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Acting Ethically When Taking A CPA Exam


Those looking to become a certified public accountant (CPA) need to take an exam in order to get their professional license. When people go in to take their exam, there are strict rules that must be followed. If they don’t follow these rules, they can get kicked out. They will lose the chance to get their license, plus they may face other penalties.

It’s important to act in a professional and ethical manner when taking any type of licensing exam, but the rules can be especially strict for CPAs and others in the financial industry. Here are some rules you need to follow so you can succeed.

Read the Rules

Be sure to read the rules ahead of time. Read the Candidate Bulletin so you know what items and behaviors are prohibited. If you are an exam candidate at a Prometric Testing Center, this is very important. If you are testing at any other center sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) or American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), be sure to follow all instructions given to you. You could get kicked out of a test center if you engage in any unethical or prohibited behavior.

What’s Not Allowed in the Testing Room?

Avoid bringing the following into the testing room:

  • Study materials
  • Food and beverages
  • Phones
  • Purses
  • Wallets
  • Watches
  • Fitness trackers
  • Kleenex/tissue
  • Bandanas

Prohibited Conduct 

Obviously, cheating is not allowed on the CPA exam. This is monitored by audio and video recordings. Test center proctors are trained to watch for unusual behavior during exams. Here are some true stories of unprofessional conduct in testing centers:

  • A person arrived late for the exam and was not allowed to take the test. He became belligerent and rude toward the test proctor.
  • A person was told that his ID was expired and he needed another form of valid ID. He became abusive toward testing staff, using vulgar language.
  • A person took a break, retrieved her cell phone from her locker, and used the phone to make and receive calls.
  • A person took a break, removed review course notes from his locker, and studied them.
  • During a routine search at check-in, a person was found with notes taped inside his socks.

When a person engages in misconduct, they may first receive a warning from test center staff. They will then have the prohibited item confiscated. They could then be expelled from the test center, making their exam scores invalid. The testing center could also pursue civil or criminal charges in extreme cases. 

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Certified Public Accountant Licensing Lawyer 

CPA exams need to be taken seriously. Attempting to cheat or acting rude toward the test proctor can result in ethical issues and penalties.

Accountants need to do what they can to maintain their license. If you are facing administrative issues, contact a Tampa certified public accountant licensing lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. for legal help. To schedule a consultation, call (813) 968-6633 or fill out the online form.