Becoming a CPA

As you are working towards to becoming an official CPA, here are a few things that can save you a ton of time on your license application process. This blog is applicable to those who already passed all sections of CPA exams and the AICPA ethics exam, and are ready for becoming an official CPA in Illinois. Here’s also some information that’s helpful if you need to transfer your score from another State.

Useful resources –

Illinois Board of Examiners, ILBOE, the board

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, NASBA

NASBA International Evaluation Services, NIES

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, IDFPR

Abbreviations will be used in the content below.

Step 1 – register an account at the ILBOE make sure the ILBOE has your scores on record. If you originally took the CPA exams for IL State, please skip this step. I had to go through this process because I passed the exams for NY State and has been working in Illinois thereafter. In my case, I transferred my scores from NY to IL at NASBA Store. After I filled in the information and paid online, I got an email from NASBA with an “IL Score Transfer Form”. Illinois is one of the six states that require a state specific form to be filled out by the candidate and submitted to the board. Complete the form and reply back to the email, then NASBA will be able to transfer your scores.

Step 2 – make sure the ILBOE has the evaluation report of your education credit hours (the credit hours you need to be eligible to sit for the exam) on record. Again, if you originally took the IL exams, the board should already have your evaluation report before you were able to take the exam, please skip this step. But if you took exams for another state like I did, you will need to have ILBOE evaluate your credits based on Illinois requirements. Illinois requires 150 credit hours. Make sure to provide ILBOE all your education history that make up of the 150. For example, you may need to let the institution(s) that you attended send official transcripts to the board. Also, don’t forget to send your AICPA ethics score to the board.

Domestic institutions – if the institution supports sending transcripts electronically, use the email [email protected] to direct your transcripts to the board. If not, let the institution mail it to – Illinois Board of Examiners, 1120 E Diehl Rd, Suite 107 Naperville, IL 60563

Foreign institutions – for those candidates who had all/partial of the credit hours outside of the United States, and need to transfer scores from other states, then you are lucky to have to deal with NIES! When you took the exam for State A, NIES evaluated your education credits based off State A’s requirements; now that you transfer your scores, you need to let NIES review your education history again to see if you satisfy State B’s requirements. NIES will send a report to the board that you requested. This will be the longest marathon that may take for weeks or even months. Go to NIES website and select Change in Jurisdiction Evaluation, fill in the information and pay online. NIES will contact you for additional information if needed.

Step 3 – while waiting for the board to evaluate, now is the time to submit a certification application! Log in to your ILBOE account, click in “online application”, read through to determine which situation applies to you, submit an online application and pay. Once the board receives and approves all the supports (school transcripts, ethics score, NIES evaluation report, etc.), it will notify you by email with your certificate number. YOU ARE CERTIFIED!

Step 4 – now you can turn your eyes to the license. The Board sends a report of recently certified candidates to IDFPR on the 1st and 15th of every month. When the IDFPR receives your scores from the board, you will get an email with a link and an access ID to create an account and start application to obtain a license from there. During this process, you will need your employer’s signature on the “Verification of Employment” letter, which can be downloaded on IDFPR – you must satisfy the one year working experience requirement to be eligible. After you complete the application, in about 2-3 weeks’ time, you will get an email titled “IDFPR Electronic License Retrieval Notification”. Congratulations! You are now an OFFICIAL LICENSED CPA!


Tips –

During the process, I find the board very helpful and responsive to emails very quickly. Call the board at 815-753-8900 or email them at [email protected] for questions you have.


Disclaimer –

This blog only applies to people who want to get licensed in Illinois. It may not be helpful for other states. Also, this blog was written in May 2018; information here may subject to change. Please refer to the state board for the most up-to-date information.