Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor (ABA)

  • ABAs Waived into NEW IRS VOLUNTAry Program!

 Accredited Business Accountants/Advisors (ABA) are exempt from taking the Annual Federal Tax Refresher course and exam and qualify for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion!

Register for the ABA exam this fall and be included in the IRS Directory this tax season!
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Accreditation from ACAT has a positive impact on practitioners in a variety of ways. Whether you want to raise your salary, earn professional recognition or give yourself a competitive advantage, ACAT is ready to assist and support you in achieving your goals.

ABA Accredited Business Accountant is ACAT’s trademarked designation for Accreditation in Accountancy. The ABA is a prestigious professional accounting credential that demonstrates to clients, potential clients and employers that the credential holder has a thorough knowledge and proficiency in financial accounting, financial reporting, financial statement preparation, taxation, managerial accounting, business law, and ethics for small- to medium-sized businesses.

How do I become ABA accredited & what are the requirements?

To become an ABA, you must pass the Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accountancy, and have three years of related work experience, up to two of which may be satisfied through college credit. ACAT seeks to ensure that all accredited individ­uals possess theoretical knowledge and the practical knowledge necessary to be successful practitioners. For that reason, candidates for accreditation must satisfy a three-year experience requirement before becoming fully credentialed. Individuals who pass the exam but who have not met the experience requirement may promote themselves as having “passed the ACAT Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accountancy,” but are not entitled to use the ABA designation.

In some states—DE, IA, MN—achieving the ABA designation meets state regulatory requirements to practice public accountancy. MN requires a 75% passing score on both Practices of the exam. The use of the term “accountant” for non CPAs varies by state. In states where the term “accountant” cannot be used in any form or in states that allow the use the term “accountant” as a stand alone word but with a disclaimer—AL, AK, AR, CA, HI, IN, KY, LA, ND, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN and TX, accredited individuals use Accredited Business Advisor®. The process for attaining the credential and rules for use are the same.


About the ABA Exam

The Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accountancy is a two part 200 question exam that tests the technical proficiency of candidates in financial accounting, financial reporting, financial statement preparation, taxation, business consulting services, business law and ethics. Emphasis is on a practical approach to public accounting.

The exam is divided into two parts: 

Practice 1
consists of 100 multiple choice questions to be completed in 3½ hours. It covers financial accounting and financial statement preparation, presentation and reporting.

Practice 2 consists of 100 multiple choice questions to be completed in 3½ hours. It covers the following topics: taxation, business law, business accounting and ethics.

There are also 13 additional pretest questions in Practice 1 and 13 additional pretest questions in Practice 2 (26 total). These questions will not be scored and do not affect overall scores.  You will not be notified which items these are and it is suggested you answer all the questions on the exam.  

Both parts can be taken together or during different testing windows, however if one part is passed you will then have 18 months to pass the other part in order to earn the ABA credential.

Additional information: 
ABA Exam Study Materials:
ABA Prep Course and Study Guides
For a list of specific sub categories, review the ABA exam blueprint
For more information on the ABA credential, review the ACAT Candidate Handbook