Why We Need a New CPA Licensure Model Now
On May 20th, the AICPA’s Board of Directors recommended that the AICPA Council vote on a resolution supporting the CPA Evolution initiative. I’m thrilled to share that Council overwhelmingly voted in support of advancing the initiative.
CPA Evolution is a joint effort of the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to design and implement a new approach to CPA licensure. Our goal is to transform the CPA licensure model to recognize the rapidly changing skills and competencies the practice of accounting requires today and will require in the future.
In this proposed model, all candidates would be required to demonstrate knowledge of a strong core in accounting, auditing, tax and technology. Then, each candidate would choose a discipline in which to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge. Regardless of discipline, this model leads to full CPA licensure, with rights and privileges consistent with any other CPA. You can learn more about our proposed CPA licensure model at EvolutionOfCPA.org or by watching this video.
This is great progress toward our goal of positioning the CPA profession for continued strength and relevance in a constantly evolving business environment. I would like to thank the Board and Council for their leadership and guidance since the inception of this initiative.
COVID-19 Reinforces the Need for CPA Evolution
When COVID-19 came on the scene, we quickly saw its impact on our economy and the ways we work. Given its overwhelming impact on businesses—particularly small businesses—CPAs’ roles as trusted advisers and protectors of the public interest have become more crucial than ever.
CPAs entering the profession must be prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the needs of the marketplace and protect the public. NASBA and the AICPA agree that our proposed CPA licensure model is the best solution for achieving this goal.
Next Steps for CPA Evolution
It’s clear that the profession is passionate about keeping the CPA license strong for decades to come. In 2018, AICPA and NASBA began reaching out to stakeholders from across the profession asking for feedback on evolving CPA licensure. Since then, we’ve heard from more than 3,000 individuals — CPAs working in firms of all sizes across the country; CPAs working in business and industry; members of the accounting academic community; volunteers; students; technology experts; state CPA society leaders; state boards of accountancy; and more.
Pending conversations in June at the NASBA regional meetings with state board of accountancy members, NASBA’s board of directors will consider a companion vote of support this summer. If that occurs, we will move forward with implementing the new licensure model, with the goal of launching a new CPA Exam by January 2024.
As we look forward to the NASBA regional meetings and the NASBA board of directors vote this summer, I have never been more excited to be a part of this profession. I am hopeful that we’ll gain the support we need to continue moving forward with evolving CPA licensure. Regardless of the outcome, we will always continue to support the CPA profession and work toward its continued success.
Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA is Executive Vice President - Public Practice for the American Institute of CPAs. In this role Coffey is responsible for the professional activities, content and delivery of all AICPA public accounting technical and self-regulatory functions, which support and enhance the quality of the work of U.S. CPA firms.