Puerto Rico CPA Requirements (2023)

Puerto Rico
CPA Requirements

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Do you want to become a CPA in Puerto Rico? Take your first step by looking at the Puerto Rico CPA requirements. Puerto Rico has an economy driven by manufacturing, petrochemicals, and electronics, making it very competitive in Latin America. These economic reasons are enough to drive high demand for CPAs in every industry, and you can become one by fulfilling the territory’s CPA Exam and license requirements.


Residency or Citizenship


Mandatory Certificates (Good Conduct, Compliance, and PR CPA Society Membership)


Participates​ in International
Exam Program

Puerto Rico CPA Requirements

Puerto Rico has specific CPA requirements that each candidate must meet before sitting for the exam and applying for licensure. The Puerto Rico Board has set forth these requirements in close association with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Completing your education, passing the exam, and obtaining work experience are among the prerequisites to becoming a CPA in Puerto Rico.

Social Security Requirement Yes
Age, Citizenship, and Residency Requirements
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • U.S. citizenship is required
  • Must hold residency/business place
Good Moral Character Yes
Education Requirements for Licensure 150 semester hours (including B.A.)
Pass the Exam Score 75 in each section
Ethics Exam Requirements No
Work Experience 1 year (1,820 hours) of experience
International CPA Examination Program Yes

Educational Requirements

Puerto Rico CPA candidates who graduated after December 31, 1999, must complete a bachelor’s degree or higher with 150 semester hours and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in accounting and business courses. Of the 150 hours:

  • 32 hours must be in accounting subjects
  • 32 hours must be in general business subjects

Candidates who graduated before December 31, 1999, must meet one of the following:

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from an accredited college or university
  2. Complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least 58 semester hours (87 quarter hours) in business subjects, of which 32 semester hours (48 quarter hours) must be in accounting
  3. If you graduated from an accredited college or university, but did not meet the business course requirement in item 2, you may provide evidence of completing 8 years of public accounting experience

Pass the Exam

Passing the CPA Exam is mandatory for obtaining a CPA license. You must score at least 75 in each section within an 18-month period.

Work Experience Requirements

CPA candidates in Puerto Rico must obtain one year (1,820 hours) of full-time experience, or 3 years of part-time experience, in the areas of public accounting, industry/private practice, or academia. Your work experience must be verified by a CPA (no CPA supervision required).

CPA Ethical Exam Requirements

Puerto Rico CPA candidates do not need to take an ethics exam to apply for licensure. However, they must complete the following certification requirements:

  • Present a Certificate of Good Conduct from the Police Department
  • Provide a Certificate of Compliance with ASUME
  • Obtain a Certificate of Membership with the Puerto Rico CPA Society

The International CPA Examination Program

Puerto Rico participates in the International CPA Examination Program. Candidates who have completed their education outside of the U.S. can apply to become CPAs in Puerto Rico by having their academic credentials evaluated by NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). If your educational qualifications match the territory’s requirements, and you are a U.S. citizen, you can proceed to become a CPA in Puerto Rico.

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Puerto Rico CPA Requirements (1)

Puerto Rico CPA Exam & Licensing - Cost and Fees

Puerto Rico CPA candidates must pay an application fee and examination fee when applying for the CPA Exam. The initial application fee is $210, followed by a fee of $238.15 for each exam section. A re-application fee of $130 is in place to re-apply for the exam sections.

Puerto Rico CPA Exam Fees
Initial Application Fee $210.00
Auditing and Attestation (AUD) $238.15
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) $238.15
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) $238.15
Regulation (REG) $238.15
Total $1,162.60

After passing the CPA Exam and obtaining the relevant experience, Puerto Rico CPA candidates can apply for a CPA license in the territory by submitting an online application for a fee of $207.

License Renewal Requirements

Puerto Rico CPA license holders must renew their licenses every three years between August 1 and December 1. Licensees must submit an online application and renewal fee of $225 before December 1 of the year the license expires.

Continuing Education Requirements

Practicing CPAs in Puerto Rico must complete 120 total hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) every three years to qualify for license renewal. Of the 120 CPE hours:

  • 40 CPE hours must be in accounting, audit, and tax (12 in accounting and audit with 28 in tax, or 28 in accounting and audit with 12 in tax)
  • 3 CPE hours must be in professional ethics, with the course content based on the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct.

Visit NASBA’s website for additional Puerto Rico CPA CPE requirements.

Puerto Rico CPA Exam: Dates, Score Release, and Scheduling

CPA Examination Services (CPAES), a NASBA sub-division, administers the CPA Exam in Puerto Rico. The exam is held year-round, allowing candidates to sit for the exam based on their preferences. After fulfilling the Puerto Rico CPA Exam requirements, you can apply for and take the exam. As you schedule your exam, be aware of the CPA Exam score release dates announced biennially by the AICPA.

  1. Submit CPA Exam Application and Fees

    Puerto Rico CPA candidates can apply for the CPA Exam through CPA Central, NASBA's examination portal. Ensure that you enter all the required information and have your educational transcripts submitted to NASBA by your university.

  2. Obtain Authorization to Test (ATT)

    After applying, the board will check your qualifications and determine your eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam in Puerto Rico. If eligible, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) that confirms your eligibility.

  3. Receive Your Notice to Schedule (NTS)

    Upon receiving your ATT, you will be granted a Notice to Schedule (NTS). You will need to bring your NTS to the Prometric testing center when you take your exam.

  4. Schedule Your Exam With Prometric

    The CPA Exam is scheduled using Prometric, which requires you to enter your provided NTS number. The portal will display all the available dates and locations for the exam, and you may schedule your exam based on your preferences.

  5. Pass the CPA Exam

    Sitting for the CPA Exam doesn't mean you will become a CPA. You must pass all four CPA Exam sections with a score of 75 or higher within an 18-month period.

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Should you answer every question on the CPA exam? ›

Answer CPA Exam MCQs in consecutive order.

CPA Exam candidates should strive to answer each and every question. There are no points given for a wrong answer, but you also won't get any points for a question you didn't answer!

How do I get my CPA license in Puerto Rico? ›

Puerto Rico CPA Requirements
  1. Education. Baccalaureate degree is required 150 total semester hours 32 semester hours of accounting 32 semester hours of business. Additional semester hour requirements. ...
  2. Residency. US citizenship is required. Puerto Rico residency is required.
  3. Age. Minimum age: 21 Years Old.

How many questions do you have to get right on CPA exam? ›

Frequently Asked Questions. What is passing score for CPA exam? There are four sections to the CPA exam, and you must score a minimum of 75 (on a scale of 0 to 99) to pass in each.

Which part of the CPA exam is the hardest to pass? ›

Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) Often considered the most difficult exam, Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) has had the lowest passing scores of the four exams.

What are the odds of passing all CPA exams first try? ›

The overall pass rate for each section of the CPA exam hovers around 50%, but how many people manage to pass all four sections on the first try? About 20%. Around 1 in 2 people will pass a specific section of the exam, and about 1 in 5 people will pass each section on their first try.

How many people fail CPA Exam first time? ›

You've probably heard quite a bit of intimidating details about how hard it is — it's long, it requires hundreds of hours of study time, it's so difficult that the average CPA Exam passing rate for first-time candidates is only 50%.

Which state has the easiest CPA Exam? ›

Colorado's (CO) CPA exam requirements are possibly the most advantageous of all the states. It does not require 150 hours to sit. With no requirement to be a US Citizen, a resident of CO, or a certain age, it makes Colorado one of the easiest states to sit for the CPA exam and become licensed.

What percentage of questions do you need to pass CPA? ›

Each section of the exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 99. Candidates must get a score of 75 in order to pass a section. It's important to understand a 75 percent or a C+ grade is not equivalent to a passing score. You must achieve at least 75 points in order to pass.

Is the CPA harder than the bar? ›

Overall, however, the passing rates for the UBE average between 50% and 60%, a little higher than the CPA Exam. So, more Bar Exam candidates pass the Uniform Bar Exam vs. the CPA Exam.

What is the easiest CPA exam in the world? ›

What is the easiest part of the CPA exam? BEC has the highest pass rate and is considered the easiest CPA exam section.

How many people never pass CPA exam? ›

About half of the individuals who take the CPA Exam don't pass on their first attempt. According to the AICPA, the national average pass rate is 45-55%. Cumulative pass rates reported by the AICPA for the calendar year 2021 show that FAR had the lowest pass rate at 44.54% and BEC had the highest pass rate at 61.94%.

What is the easiest CPA exam to pass? ›

So, we know that BEC is widely considered to be the easiest CPA exam, but where are the other CPA exam sections in order of difficulty? After BEC, the next easiest CPA exam is Regulation (REG). At 60.7%, it has a similar pass rate to BEC (based on the most recent cumulative results).

How much does a CPA earn near Puerto Rico? ›

Cpa Salary in San Juan, PR
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$75,061$36
75th Percentile$61,445$30
25th Percentile$42,942$21

How much is the CPA exam in Puerto Rico? ›

Exam Fees. The cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in Puerto Rico is $743 plus the initial $210 application fee. The re-examination registration fee varies depending on the number of sections you are signing up for.

How much is a business license in Puerto Rico? ›

To register a DBA in Puerto Rico, submit a Trade Name Application to the Puerto Rico Department of State, along with the $150 filing fee.

Can the average person pass the CPA Exam? ›

The overall CPA Exam pass rates hover slightly below 50%. This makes passing the CPA Exam a difficult, but achievable, goal.

What happens when you pass all 4 CPA exams? ›

As soon as you know that you have passed all four parts of the CPA Exam you may apply for licensure; there is no need to wait for your pass letter. Is an ethics examination required? Yes. However, it is not necessary to take the ethics examination until you are prepared to apply for the CPA license.

What is the hardest subject in the CPA board exam? ›

According to the AICPA's published pass rates, the hardest part of the Uniform CPA exam is FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting).

Is the CPA the hardest exam? ›

The CPA exam is a four-part, in-depth assessment of proficiency in all requirements for public accountancy. It is considered one of the most challenging professional exams on the planet. When the national pass rate is roughly 50%, you know it can't be an easy exam. Hundreds of hours of study time will be necessary.

What happens if you don t pass all 4 CPA exams in 18 months? ›

If you do not pass all four sections within that 18-month period, you will lose credit for the first section of the exam passed. The credit status period then becomes based upon the credit expiration date of the next passed section.

Does the CPA exam get harder if you are doing well? ›

If a candidate performs well on the first testlet, he/ she will get a more difficult second testlet while those who do not perform well on the first testlet will receive a second medium difficulty testlet. This testing process is called multi-stage testing (MST).

What state has the highest CPA pass rate? ›

In 2019, the jurisdictions with the highest pass rates were: Utah (66.0%), Wisconsin (63.4%) and Iowa (62.2%). Performance metrics also indicate 83,017 candidates took the Examination in 2019 (of which 63,034 were new candidates) with 23,407 candidates passing their final section of the Examination.

Which state pays the most for CPA? ›

The top-paying industries for accountants include finance and insurance, management of companies and enterprises, tax preparation, and the government. The top-paying states/districts for accountants include Washington D.C., New York, New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts.

What is the hardest subject in accounting? ›

Tax Accounting: Usually some of the most difficult classes for an accounting major as they delve into the minutia of tax codes, though this knowledge is a major source of income for accounting graduates.

What is the pass rate for the CPA Exam 2023? ›

CMA Passing Rate Compared to Other Accounting Certification Exams. You might be surprised the learn that when compared to other accounting certification exams, the CMA pass rates are among the lowest, coming in at around 50%. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is similar, with a 54% pass rate.

Is a 75 a passing grade CPA Exam? ›

To pass a CPA Exam section, you must score a minimum of 75. Have you ever wondered how the AICPA calculates your CPA Exam section scores? Scores are reported on a scale that ranges from 0 to 99.

Is the CPA Exam curved? ›

The CPA Exam is NOT graded on a curve. Every candidate's score is entirely independent of those of other candidates. A traditional grading curves compare the candidates to each other and base the scores off of the total pool of test takers. However, the CPA Exam is a criterion-referenced examination.

What is the hardest professional exam to take? ›

Top 10 Hardest Exams in the World
  • Civil Services Exam (CSE)
  • GATE.
  • GRE.
  • Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.
  • ICAI CA Exams.
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)
  • Mensa International.
  • CFA.
Feb 17, 2023

How stressful is the CPA exam? ›

There is no denying that studying for the CPA Exam is an inherently stressful experience - stress and the CPA Exam can often go hand-in-hand. You can't completely eliminate that pre-exam anxiety, and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to do so because stress can be a motivator.

Is being a CPA stressful? ›

It can be a stressful job

As an accountant is responsible for a person's or company's finances, it can be stressful to handle all this sensitive and confidential information. Also, identifying minor discrepancies that can affect coworkers' jobs, can generate stress and anxiety.

How long does it take to pass all 4 CPA exams? ›

You must complete all the CPA exam sections within 18 months for successful licensure. An average CPA candidate requires 9-14 months to pass all the sections of the CPA Examination. However, this period may vary as per your familiarity with the material, acquired skills, and study time devoted.

Is CPA exam getting easier or harder? ›

The CPA Evolution Blueprint has moved some of the more difficult FAR topics (e.g., governmental accounting, derivatives, consolidation, etc.) into the BAR discipline track. Candidates waiting for 2024 to sit for FAR will have an exam that goes deeper into topics, but covers less difficult and advanced topics.

How is the CPA exam changing in 2024? ›

The 2024 CPA Exam will retain three of the four existing core sections — Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) — and add three new Discipline Exam sections: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and ...

Has anyone ever gotten a perfect CPA score? ›

Michael Kimble, CPA

Perfect score on Audit. Passed all sections on the first try with an average score of 96.5. Eligible for the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

Can you get a 100 on CPA? ›

CPA exam scores are evaluated on a scale of 0 to 99 and to pass you must get a minimum of 75 points in every exam section. However, the CPA Exam is not scored based on percentages.

What age do most people pass CPA exam? ›

I always encourage my friends/co-workers to pass it ASAP after graduating. Anyways, the President of my firm gave me a pamphlet last year with detailed info on the CPA (broken down by states too) and if I remember correctly, the average age was 29. It's at work somewhere in one of my filing cabinets.

Can I pass the CPA in 6 months? ›

We recommend candidates take between 9- to 12-months to complete the CPA Exam. However, we have had students successfully pass all four sections of the exam in just three months. The best advice is to consider all your professional and personal workloads, and then set realistic goals for yourself!

Is CFA or CPA harder? ›

The CPA certification is typically viewed as more difficult than the CFA because it covers a broader set of topics. The CPA exam broadly focuses on all aspects of accounting while the CFA exam solely focuses on finance. In the end, the difficulty of either exam depends largely on your knowledge and experience.

What is the lowest passing rate for the CPA board exam? ›

To recall, the CPALE passing rate in previous years are as follows: October 2018 – 25.18 percent; May 2019 – 16.46 percent; October 2019 – 14.32 percent; October 2021 – 15.28 percent; December 2021 – 21.87 percent; May 2022 – 22.29 percent; October 2022 – 25.84 percent.

Can you skip questions on the CPA Exam? ›

If I Don't Know an Answer When Taking the CPA Exam, Should I Guess Or Skip The Question? None of the questions in the CPA exam carry a penalty for an incorrect answer, so you shouldn't leave any questions blank.

Is it common to fail the CPA Exam? ›

Just know that you're not alone—the CPA Exam is hard. The CPA Exam has a pass rate of around 50%. So, though millions of candidates have passed the CPA Exam, many first faced failure along the way.

Do you have to pass all 4 parts of the CPA Exam? ›

You MUST pass all four CPA Exam parts to become a certified public accountant. Each examination section is graded on a scale of 0 to 99, using a rigorous scoring structure.

How many times can I fail CPA? ›

Your only restriction is waiting to receive your score from a previous attempt of the same section. Additionally, there is no limit as to the amount of times you may repeat a failed section. How do I gain credit for sections passed on the Uniform CPA Exam?

What is the easiest part of the CPA Exam to pass? ›

CPA Exam Written Communication Testlets

BEC is the only CPA exam section with WCTs. Some students find this makes the exam easier, but some do find WCTs to be harder than TBSs. Either way, BEC is considered the easiest part of the CPA exam because it has the highest pass rate.

How close is a 72 on CPA Exam? ›

The official line is that it means you haven't yet demonstrated to the AICPA knowledge sufficient to protect the best interest of the public as a CPA. The truth is its the same as a 52. You have to start from scratch as if you've never taken the exam before in your life.

Is CPA Exam getting harder? ›

Is the New CPA Exam Harder? I hate to be a downer, but yes it is. Candidates typically have more problems with the task-based simulation portion of the exam and now that portion is worth more and covers more topics. It will also require a different way of thinking.

Why do so many people fail CPA exams? ›

Studying Inefficiently (Or Studying the Wrong Material)

Effective studying requires putting in every ounce of effort to avoid deviating away from that study schedule — no matter how tempting external activities can be. Candidates who have disciplined study plans are more likely to pass the exam the first time around!

Is the CPA exam harder than the bar? ›

Overall, however, the passing rates for the UBE average between 50% and 60%, a little higher than the CPA Exam. So, more Bar Exam candidates pass the Uniform Bar Exam vs. the CPA Exam.

What is the hardest accounting class? ›

Tax Accounting: Usually some of the most difficult classes for an accounting major as they delve into the minutia of tax codes, though this knowledge is a major source of income for accounting graduates.

What happens if you don't pass all CPA exams in 18 months? ›

You have 18 months to pass the remaining three sections of the CPA Exam; if you do not pass them all, you'll lose credit for the first section you passed. This adds additional stress to every stage of your exam process.

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