There are more than half a million actively licensed individual CPAs in the United States, according to the first such tally ever compiled by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
The official count was 664,532 licensees as of April 22, gleaned from NASBA’s national database of CPAs that aggregates data from 51 of the 55 CPA licensing jurisdictions nationwide.
The total does not include data from Delaware, Hawaii, Utah, and Wisconsin.
“NASBA has one of the most accelerated data-sharing programs among state-regulated professions because of the amount of data being contributed by the participating boards,” Maria Caldwell, NASBA’s chief legal officer and compliance director, said in a prepared statement. “Without the ongoing efforts of the state boards and their willingness to collaborate and preserve the CPA designation, there would not be the unprecedented degree of data that is currently shared between state boards.”
The remaining four jurisdictions have been approved and are in various stages of implementation, Elizabeth Stanton, NASBA’s national database manager, told AccountingWEB.
The data is compiled in such a way that CPAs with multiple state licenses won’t be counted more than once. Statistics will be updated quarterly and posted on NASBA’s website.
The process involves the IT team at each jurisdiction using an algorithm to “hash” certain licensee data and then creating a hashed unique identifier.
When the file is sent, NASBA sees that identifier, which links up the records for the same people who have multiple state licenses.
About 98 percent of the world’s CPA licensee information is now housed in the public database. Hitting that benchmark was a key accomplishment for the 12-year-old database, Stanton said.
The public-facing version of the database is here.
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.