Author: Andy Goldstein, NASBA Electronic Media Specialist and Webmaster
NASBA’s Client Services Department receives hundreds of phone calls in any given week, and our Candidate Service Associates answer a variety of Uniform CPA Examination-related questions on a daily basis.
There seems to be a recurring theme in some of the phone calls we receive; some confusion in regard to the application process. Specifically, candidates aren’t quite sure where they are supposed to submit their required information and fees when applying to take the CPA Exam.
To try to help alleviate some of the confusion, below are brief descriptions of a couple of NASBA’s CPA Exam-related services, with a detailed explanation of how the application process works in all 55 states and territories:
But first, what exactly is NASBA?
NASBA stands for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
Each U.S. state and territory has its own Board of Accountancy. NASBA’s mission is to enhance the effectiveness and advance the common interests of all 55 of these Boards. NASBA provides numerous services that encourage uniformity across the country in order to facilitate interstate practice.
NASBA takes on the role of a central clearinghouse – where all states and territories submit information on eligible candidates, and from which all states and territories receive advisory scores and other examination data.
NASBA serves two distinct groups, one of which is NASBA’s membership, which consists of the 55 Boards of Accountancy and those who are currently serving, or have previously served, on a Board of Accountancy’s Board of Directors.
The second group NASBA serves is CPA Exam applicants. It’s important to note that to apply for the CPA Exam, or to utilize any of NASBA’s CPA Exam resources, you do not need to be a NASBA member. In fact, if you’re an Exam candidate and you’ve somehow made your way to the “Member Center” section of NASBA.org, you’re in the wrong place.
Despite popular misconception, NASBA does not create the content of the CPA Exam, nor is it responsible for grading and scoring the Exam.
The National Candidate Database (NCD)
The NCD is a database of CPA candidate information created to help NASBA, Boards of Accountancy, the AICPA and the testing centers protect the personal data provided by candidates during application and Exam processes. It is a central repository for all CPA Exam candidate information.
With the ability to track a candidate’s history throughout the duration of the CPA Exam life cycle, the NCD is a powerful tool for managing testing information.
CPA Examination Services (CPAES)
CPAES is NASBA’s flagship program. It provides a comprehensive array of CPA Exam-related services to 33 participating states and territories. A few of these services include application processing, credential evaluations and score reporting.
NASBA’s role in the application process
In regard to the CPA Exam application process, the 55 states and territories can be separated into three different groups:
Below is a listing of the states and territories represented by CPAES:
* CNMI is represented by CPAES, but is not accepting applications at this time.
If you are applying to take the CPA Exam in one of these states or territories, you will submit your application online via the CPAES online application system, and will deal directly with CPAES throughout the application process. You will also submit all required documentation and fees to CPAES, and will not need to contact the Board of Accountancy during the application process.
Once you have submitted all required information and fees, CPAES will send your application information to the NCD for processing. This packet of application information is known as the Authorization To Test (ATT). Once the NCD has successfully processed and accepted the ATT, you will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS), which enables you to schedule your testing appointment through Prometric.
Below is a listing of the non-CPAES states and territories that don’t require a Payment Coupon:
If you are applying to take the CPA Exam in one of these states or territories, you will apply directly through its Board of Accountancy and pay all applicable fees directly to the Board.
Once you have submitted all required information and paid all required fees to the Board, they will send your application information to the NCD for processing. After the NCD has processed and accepted your application information (the ATT), you will receive your NTS and can go ahead and schedule your testing appointment through Prometric.
Below is a listing of the non-CPAES states and territories that require a Payment Coupon:
If you are applying to take the CPA Exam in one of these states or territories, you will apply directly through its Board of Accountancy and pay the application fees directly to the Board. When you have submitted all required documentation and paid your application fees, the Board will send your application information to the NCD for processing. After the NCD has processed and accepted your application information (the ATT), the NCD will issue you a Payment Coupon so that you can pay the remaining required examination fees.
Once you have submitted your Payment Coupon to NASBA, the NCD will issue your NTS and you can schedule your testing appointment through Prometric once you receive it.
If you submitted your application directly to a Board of Accountancy, you are required to contact that specific Board for instructions and assistance. If you submitted your application to CPAES, contact them directly at 800-CPA-EXAM or email@example.com. For questions or issues regarding payment coupons, please call 866-MY-NASBA.
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