones
Member: 2009
Posts: 3

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-03-11 11:44 am.
Message:
That is exactly my thinking. I am not practicing public accounting but I value my CPA designation by keeping up on my CPE. California also requires an inactive CPA to say so, e.g. Bryce Jones, CPA (inactive).
 
Bob Zobel
Member: 2006
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-09-11 10:26 am.
Message:
As previously noted in other posts it definitely depends on the state in which you held an active license. In Florida you may not use the designation CPA unless you are active and even using the word "inactive" would be viewed as potentially misleading to anyone who did not know the difference. I have always felt that given what it took to get the CPA designation I never wanted to be in a position where my license was not active even though I left public accounting over 15 years ago, so I would agree that you should find out what it would take to reactivate and eleiminate the dilemma.
 
Stan Shattuck
Member: 2002
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-12-11 7:47 pm.
Message:
I have always used the CPA designation because the Commonwealth of Massachusetts board still licenses me. I usually mention I am an "industry CPA" which defines my career outside public accounting.
 
Ray Lindsay
Member: 2009
Posts: 4

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-13-11 7:58 am.
Message:
Of course every jurisdiction may have different rules, but as a historical fact, I don't think it would be in appropriate to list it as part of your professional background without including the "CPA" tag after your name:

Certified Public Accountant, State of Wherever, Licensed 1993-2005
 
Ray Lindsay
Member: 2009
Posts: 4

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-13-11 8:02 am.
Message:
Addendum: Your state association or society of CPAs may be better able to provide guidance on this issue.
 
Jon Brandl
Member: 2001
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-28-11 5:13 pm.
Message:
Below is an except from the MGLs...I would say, if you are not current with the CPEs, then you can not use the CPA designation in Mass since by definition, you do not hold a valid license

MGL 112 ch 87D, Para d,

Section 87D. (a) No person or firm not holding a valid license issued under section eighty-seven B or eighty-seven B1/2 shall issue a report on financial statements of any other person, firm, organization or governmental unit. This prohibition does not apply to an officer, partner or employee of any firm or organization affixing his signature to any statement or report in reference to the financial affairs of such firm or organization or subsidiary or franchisee of said organization with any wording designating the position, title or office that he holds therein; nor does it apply to any act of a public official or employee in the performance of his duties as such; nor does it apply to the performance by persons other than licensees of other services involving the use of accounting skills, including the preparation of tax returns, and the preparation of financial statements without the issuance of reports thereon.

[ Paragraph (a) as amended by 2010, 22, Sec. 19 effective July 1, 2010. See 2010, 22, Sec. 25. For text effective until July 1, 2010, see above.]

(a) No person or firm not holding a valid license issued under section eighty-seven B or eighty-seven B1/2 shall issue a report on financial statements of any other person, firm, organization or governmental unit. This prohibition does not apply to an officer, partner or employee of any firm or organization affixing his signature to any statement or report in reference to the financial affairs of such firm or organization or subsidiary or franchisee of said organization with any wording designating the position, title or office that he holds therein; nor does it apply to any act of a public official or employee in the performance of his duties as such; nor does it apply to the performance by persons other than licensees of other services involving the use of accounting skills, including the preparation of tax returns, and the preparation of financial statements without the issuance of reports thereon; nor shall it apply to an individual qualifying to engage in the practice of certified public accountancy pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (h) of section 87B.

(b) The prohibition contained in paragraph (a) is applicable to issuance, by a person or firm not holding a valid license, of a report using any form of language conventionally used by licensees with respect to a review of financial statements.

(c) The prohibition contained in paragraph (a) is applicable to issuance, by a person or firm not holding a valid license, of a report using any form of language conventionally used by licensees with respect to a compilation of financial statements.

[ Paragraphs (d) and (e) effective until July 1, 2010. For text effective July 1, 2010, see below.]

(d) No person not holding a valid certificate and a valid license shall use or assume the title or designation "certified public accountant'', or the abbreviation "CPA'' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such person is a certified public accountant.

(e) No firm shall assume or use the title or designation "certified public accountants'', or the abbreviation "CPA'', or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such firm is composed of certified public accountants, unless (1) the firm holds a valid license issued under section eighty-seven B1/2 and (2) all partners, officers, members and shareholders of the firm hold certificates and valid licenses.

[ Paragraphs (d) and (e) as amended by 2010, 22, Sec. 20 effective July 1, 2010. See 2010, 22, Sec. 25. For text effective until July 1, 2010, see above.]

(d) Any person who does not hold a valid certified public accountancy certificate and a valid certified public accountancy license shall not use or assume the title or designation "certified public accountant'', "public accountant'' or the abbreviations "CPA'' or "PA'' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card or device tending to indicate that such person is a certified public accountant or public accountant.
 
Jim Schwartz
Member: 1999
Posts: 21

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 01-28-11 8:25 pm.
Message:
I passed the exam in 1976 but never practiced nor worked in an accounting position or for an accountant. I was never licensed and gave up pursuit of CPE years ago. The only reference on my resume to this credential is the following entry under Education: "Successfully passed all parts of Certified Public Accountant examination."
 
Richard Archer
Member: 2009
Posts: 25

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 02-19-11 10:28 am.
Message:
Even for states that allow using CPA(inactive) associated with your name, some of them require you to pay a smaller fee for that status, just as a place holder in their files. If you don't pay the smaller fee for inactive status, your status changes to lapsed. Then, as I understand it, in those states you can't list the CPA designation. I agree with other posters that even if not practicing as a CPA, once you have it the best approach is to keep your CPE up-to-date and your permit active. Then, there is no problem. I'm saying this from a hard lessons learned point of view. After working in Asia for 6 years and never expecting to come back to the US, I did not file my CPE updates and keep my permit active, even though I was getting most of the CPE hours required. Now, I'm paying for it with additional hassles to get my CPE updated & accepted and my permit reactivated. I know other people working outside the US who have had the same experience and all regretted having not kept up the filings.

For CPAs in industry, not providing professional services as a CPA, some states have a reduced CPE requirement.

The approach I took during my recent job search was to state in the cover letter that I had previously passed the CPA exam and practiced as a CPA with the firm names included. I did not use the CPA designation attached to my name. Plus, I had the additional advantage of working as a sole practitioner earlier in my career and my name with the CPA designation attached was the legal registered name of my company. So, it shows up in my experience list and would be recognized by key word recognition software that screens resumes.
 
George Baccash
Member: 1998
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-11-12 7:33 am.
Message:
As everyone has said, requirements vary by state. I found this quick link to each state's requirements. Just click on your state for the link to that state's CPE requirements. Hope this helps.

http://ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-exam-requirements/
 
Dan Ianni
Member: 2012
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-12-12 1:03 pm.
Message:
I had let my VA CPA lapse. I felt it was important to get it reinstated. I needed to do 120 hours. I found an on-line AICPA product that was a couple hundred dollars that let me do unlimited hours. I quickly acquired the credits, and believe it or not, actually learned quite a bit. I was behind the curve in some areas, but now I feel that I am a better candidate for the education. The AICPA has a greatly reduced fee for "in transition" professionals. In this market, Metro DC, having a CPA or MBA is a must at the senior level.
 
Bill Shea
Member: 2006
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-13-12 8:16 am.
Message:
After 23 years of lapsed license I was relicensed in Mass this year by completing the Massachusetts relicensing requirements. I have always kept a small tax practice on the side while working in industry. With the changes in the tax preparation industry I decided to relicense instead of becoming a registered tax preparer with the IRS. The Massachusetts relicensing requirement of 160 hours over two years became 190 hours in one year as I became more and more interested in the changes in Public Accounting. For me it was well worth the exercise and expenditure.

As a job applicant over those twenty three years I did not use the CPA designation on my resume. As an applicant I wanted to avoid any question of my integrity. As a hiring manager I am always looking for something on a resume that does not pass the smell test either on paper or in person. Many was the time I was asked why I wasn't a CPA. After all I have nine years of Public experience on my resume. This opened a door which I was loath to walk through but the question had to be truthfully answered.

Without the license I was not a CPA.


William Shea, CPA
65 Barretts Hill Road
Hudson, NH 03051
508 320 2467 Cell
wjshea99@gmail.com
 
Dave Goldin
Member: 2003
Posts: 31

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-13-12 6:41 pm.
Message:
I have noticed a number of times position requirements that say "CPA with active license" and have been asked by recuriters if my license is active. So if your license is not active, having the title after your name seems to be a way to invite issues. Would anyone like to have CPA after your name, land an interview, and then have the person on the other side of the desk ask if it is active and have to say no? But I do think if you have passed the exam, no matter your current capacity, it should be on the resume.
 
Lori Brown
Member: 2003
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-16-12 8:38 am.
Message:
Each state has different requirements, but they are generally easy to find on that state's website. I have found relatively inexpensive online providers of CPE. It will probably require around 120 hours or so to reinstate the license, Make sure that you know the requirements and make sure that your chosen provider is recognized in your state. Florida has some very specific requirements about QAS and NASBA certified CPE providers. I don't know how other states handle this,
 
Neil Garefino
Member: 2004
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-18-12 12:43 pm.
Message:
I believe it is not only misleading but also illegal to use the designation "CPA" if you have not maintained your certification under the CPE requirements. However I believe you may be safe if you indicate "inactive". The rules on this may vary by state. I had to pay a fine for not completeing the necessary CPE requirements in the required time period due to a misunderstand of the credits awarded for "self study" cources!
 
Andy Dumaine
Member: 2003
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:CPA status but not kept up with continuing ed

Submitted on 10-19-12 4:08 pm.
Message:
I don't believe there is any official designation such as, "CPA - Inactive". From the profession's point of view I think you either are a CPA or you are not.

There are those in the hiring community that resent the term "inactive CPA" or anything like it. I recommend not travelling that route.

However, you could consider including "CPA" in the education section of the resume, but add the years in which you held a license. This will convey that you passed the exam, and maintained the license for a number of years, and let it lapse, all without inferring that you still hold a license.
 
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