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State Board Report

November 2013

When the NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Board (IQAB) evaluates partners for mutual recognition agreements (MRAs), those evaluations are tied to the education, experience and examination requirements for CPA licensure as stated in the Uniform Accountancy Act, IQAB Chair Emeritus William Treacy told the Annual Meeting. Currently IQAB is considering agreements with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. “If we were to complete the agreements with those three accountancy bodies, plus the six we already have in place, we would probably have reached the point where we have exhausted the model calling for substantial equivalence to the U.S. model. Consequently, we are looking to see if there are other pathways to international mobility,” he told the Boards.

“You might ask why State Boards should care. The fact of the matter is that we are affected by globalization. There are many networks, consisting of hundreds of firms, all having international interests. The Association of Chartered Accountants in the United States has 9,000 members, many very seasoned accountants. They are here and would like to be recognized,” Mr. Treacy stated. “We are tied to the three Es and that is not what is happening in the rest of the world, where the emphasis is on experience. Their emphasis is on learning outcomes, apprenticeship and mentorship. We have the lowest amount of required experience, with one year. We are having trouble matching up our qualifications with those of the profession outside the U.S.”

Many state laws authorize the granting of a certificate provided the standards of the non-U.S. body are as high as the state’s and that there is the ability to have a quid pro quo granting of practice rights in the partner organization’s home country. Mr. Treacy noted, India, for example, has good qualifications, but it has not signed off on any trade agreement to permit reciprocal audit rights. “We want to build on the MRAs,” he said.

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