Launch of CPA Exam in Europe provides convenience for candidates

By Ken Tysiac

Beginning next month, CPA candidates in Europe will no longer have to undertake intercontinental travel to sit for the CPA Exam.

Nine Prometric test center locations in Europe will begin offering the CPA Exam on Oct. 1, the AICPA, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), and Prometric announced Wednesday. The exam will be offered in:

  • England (Bristol, London, and Manchester).
  • Scotland (Edinburgh).
  • Republic of Ireland (Cork and Dublin).
  • Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich).

“The U.S. license has global value, and there’s a large presence of multinational companies and major firms in this part of the world,” said Michael Decker, vice president–Examinations for the AICPA. “You add all that up, and … it’s a smart thing to do to work with NASBA and Prometric to administer the exam there.”

Some European nationals may also take the exam, but Decker expects the majority of candidates at those locations to be U.S. expatriates. Candidates can take the exam at the European locations if they are deemed eligible by a U.S. board of accountancy and are a resident of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, the United States, or any of the other European Union nations.

Approximately 300 candidates per year are initially expected to take the exam in each European country where it’s offered, and the success of the exam in other countries shows there is potential for many more candidates in the future. For example, since the exam was launched in Japan in 2011, more than 14,000 candidates have taken the exam there.

“The expansion of testing to the European Union is in direct response to the thousands of international exam candidates currently testing in Japan, the Middle East, and Brazil,” said NASBA Executive Vice President and COO Colleen Conrad, CPA. “Now, aspiring U.S. CPAs throughout the U.K., European Union, Norway, Switzerland, and the Russian Federation can test in the same way as candidates who reside in the United States.”

The exam’s other international locations are in Bahrain, Brazil, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. Regardless of where the exam is taken, the same rules apply. Candidates must meet all eligibility requirements, and the exam is given exclusively in English using tools and a format that’s identical to the exam offered in the United States.

“One of the core tenets is that we have consistent branding, consistent processes, consistent training, and consistent policies that our clients like the AICPA and NASBA ask us to do, so that the testing experience is identical whether you’re in Europe or Fargo, North Dakota,” said Mark Muth, vice president of client services and sales for Prometric. “The goal is the consistent, high-quality testing experience that allows them to do their best on the exam.”

Exam scheduling at the European locations is underway on the Prometric website. The International Qualification Examination (IQEX) also will be offered to eligible candidates at the new European locations. The IQEX is designed to facilitate the U.S. CPA qualification process for accounting professionals from other countries whose professional bodies have reciprocity agreements with the U.S. accounting profession.

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

SPONSORED REPORT

2018 financial reporting survey: Challenges and trends

Learn the top reporting challenges that emerged in a survey of more than 800 finance, accounting, and compliance professionals across the world, and compare them with your organization's obstacles.

PODCAST

How the skill set for today’s CFO is changing

Scott Simmons, a search expert for large-company CFOs, gives advice for the next generation of finance leaders and more, including which universities are regularly producing future CEOs and CFOs.