‘Who Can Sign My Experience Affidavit?’

by Monette Anderson | May 17, 2021

This is a question I’m asked frequently by students looking for help, and often by students who do not work directly under a CPA. There continues to be a lot of misinformation about the requirements for CPA experience verification, ranging from the belief that the signing CPA must be a direct supervisor to believing that a career must start in public accounting to meet this requirement.

So, what is the actual requirement? As a caveat, it does vary by state. Below we’ve gathered a few resources and pieces of information that will help Washington residents prepare for licensure, because with a fifth-year requirement, a four-part exam, and the task of establishing yourself as a new professional, don’t you have enough to worry about?

What experience is required? To become licensed, the Washington State Board of Accountancy (WBOA) requires that candidates complete 12 months of accounting-related experience (2,000 hours). That experience should include key skillsets: basic accounting, issuing reports on financial statements, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, tax advisory or consulting skills. The 2,000 hours are work hours and they are not limited to billable hours. The experience can be international as well, but no more than eight years old from the time of filing. Now, listen up, because these next points are key. As written by the WBOA you must:

  • Be verified by a licensed CPA who holds a valid license to practice public accounting in a US jurisdiction for a minimum of five years prior to the date of verifying the experience. The verifying CPA does not need to be a supervisor or coworker of the applicant and the five years do not need to be consecutive.
  • Complete and submit the WBOA’s Experience Affidavit Evaluation. This will give you a snapshot of whether the work you've done qualifies for licensure. This form will be presented to and signed by your CPA verifier.

Here is where arming yourself with the correct information will be invaluable. Since rules vary state to state, and the majority of licensees follow the traditional experience verification path of having a direct supervisor sign, many CPAs are often unaware of the flexibility in Washington’s experience verification requirement. This means many CPAs don’t realize they can sign your affidavit even if you haven't worked under them directly, or may be hesitant to sign if your work time has been less than a year—even though you may have earned the additional hours elsewhere. Understanding this requirement fully will help you advocate for yourself, inform your verifier of the correct information, and ultimately, walk away with a signed experience affidavit.

Still Stuck?

You have two options available to you if the above information does not get you closer to finding an experience verifier. First, NASBA offers a verification service which, for $500, can review and sign off on your experience. Alternatively, you can contact the WSCPA for the same service, free of charge. We only extend this offer to WSCPA members, but we think it is worth mentioning that student memberships are only $40 and come with many other benefits.

If you have questions about licensure, the WSCPA is always here to help. Our goal is to help you achieve your professional goals. We want you to be successful! We've come across many students’ questions over the years and can usually point you in the right direction.

And members, don’t forget to visit and join our WSCPA Connect CPA Exam Accelerator group when you are ready to start thinking about licensure. It’s a great place to ask questions, connect with other students across the state, and find support, motivation, and lucky socks!

Monette Anderson_web_150x224Monette Anderson is the WSCPA Director of Membership and liaison to the Washington CPA Foundation. You can contact her at manderson@wscpa.org.

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