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US CPA - an introduction - raheelcpa - 01-07-2010

Hello everyone.

I came across this forum as part of my research into the accountancy field in Pakistan and Middle East (specifically UAE). So i thought i'd join and introduce myself and post some items of interest to those entering the field.

I am a CPA in USA (Illinois), and have had the certification since 1996. I moved to USA in 1990, and by the grace of Allah i have built a successful business in the last decade.

One of the general feelings i got from some of the posts here is that there's a lot of 'alphabets' mentioned, which makes it somewhat confusing to follow the logic sometimes.

I hope to contribute as well as i can here. I also aim to provide targeted content on a new site ( - to be added at some point in the future). However, i enjoy the accounting profession and hope to mentor those who seek more knowledge in this tough yet rewarding field.

I look forward to talking to some of you soon.

Thank you and have a great day.

Raheel S

- shani420 - 01-07-2010

Hi Raheel,
I was searching someone to help me regarding US CPA.I want to how many credit hours would be awarded to ACCA(uk) if one gets it evaluated from US educational authority.I have heard that it is 126 credit hours.Is it true?
Plz search it out if u urself have no clue.Regards.

- Toronto_Boy - 01-08-2010

Hi raheelcpa

Welcome aboard. We are looking forward for learning opportunities from you.


- raheelcpa - 01-08-2010


Each state in USA has its own accountancy board, and so there is not a single answer to this credit evaluation process.

However, what is true everywhere is a bachelor's degree (4 years - 120 credits), of which 20% of courses have to be in accounting. This is the base. Some states (such as Illinois) then need a Master's degree in addition so that you get more accounting related courses.

My thought is that ACCA may provide you with exemptions from quite a few accounting-related courses which form part of the bachelor's and master's degree there. I do not believe there is any set amount of credits you get.

This is also the case because there is no recognition of CPA (US) in UK.. and so American does not give any automatic exemptions to non-US accountancy credentials.

The simplest example is that a CPA from USA only gets exemtions in Pakistan and UK on a very limited case-by-case basis.

- shani420 - 01-08-2010

Thanks Raheel for ur reply.I visited wikipedia's ACCA article and it stated that WES awards 126 credit hours to ACCA.
1Now tell me whether top up degree also get credit hours e.g a 3 years Bsc hons or a 4 years BBA hons?
2 Would it be worth moving to US in current scenario of recession or Australia is better?
3what r passing marks in CPA?
4Scope wise which one to prefer in US CFA OR CPA.

- raheelcpa - 01-09-2010


I will be making a thread about possible moves to USA.. but to answer your questions briefly here

1- The ACCA credits from WES is not going to be acceptable to most accountancy boards in USA. That's because they do their own evaluations.. for example in Illinois, they will do a 150-hour evaluation on their own. Bottom line is, i will not put much faith on the wikipedia information. The state where you want to practice is the best place to ask. The illinois board's requirements are here as an example http//

2- I am biased, but there's not a better market to move than USA.. and i have been all around the world in all these years.

3- 70% needed for 4 exams.. very tough to pass.. only about 15% of examinees pass all section on first attempt.

4- CPA's make the most money in USA accounting market.. those in taxes and audit make a lot. CFA's work mostly for banks and find it tough to start their own companies.

- shani420 - 01-10-2010

Dear Raheel,
Thanks for ur reply.Now plz tell me about inter state mobility of CPA's specially with reference to 150 and 120 hour states.

- maqszaman - 01-19-2010

Hi Raheel,

Truly welcome on the forum. We definitely would like to acquire knowledge from you during the course of conversation. I have a few questions regarding your thread. Isn't true that ICAEW has a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that CPA with five years accounting experience get membership automatically as disclosed on their website. Here is the link


Could you please clarify?


- Toronto_Boy - 01-20-2010

Dear maqszaman

Good development for CPAs (AICPA), but I don't think its an MRA between ICAEW and AICPA. Simply speaking, ICAEW has opened the doors for CPAs (AICPA). So far, I haven't seen any such provision by AICPA for ICAEW members to get CPA. It seems to be one way provision so far.

Please keep us informed if you are aware of any such provision by AICPA for ICAEW members.


- maqszaman - 01-20-2010

Hi Toronto Boy,

I checked AICPA website to see if there is anything for ICAEW but I could not find. So it looks that it is not an MRA.


- raheelcpa - 02-01-2010


I have realized that in UK, all professional qualifications can be transferred from outside (lawyers, accountants, etc).. but they make it VERY tough to prove your credentials.

So, yes an American CPA can get the ICAEW membership (and AICPA does not have to agree, cos you are going to UK, not the other way around). But to do that, a sponsor needs to verify your 3-5 year actual working experience. AND that sponsor has to be a ICAEW member or qualified otherwise.

On top of that, if you get membership through this route, you still cannot sign an audit report in UK.

So yes it is true, but tough to achieve.

- Dard - 02-01-2010

Welcome to the forum Raheelcpa. Do you happen to be a Pakistani by ethnicity? If yes then how do the Americans treat Pakistanis over there? Harsh, discrimination, racism?

- raheelcpa - 02-01-2010


i AM a proud Pakistani in America (have been here for 20 years.. am a US citizen). In addition to being a CPA, i am also going to soon be a lawyer here.

I was in Karachi about 2 weeks ago on vacation.. and so had a similar discussion with cousins etc (about discrimination)..

My honest belief is that here it all depends on your skills and education.. for those who make an effort here to get educated and contribute to society, the discrimination goes down a LOT.. in fact, most of the top doctors in USA are Pakistani (even CEO's of major hospitals etc). Some of the biggest IT companies have Pakistani people in their management..

So my belief is that yes there is discrimination everywhere in the world against someone.. (just see our opwn country, don't you think we discriminate against a whole bunch of people?).. but education and skills in USA make other people realize that you are a smart person, and so their own bias remains hidden or disappears.

Nothing is crystal clear obviously, but i personally have not faced any situation where i could not excel in what i wanted to do here.

- nomanchaudhry - 02-25-2010

Dear Raheel

I am interested in appearing for the CPA exam. I am ACMA- Finalist (1 Paper Remaining) from the Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP). In addition, I am an Associate Public Accountant (APA) from Pakistan Institute of Public Finance Accountants but my APA qualification is based on exemptions obtained on account of papers cleared from ICMAP therefore I don’t have transcripts but just the certificate. They also provide a letter stating that based on my existing qualification I meet the passing criteria of all their papers and hence exemption is granted.

Based on the above, I have two queries

1. Am I eligible to appear in the CPA exam from either Michigan or Delaware state?
2. Is it possible to send just the certificate of my APA qualification along with syllabus to the evaluator. Is it acceptable or do I need to send some other paperwork as well?

Noman A. Chaudhry

- Greatkhans - 02-26-2010

Hi Noman,

I might not be very well aware of recent development regarding CPA USA but I would like to share what information I have. As far as I know there are 50 states and 5 jurisdictions which regulate CPA profession. Except for a very few states which require 120 Semesters credit hours study, most states and jurisdictions require 150 semester credit hours. Even the states which require 120 SCH have other requirements to meet with. In addition to that these 120 SCH state will have to go on 150 SCH by the end of 2010 as per requirements of National Association of State Board of Accountancy (NASBA).

Unfortunately, Pakistani CMAs and CAs are not eligible to write CPA exam and they have to take too many extra course to comply with the requirement of 150 semester credit hours. An important suggestion that is on anvil at NASBA is that they will require masters degree as minimum requirement. If approve, all states will have to adopt it by 2015. New York State Board is the leader of this proposal. This will make CPA a dream for Pakistani CMAs and CAs.

Since you got your APA designation through exemptions, I am afraid that you wont be able to get any credit hour for that. Please also consider other factor such as VISA arrangement to go to USA in current scenario and cost associated with travelling, food, lodging, fees etc.
There is a good detail regarding CPA US on this forum which you can access on the following link