Working group considers changes to CPA licensing requirements

By Ken Tysiac

A working group formed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA is exploring possible changes to the CPA licensure requirements that would incorporate the skills and competencies in areas such as technology and data analytics that increasingly are needed in practice and business.

Through an effort known as the CPA Evolution project, NASBA and the AICPA have discussed possible approaches to the changing demands in the accounting profession. NASBA and the AICPA have consulted with various stakeholders on this issue in an effort to help the profession meet the challenge.

After receiving feedback, NASBA and the AICPA formed a working group to consider how to modify the requirements for CPA licensure while continuing to protect the public. The CPA Evolution Working Group includes representatives from:

  • State CPA societies.
  • The accounting academic community.
  • State boards of accountancy.
  • CPA firms of all sizes from across the country.
  • NASBA and AICPA volunteer committees.

The working group will have its second meeting today and is chaired by Cathy Allen, CPA, a managing member of Audit Conduct LLC and a member of NASBA’s board of directors.

“Technological innovation and changing client demands are rapidly transforming the skills accountants need to thrive,” Allen said. “We want to reimagine the CPA learning and licensure approach. Working group members recognize the critical role of technological and data analysis expertise needed in firms and businesses today. Our goal is to recommend a strategy that provides the guiding principles for how to build related knowledge and skills into accounting curricula and how to test for those proficiencies on the CPA Exam.”

The working group will meet throughout this winter, with plans to make a recommendation on the path forward regarding the licensing requirements to be shared with state boards, state societies, CPAs and firms, and other stakeholders next year.

In addition to Allen, the members of the CPA Evolution Working Group are:

  • Tom Broderick, CPA, CGMA, managing principal, BPW&C.
  • Mark Dawkins, CPA, CGMA, dean, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida.
  • Clay Huffman, CPA, senior manager, Frazier & Deeter LLC.
  • Nancy Wolven-Juron, CPA, partner, Deloitte LLP.
  • Audrey Katcher, CPA/CITP, CGMA, partner, RubinBrown LLP.
  • Rick Niswander, CPA, CGMA, professor, East Carolina University.
  • Todd Shapiro, president and CEO, Illinois CPA Society.
  • Susan Somers, executive director, Kansas Board of Accountancy.
  • Michael Womble, CPA/ABV/CFF, managing partner, Williams Overman Pierce LLP.

Sue Coffey, CPA, CGMA, the AICPA executive vice president–Public Practice, said outreach to stakeholders has revealed that members of the profession support evolving the approach to licensure.

“Based on what we’ve heard, there is no question that the profession is ready to take action on the opportunities that technology presents to us,” Coffey said. “That includes an evolution in our approach to licensure that embraces the changes and continues our public protection mandate. I’m looking forward to the working group’s recommendations and engaging with the profession and our key stakeholders throughout 2019.”

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editorial director.

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