NASBA leaders provide ABO a profession overview

Written on May 01, 2020

By Laura Hay, CPA, CAE, OSCPA executive vice president

Presenting to the Accountancy Board of Ohio on Dec. 3, Ken Bishop, President and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, and Carlos Berrera, NASBA Vice Chair, reviewed trends on NASBA’s radar for the CPA profession.

Decreasing exam candidates – AICPA’s recent 2019 Trends Report indicates that a decline in candidates sitting for the CPA exam has continued longer than expected after the most recent changes to the exam.

Economic impact – However, the continued strength of the U.S. economy might have some bearing on candidate behaviors. Over time, NASBA has observed a reverse correlation with the economy, with upswings in CPA tracking during weak economic cycles.

Generational trends – Burdens of student loan debt are among the factors that have candidates looking to get out of college and make money.

CPA Evolution – The joint NASBA/AICPA CPA Evolution project correlates strongly to candidate needs for the future, supporting a strong common core for all CPAs, a stronger educational model, and increased specialization.

The U.S. CPA – The U.S. CPA is still the gold standard, but if the profession does not get ahead of the curve to address change, it will lag.

International CPA – There is still strong demand for the CPA credential internationally, and NASBA has entered into recent reciprocity agreements with South Africa and Wales.

120 hours to sit for the CPA exam – While many states have adopted a model of sitting for the exam with 120 hours, there has been very little demand for moving to licensure at 120 hours, because of the impact on inter-state practice mobility. NASBA and AICPA are committed to 150 hours for licensure, and it is important that employers continue to take a stand on requiring 150 hours before hire.

Anti-regulatory legislation – NASBA committed to resources to assist with efforts locally to maintain independent CPA licensing boards with the authority to regulate.

Peer review – The consolidation of some peer review administering entities has created concerns about state rights. The adoption of regulatory entities of what was originally a program intended for remediation has created some natural tension in defining the resulting disciplinary model.

The ABO unanimously voted to endorse Michael Fritz as a candidate for NASBA Vice Chair.

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