CPA License for convicted felon

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  • #1311313

    Hey everyone,

    I have read a lot on here, but haven’t posted so here goes. I recently got licensed as a CPA.

    I started this journey about a year ago (2.5 years ago if you count grad school) and I have relied on this forum and NINJA products for a lot of help. At that point I was wondering whether I would get a NTS let alone get licensed with my criminal record and used the search function to search the archives of A71 to see if anyone has encountered similar situations. I know with the forum transition some archived posts got lost forever so I figure I would offer a fresh take:

    This is my experience only and specific to the facts in this case: obviously YMMV.

    Summary: it’s possible to get a CPA License with a criminal record and a felony.

    I am 30. In my younger years I partied a lot and got involved with the wrong people. I have about 15+ arrests resulting in 5 misdemeanor convictions for drug possession, and 1 felony dating back to about 5 years ago for distribution. So I’m not exactly Al Capone with the severity of the crimes, but not a saint either. The most important thing I can stress is for people to be honest about your past. Being misleading about your past just doesn’t reflect on your CPA candidacy as well as taking responsibility does. Anyways, I got my CPA license after a hearing with the board of public accountancy.

    I am writing this because I needed something like this when I decided to start my journey 3 years ago. Most stuff on the internet I encountered when researching getting licensed with a criminal record was speculation from posters, candidates with DUI’s, or charges from decades ago…So if you’re sitting there thinking “man I ruined my life with this conviction and will never be licensed/pass the exam so I will not even try” like I was I hope my story illustrates that it is possible.

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  • Author
  • #1311317

    Hi Lerkerer, I'm glad too hear that your past didn't affect your future! I think it depends on what the felony was, if you were convicted of embezzling, you most likely wouldn't be able to get your CPA license. A drug charge though won't affect your trustworthiness, at least not in my own opinion. But way to get to a point where your past is behind you!

    AUD - 83
    BEC - 78
    FAR - 80
    REG - 80
    If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried!

    REG: 80 (02/19/16)
    AUD: 83 (04/11/16)
    BEC: 78 (05/28/16)
    FAR: ?


    Good job overcoming your past and accomplishing your goals! That in itself really speaks volumes, I would bet that there are more people who have “strayed” in their younger years that care to admit to it. It builds character to have gone through that sort of a situation and be where you are today, kudos!

    AUD - 82
    BEC - NINJA in Training
    FAR - NINJA in Training
    REG - NINJA in Training
    "confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you" ~ Zig Ziglar

    "Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you" - Zig Ziglar
    Ninja book + Ninja MCQ + Roger
    AUD Oct 2016
    FAR Nov 2016
    BEC ?


    Hello Lerkerer, I have a quick question.

    I was arrested in 2008 for to counts of Trafficking Opiates and had to do three years in Prison. I was released in 2011 and since have gotten my life together, I have done very well. I just finished my undergrad with a 3.8 and have a Teachers Aide Position to get my Masters. I have excelled with different leaderships positions and international volunteering. I am in the process of forming the application to for my CPA eligibility number to begin taking the tests.

    I have a question on the process, we seem to have similar crimes, mine are more heavy though. . During the application, did you use an Administrative Lawyer to apply? Also, did you have any issues with the recruiting process? I have been offered a few positions, but have never accepted anything. A friend's wife is a recruiter, and they told me that all the care is about CPA eligibility. I am hoping to is true, but still concerned about the reactions when presented with my criminal history.

    Also, which state did you get your license?


    A little off topic:

    It's interesting to read the disciplinary documentation from various state boards of accountancy. It pretty much boils down to this:

    1) Stay on top of CPE
    2) Don't commit fraud regardless if it's a misdemeanor or felony
    3) File your taxes both state & federal
    4) Don't screw over clients
    5) Don't screw up an audit or audit opinion or peer review
    6) License your damn CPA firm even if you're a damn CPA

    Some states forgive some felonies and some don't. One thing is for sure–anything fraud related is a huge no-no and expect that license to be revoked within days after conviction.


    What was your timeline for requesting to sit for the exam? Did you have the board review your eligibility and disclose your background before or after getting your accounting graduate degree?

    Jake Cahill

    A little off-topic guys.

    Please check out to get your cpe credits

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