AICPA and NASBA Working Together

August 21, 2019

AICPA and NASBA recently introduced the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL), a coalition focused on educating lawmakers and the public about the importance of maintaining rigorous professional licensing standards for advanced professions such as accounting, architecture and engineering.

The ARPL was created in response to the movement to diminish government licensing of certain professions and businesses. Other members include the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers. The ARPL’s goal is to ensure these professions’ concerns are heard by lawmakers.

“Weakening professional licensing standards on a state-by-state basis will destroy the confidence in qualifications and completely disrupt existing mobility models for advanced professions like ours,” AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon said in a statement. “Employers will be less inclined to accept out-of-state licenses if some states have rigorous requirements, and others have weak requirements. The result: It will become more difficult for CPAs to move and maintain their careers across states.”

In addition to the announcement of the formation of the ARPL, AICPA and NASBA continue to work together on the CPA Evolution Project. The project began almost two years ago and will ascertain how the CPA license must evolve to keep pace with technology and market place demands. AICPA met with the Big Four firms and its Governing Council before moving to get feedback from its general membership as well as regulatory agencies. Both AICPA and NASBA plan to seek more input before anything is finalized with the project.

A substantial amount of feedback has been provided regarding the need for more technological skills, particularly in response to rapidly changing audit standards. Some of the skills that may be needed include those in data analysis and science, IT systems and controls, understanding correlations among data sets and understanding how new technologies affect quality control.

Although the new skill sets have yet to be defined by AICPA and NASBA, both organizations state the feedback they’ve received thus far generally acknowledges a preference for one path and set of core skills to become a CPA. Therefore, they will continue to review feedback to eventually determine what changes will be made in the licensure model in the areas of education, examination and experience.

As AICPA and NASBA continue to accept CPA Evolution input, they are working on an exposure draft with plans for release in the near future. AICPA will reveal some of the details of the proposed program at its Council meeting in October for feedback; then another round of discussion will take place to determine if the proposal is workable. The organizations hope to have the revised licensure model finalized sometime in 2020.

For more information on CPA Evolution, visit www.evolutionofcpa.org. For more information about ARPL, visit www.responsiblelicensing.org.