New PMRA Affects Accountants in U.S., Canada And Mexico

Representatives of the U.S., Canada and Mexico are expected to sign a new pact today known as a Professional Mutual Recognition Agreement (PMRA). This agreement will help clear the remaining barriers to cross-border licensing of public accountants in North America.

The new PMRA recognizes the substantial equivalency of the U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential with the Mexican Contadores Publicos Certificado (CPC) credential, as well as the Canadian Chartered Accountant (CA) credential. Since 1991, U.S. and Canadian authorities have participated in a two-party PMRA.

After the new three-country agreement is fully effective, CPAs, CAs, and CPCs will no longer have to take the complete professional entry-level examinations required in the countries other than the one in which they are currently licensed to practice. Instead, they will simply be required to pass a test of differences between their home country and the one in which they want to practice.

The agreement results from discussions between the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Instituto Mexicano De Condatores Publicos, and the joint International Qualifications Appraisal Board of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Before it becomes fully effective, the new PMRA must still be ratified by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Free Trade Commission and recommended or implemented by the 54 U.S. State Boards of Accountancy, Canada's 10 provinces and three territories, and the Mexican Director General of the Professions of the Secretary of Public Education.

-Rosemary Schlank

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