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Using the CPA title in Virginia

A person must be licensed in order to use the CPA title in Virginia, pursuant to § 54.1-4409.1, Code of Virginia, or must meet the substantial equivalency provisions if licensed in another state in accordance with § 54.1-4411, Code of Virginia.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the proper use of the CPA title by licensees.

Frequently asked questions

Can a licensed CPA in Virginia continue using the CPA title after retirement?
All individuals using the CPA title in Virginia must renew and maintain a Virginia license or continue meeting the substantially equivalent provisions if licensed in another state regardless of their job title, in accordance with § 54.1-4411, Code of Virginia.

Under what circumstances may a licensed CPA continue using the CPA title and not be required to obtain continuing professional education (CPE)?
Licensees must first be approved for the Active – CPE Exempt status before discontinuing CPE. In order to qualify for the Active – CPE Exempt status, the licensee does not provide services to the public (providing services that are subject to the guidance of the standard-setting authorities listed in the standards of conduct and practice in subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 54.1-4413.3) or to or on behalf of an employer (providing to an entity services that require the substantial use of accounting, financial, tax or other skills that are relevant, as determined by the Board).

To apply for the Active – CPE Exempt status complete, the Change of License Status Request Form: Active to Active – CPE Exempt.

May an educator teaching at a Virginia college, university or other school, but not licensed in Virginia, use the CPA title in Virginia if licensed in a substantially equivalent state or jurisdiction?
An educator teaching at a Virginia college, university or other school is not required to hold a Virginia license in order to use the CPA title in Virginia provided that the educator holds the license of another state or jurisdiction that is substantially equivalent in accordance with § 54.1-4411, Code of Virginia. However, an educator must hold a Virginia license if providing services to the public using the CPA title and the principal place of business in which the services are being provided is in Virginia.

How do I determine if I am using the CPA designation?
Board regulation 18VAC5-22-40 states that holding a Virginia CPA license or a license of another state constitutes using the CPA title.

How do I determine if I am providing services to the public or to an employer?
Board regulation 18VAC5-22-40 states that an individual holding a Virginia CPA license is providing services to the public if those services are listed in the standards of conduct and practice in subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 54.1-4413.3, Code of Virginia. An individual holding a Virginia CPA license is providing services to or on behalf of an employer if those services utilize substantial accounting, financial, tax or relevant skills.