Accredited Business AccountanT®

The Accredited Business Accountant® (ABA) credential has been developed to recognize accountants who have demonstrated entry-level knowledge and skill to provide competent financial accounting, financial reporting, financial statement preparation, taxation, managerial accounting, business law, and ethics for small to medium-sized businesses in the United States. The ABA credential is a prestigious indicator to clients, potential clients, employers, and the public at large that the business accountant has proficiency in the accounting and taxation field.


The ABA Exam is a two-part exam that is offered twice a year at testing centers around the country.
The two parts covered by the exam are:

Part I: Financial Accounting and Financial Statement Preparation, Presentation, and Reporting

Part II: Business Consulting Services, Taxation, Business Law and Ethics

Candidates are given three (3) hours to complete each 100-question exam. For a more detailed look at the individual topics covered, please see the ABA Exam Blueprint.

Candidates cannot earn certification without passing both certification examinations. The passing grade is 70 on each part of the exam — Part I and Part 2. A candidate who does not pass the full exam, but does pass one part, either Part I or Part 2, has 18 months to re-take that part of the exam. A candidate failing to pass both parts within the designated time must reapply and retake both parts.



ACAT partners with the National Society of Accountants to provide study materials for the ABA exam. Study materials are sold in book or PDF format. Each part includes chapters of reference materials and review questions with answers and explanations. Courses can be purchased individually or as a set.

Part I: Financial Accounting and Financial Statement Preparation, Presentation, and Reporting – Course Sample

Part II: Business Consulting Services, Taxation, Business Law and Ethics – Course Sample

For more information on all exam preparation materials available for you during your study process, please visit our Exam Preparation page.


ACAT seeks to ensure that all accredited individuals possess theoretical knowledge and the practical knowledge necessary to be successful practitioners. Candidates for the ABA must be at least 18 years of age and must have a minimum of three (3) years of professional experience, or two (2) years of college-level accounting and one (1) year of professional experience.

Individuals who pass the exam but have not met the three-year experience minimum may promote themselves as having “passed the ACAT Examination for Accreditation in Accountancy” but are not entitled to use the ABA designation.


Annual Filing Season Program Record (AFSP)
ABA credential holders qualify for the IRS’s Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion without taking the Annual Refresh Course and Annual Exam. Learn more about the AFSP Exemption.

State Recognition
In Iowa and Minnesota, achieving the ABA designation meets state regulatory requirements to practice public accountancy. Minnesota requires a 75% passing score on both sections of the exam.

Learn more about the Minnesota RAP Program.

Learn more about the Iowa LPA.

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 of the term “accountant” as a standalone 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.

Please check with your state board of accountancy for your state accountancy compliance rules.


Along with payment of renewal fees and adherence to ACAT’s Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct, individuals holding the ABA Accredited Business Accountant® credential must earn 40 CPE hours every year: with at least 8 hours in accounting or related subjects (finance, business management, technology, or business law); at least 8 hours in taxation; and 2 hours in ethics.

CPE requirements are prorated for those who earn an ACAT credential after the start of a reporting cycle. For additional information, visit our CPE requirements page.

For a more detailed overview of all requirements needed to maintain your credential, please visit the page for Current Credential Holders.