New agreement smooths pathway to UK audit signing rights for US CPAs

By Ken Tysiac

A new agreement signed Wednesday provides a clear route for U.S. CPAs to obtain the CA designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and be on the pathway to U.K. audit signing rights.

CAs, meanwhile, would have a clear path to the U.S. CPA designation and licensure under the Mutual Recognition Agreement signed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), ICAS, and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Eligible CAs and CPAs need only pass one exam, in addition to satisfying other requirements: 

  • CAs need only pass the International Qualification Exam (IQEX); and
  • CPAs need only complete the international qualification pathway.

To apply, a U.S. CPA must be a licensed CPA in good standing with a state board and have completed:

  • An undergraduate degree;
  • The Uniform CPA Examination;
  • State board experience requirements for licensure; and
  • Achieved two years of post-qualification practical work experience.

For CAs to take advantage of this agreement, they must be an ICAS member in good standing and have completed:

  • A baccalaureate (undergraduate) degree;
  • The ICAS CA qualification program;
  • Two years post-qualification relevant practical work experience.  

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said in a news release that the agreement will help build increased international recognition for U.S. CPAs in every corner of the world.

“We welcome the mutual recognition that is at the heart of this agreement,” he said. “It will give U.S. CPAs a clear and accelerated path to obtaining a credential in the United Kingdom. And the same is true of ICAS members with an interest in practicing in the United States.”

ICAS CEO Anton Colella said in a news release that the agreement comes at a pivotal point for the U.K.

“It not only creates new opportunities in the world of transatlantic trade, but also reinforces the high standing in which we hold our American colleagues, and the expertise they value in us,” he said.

Ken Tysiac ( is a JofA editorial director.


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