UAA Model Rules updated to support evolution of CPA licensure

By Ken Tysiac

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) board of directors has approved updated language to the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) Model Rules that will pave the way for the CPA Evolution project.

NASBA and the AICPA have worked together for years on CPA Evolution, an initiative designed to ensure that newly licensed CPAs will maintain the skills needed for success today and in the future. CPA Evolution will require each CPA candidate to demonstrate core skills in accounting, auditing, tax, and technology, plus more in-depth knowledge in one of the following three areas:

  • Tax compliance and planning.
  • Business analysis and reporting.
  • Information systems and controls.

The UAA Model Rules are designed to be a template for states as they create their rules and regulations for the accounting profession. By following the UAA Model Rules, state regulators enhance consistency across jurisdictions while promoting public protection, facilitating consumer choice, and supporting the efficient operation of the capital markets.

The changes approved by the NASBA board were endorsed by the AICPA board of directors and amend UAA Model Rules for education that have not been significantly updated since 2008. Although the Model Rule changes aren’t required for implementation of the CPA Evolution initiative, the amendments advance the project’s goal to create uniformity across all states and jurisdictions that license CPAs. The changes:

  • Recognize the ever-increasing impact that technology has on the profession today. “The Model Rules were amended to increase content, both in accounting and business, to embed data analytics, data analytics techniques, and data acumen into the curriculum so students will be exposed prior to entering the profession,” said Dan Dustin, CPA, vice president, state board relations for NASBA.
  • Increase the number of internship hours from six to nine that can be counted toward the 150 education hours required for licensure. “We’ve learned that some students were starting internships during their sophomore year,” Dustin said. “Students starting internships at the sophomore level could easily complete the maximum nine credit hours allowed.”
  • Reinforce the need for state boards to perform transcript evaluation on candidates for licensure regardless of the level of accreditation of the educational program they participated in. “While accreditation provides a guide to the quality of a program, the boards should verify that [candidates] are meeting the licensure requirements,” Dustin said.
  • Align the amendments with most state boards’ current practices. As a result, Dustin said, state boards will need to make minimal changes to adopt the new amendments to the UAA Model Rules.

The adoption of CPA Evolution will continue to require work from state boards in support of the profession’s embrace of the skills CPAs will need in the future. For example, Dustin said, “One of the 55 jurisdictions requires a statutory change, and seven would require rules changes because of current references to the current CPA Exam sections [AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG].”

The names of CPA Exam sections will change when the exam is altered to support CPA Evolution. One state, New York, already has made changes to address this issue, Dustin said. The UAA Model Rules amendments will take effect upon adoption, and the next step will be for state boards to evaluate their own rules to see if they need and want to make changes to conform to the model.

“There may be other changes to the Model Rules that boards will want to adopt in their jurisdictions,” Dustin said. “The regulatory team at the AICPA and the regulatory staff at NASBA are ready to assist the boards of accountancy and state societies to implement whatever changes they think are needed based on the Model Rules.”

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

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