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5 Ways to Ease Burdens to CPA Licensure

Apr 10, 2024
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Obtaining the CPA license is a monumental career moment that opens doors and establishes your expertise in accounting and finance.

But as the data consistently shows, fewer people are achieving the milestone of adding “CPA” after their name.

While becoming a CPA should require effort, too many barriers to obtaining a CPA license prevents bright, promising talent from making progress in their career.

As a leader or member of the CPA profession, you can play a role in helping to alleviate some of the most common barriers to licensure. Here’s how.

Give time

According to the Center for Audit Quality, the time it takes to study is the top roadblock CPA candidates face.

Between work, classes, family commitments, volunteer obligations and more, dedicated study time can feel overwhelming to build into a schedule. How can you help make a difference in the office?P

Build study time into the work schedule. It might feel challenging to give a candidate study time during working hours when you’re trying to get through a pile of client work, but remember that the faster they get through the Exam process, the faster they’re even more beneficial to your firm or organization. Add chunks of study time throughout their week to their schedule. This alleviates some of their burden of fitting study time into their life and assures you they’re making progress.

Create study groups. If multiple candidates are in your office, you have the perfect opportunity to create a support network. Make sure they’re connecting and creating group study time during the work day.

Establish timelines and accountability. Work with candidates to create ideal Exam timelines.


  • What sections will they take and when?
  • How much study time do they need before each Exam?
  • When will they register for each Exam section?
  • How does the timeline change if they don’t pass a section on the first attempt?
  • When do they want to be completely done with Exams?
  • What’s the goal date for receiving their CPA license?

Every CPA’s journey is different and you never know what unexpected challenges might arise, but taking the time to make sure they have a timeline in place and an accountability check-in person — whether a peer, mentor or leader — can help keep the licensing process in motion.

"Taking the time to make sure they have a timeline in place and an accountability check-in person — whether a peer, mentor or leader — can help keep the licensing process in motion."

How INCPAS can help: Our CPA Candidate membership offers all the benefits of a professional INCPAS membership at a reduced rate.

Members have access to:

  • Current Exam requirements
  • Changes to the CPA Exam in 2024
  • Study groups, tips and review discounts
  • Testing strategies and windows
  • Indiana licensure guidance
  • INCPAS office hours for Q&A

Learn more about CPA Candidate membership and join here.

Provide financial support

Registering for the Exam, purchasing study materials and courses and pursuing the additional 30 credit hours required for the CPA license can be costly and a financial hardship, especially for candidates from lower income families.

Larger firms have a track record of providing financial resources for the CPA Exam, and as costs rise, more candidates will likely seek out firms that will offer the most support.

If you’re a smaller firm not currently covering Exam costs, now is the time to consider how you can offer at least partial support, including connecting candidates to valuable resources.

Remember to keep ROI in mind: Is the value of the candidate becoming a CPA worth the few thousand dollars of investment in the long run?

How INCPAS can help: INCPAS is proud to be a resource to your candidates as they navigate their Exam prep.

  • INCPAS regularly offers free Mock Exams through Surgent. This is an excellent opportunity to gauge Exam readiness. Bookmark this page for event dates.
  • INCPAS is offering a new CPA Exam Scholarship, in collaboration with ALPFA Indianapolis and the Greater Indianapolis Chapter of NABA, Inc. Recipients who have demonstrated financial need will receive up to $2,000 to help cover Exam-related expenses. Applications are due May 1.
  • INCPAS members also receive discounts to leading Exam-prep companies like Becker and Gleim.


You don’t have to be a partner or high-level manager to help someone navigate their CPA licensure experience. In fact, the closer you are to having received your license, the better, as the experience is still fresh in your mind. As a mentor you can help candidates by:

  • Sharing your experiences. Everyone’s journey is different. Offering your story, the good and the bad, is a great way to help put minds at ease and remind candidates they’re not the only ones who have gone through the process.
  • Answering questions. Navigating the licensing process can be intimidating! Having an in-person resource is helpful. Offer to help answer questions about the licensing application process, the Exam registration process, building a study calendar or routine and more. Just make sure you’re up to date on the latest information and know where candidates can go for questions you can’t answer. Our CPA License hub is a good place to start, as well as the Indiana Board of Accountancy.
  • Providing study tips. CPA candidates love a good study tip! Share the tips and tricks that got you to the finish line.
  • Being a sounding board. Sometimes it’s just good to have someone to talk through frustrations. Offer to be that support and share advice.
"You don’t have to be a partner or high-level manager to help someone navigate their CPA licensure experience."

How INCPAS can help: INCPAS is here to help candidates navigate the complexities of becoming a CPA! Our Exam & Licensure tip sheets are designed specifically for candidates and cover all of the basics, from requirements to register for and schedule your Exam, how to apply for the CPA license in Indiana and more.

Become an advocate

Advocacy is crucial as we work together to address pipeline issues and licensure roadblocks. Becoming a CPA advocate at both a state and national level is a great way to be a part of the conversation and help push new measures through, like Indiana’s recent 120-to-sit rule change and the ongoing work to make accounting a STEM-designated field.

"Becoming a CPA advocate at both a state and national level is a great way to be a part of the conversation and help push new measures through."

These conversations are becoming heightened as states like Minnesota consider new legislation to make the CPA license more obtainable. Will you be a part of the movement?

How INCPAS can help: Our advocacy team works year-round to track, monitor and engage in crucial conversations that impact the profession and license. Learn more about INCPAS’ efforts and how to become a CPA Advocate.


There’s no way around it: Becoming a CPA is hard!

When you’re going on the journey alone, every milestone might not feel like much. Make sure you’re helping CPA candidates on your team celebrate each section they pass, each course they complete, and every box they check off on their list as they step closer to getting the CPA license.

Bring them lunch, give them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop for a much-needed study session caffeine-boost or consider other incentives like an extra day off as they achieve certain milestones. Even if you can’t offer significant financial incentives, you CAN do something that makes a difference.

Remind them every step is a win and that they are making progress! This can be a morale booster that helps keep the momentum going.

How INCPAS can help: Be sure to join INCPAS at our annual CPA Celebration on November 22, your chance to celebrate your successful candidates and team alongside peers from across the state.

Bonus: Explore resources

There’s no single way to remove barriers to licensure. Staying on top of the latest news, advocacy efforts and resources is crucial as we all work together to create a healthy pipeline and the future generation of CPAs.

Explore INCPAS’ Pipeline: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources page to:

  • Download the INCPAS CPA Talent Pipeline Resources guide for more ways to reduce barriers, need-to-know data around future talent, the new CPA Exam and more.
  • Explore the 2023 INCPAS College Student Survey Results to understand what today’s students seek in the workplace.
  • Review the CAQ’s latest research on diverse talent and what’s holding them back from a career in accounting.

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