Within the answers to these questions, references will be made to South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 36-20B and Administrative Rule of South Dakota (ARSD) 20:75, which are the South Dakota laws and rules governing the practice of accounting in South Dakota.
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Board office. We are here to provide assistance to you. Helping you understand the accountancy laws and rules governing the accounting profession helps us to promote the Board's mission of public protection.
If I am working for a licensed CPA firm, when am I required to get a certificate and/or a permit to practice?
An individual employed by a licensed firm is required to obtain a certificate within 90 days of meeting the experience requirement. There is a $50 additional fee for failing to apply for the certificate within the 90 day period allowed.
If I am not working for a licensed CPA firm, is there a deadline to apply for my CPA certificate?
The Board requires an applicant to apply for a certificate within three years from the time of passing the CPA exam. After three years the exam application expires, and exam grades are nullified, unless the applicant can show the Board good cause for not applying within the three year period.
What is the experience requirement for a license to practice?
The experience requirement is 2,000 hours of accounting experience. The experience must be completed in no less than one year and no more than three years. To perform attest functions, the experience requirement is 375 hours in compilations, audits or reviews in any combination. You are required to apply for a certificate and pass the AICPA ethics exam within 90 days of completing the experience requirement.
How do I verify these hours to the Board?
A Certificate of Experience form should be obtained from the Board office. This form should be completed by the applicant and certified by a certified public accountant.
Can the experience be fulfilled in less than an actual one year period?
Yes, if you accumulate 2,000 hours in less than a one- year period, you should request and complete a Certificate of Experience form at that time. You are required to apply for a certificate and pass the AICPA ethics exam within 90 days of completing the experience requirement.
If I hold a CPA license in another state in good standing and transfer to South Dakota to practice public accounting, will the Board grant me a South Dakota certificate to practice?
Regardless of whether the state you are from is substantially equivalent, you may be issued a license in SD if you:
If you will be performing attest work you will need to verify to the Board that you have 375 hours in compilations, audits and/or reviews by submitting a certificate of experience form provided by the Board.
What is required for me to use the CPA designation?
Anyone registered in an active status with the Board of Accountancy may use the CPA designation. Active status does require compliance with the continuing professional education requirement established by the Board.
A CPA who does not perform or offer to perform accounting services to the public may file their certificate "inactive" with the Board. An "inactive" status does not require the CPA to comply with the CPE requirements; however, you must include the caveat "inactive" in the same size font next to your designation wherever it is displayed, except on your certificate.
An individual holding a valid South Dakota certificate must register with the Board annually in either an active, inactive or retired status. If the individual does not wish to maintain his certificate in good standing, he must relinquish the certificate to the Board. Individuals holding a certificate from another state must either register the certificate with the South Dakota Board or sign an affidavit stating they will not use the CPA designation while in South Dakota.
What is the CPE requirement for an active CPA certificate?
The holder of an active CPA certificate must comply with the 120 hour CPE requirement. A minimum of 20 hours per year must be reported, and 120 hours must be obtained in a rolling three year period.
The reporting period is from July 1 to June 30 each year, and the format for reporting is on the back of your annual renewal notice.
If you are filing "active" and are not practicing public accounting, the Board will broadly interpret qualifying CPE based on your industry or profession. The criteria used to determine qualifying CPE for a licensee not working in public accounting is a course of study which elevates the licensee's current level of knowledge relevant to their employment. The limit of 24 hours in a three year period for motivational and/or behavioral courses has been removed for individuals working in the private sector.
Does the three year renewal cycle start over every three years?
No. CPE is figured on a rolling three year cycle. Each June 30, you must have a total of at least 120 hours when you add the current year just ending and the previous two years. Each year, the previous third total drops off. You always count the current year and the previous two years.
What happens if I am not able to acquire the minimum number of hours?
If you are going to be short hours, you should contact the Board office as soon as possible and explain the situation. ARSD 20:75:04:11 allows for extensions to complete CPE hours. A 30 to 90 day extension period may administratively be granted on a one time basis. Good cause is defined as personal emergency, acts of God or administrative errors by the Board. If you need further extensions, you need to petition the Board explaining your reasons and request the period of time you feel is required to complete the CPE needed.
How do I know if a course qualifies as CPE?
ARSD 20:75:04:02 describes the general qualifying criteria of continuing professional education. It must be a program of formal learning that directly contributes to the professional competence of a licensee in the practice of accountancy. A program that promotes professional competence in the practice of accountancy is defined as one that refers to the process, methods, or principles of accounting or directly relates to the licensee's employment and is above the level of the licensee's current knowledge. The course provider should provide a completion certificate and retain an attendance sheet for four years. The Board accepts QAS and registry approved courses that are in compliance with our rules. The courses can be verified at http://www.LearningMarket.org.
What documentation is required to be kept to validate a CPE course? (ARSD 20:75:04:14)
The following documentation of a CPA's or PA's participation in sponsored learning activities should be retained by the CPA or PA for four years:
- Name and address of CPE sponsor.
- Title and description of content.
- Dates of program.
- Location of program.
- Number of credits.
What is acceptable evidence of completion of a CPE course? (ARSD 20:75:04:15)
Should I submit documentation when I report my hours at renewal time?
No, this is not necessary. Please keep accurate records of the CPE reported to the Board. In the event you are chosen for our annual CPE audit, you will be requested to provide documentation to substantiate your CPE claims.
If I hold a reciprocal license in South Dakota, do I have to maintain my license in the state for which I was granted the reciprocal license?
South Dakota does not require you to maintain your license in the state by which you were granted reciprocity. However, the Board highly recommends you check with the state board where you were originally licensed to ensure compliance with their licensing regulations. Many states require licensees to maintain their licenses in either an active or inactive status regardless of whether or not they live or practice in that state.
Allowing your license to lapse may subject you to fines for unpaid fees, and in some cases, you may have to re-sit for the Uniform CPA Examination to renew your license in that state at a later date.
South Dakota is keenly aware of the mobility issues facing CPAs and thereby allows CPAs no longer engaged in performing or offering to perform accounting services to the public several options. A CPA may register his or her certificate in an inactive status, by submitting the form and paying the $50 filing fee. This status exempts the CPA from compliance with the Continuing Professional Education requirement. If the CPA is 55 or older and no longer performs or offers to perform accounting services to the public, he or she may file in a retired status, by filing the "retired" form provided by the Board and paying the reduced fee of $10.
A final option to CPAs would be to relinquish the certificate. An example of a case where a CPA may wish to relinquish his certificate would be if he no longer practices or has clients in South Dakota and has moved to another state where he is currently complying with the accountancy laws in that state.
The South Dakota Board maintains relinquished certificates on file in the Board office and will return them upon the fulfillment of the respective requirements for an active, inactive or retired status. If a CPA chooses to relinquish his or her South Dakota certificate, the individual should first check with any states in which reciprocity has been granted based on his or her good standing in South Dakota. Many states granting reciprocity require CPAs to maintain their license in an active status in the original state in which they were licensed.
South Dakota Board of Accountancy
301 East 14th Street, Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57104