CPA exam to be administered outside U.S. for first time

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In 2011, the Uniform CPA Examination will be offered outside the 55 U.S. jurisdictions for the first time in its history. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), and Prometric – the three organizations that jointly offer the CPA exam in the United States – reached an agreement to administer the exam in international locations.

The CPA exam will be offered next year in Japan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. The international exam will be the same as the one offered in the U.S., using the same computerized format, and administered in English. As in the U.S., the purpose of taking the examination will be to qualify for licensure as a CPA through U.S. state boards of accountancy.

“Candidates for licensure as U.S. CPAs reside all over the world, but, at present, they must travel to the U.S. to take the CPA exam,” said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO. “International administrations are being offered as a service to them and to other international candidates who wish to seek CPA licensure – the mark of highly-qualified professionals in accounting.”

The Uniform CPA Examination is one of the Three Es (Education, Examination, and Experience) that are required for licensure as a CPA in the U.S. The CPA exam consists of four sections: Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, and Business Environment and Concepts. The combined testing time for the four sections is 14 hours.

"NASBA and its member boards are pleased to play a significant role in advancing the Uniform CPA Examination delivery in international locations,” said David Costello, NASBA president and CEO. “We are proud of our licensing examination, developed by the AICPA with significant input and assistance by NASBA and state boards, and its well-earned reputation for overall quality and preeminence as a high stakes examination. Since a growing number of CPA candidates reside in other countries, the time has come to manage the overall process of international candidates in a more effective manner.”

The CPA exam employs a combination of question formats. It includes the traditional multiple-choice questions and essays, as well as questions that replicate workplace situations and require the application of knowledge and skills to arrive at solutions.

“This new effort expands on the already successful partnership of the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric,” said Michael Brannick, Prometric president and CEO. “The Uniform CPA Examination is already administered routinely to foreign nationals who take the test in the U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Making the examination available in additional locations around the world will enhance accessibility for individuals in the accounting profession who desire a world class accounting credential and are excited about obtaining it.”

In its nearly 100-year history, the Uniform CPA Examination has undergone many changes. Until the end of 2003, it was a paper-and-pencil examination administered twice each year. In April 2004, the computer-based CPA exam was launched and the paper-and-pencil examination was discontinued. The computer-based exam achieved its millionth administration in 2009.

For additional information on the Uniform CPA Exam, visit

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