State Board Report

November 2011

After about six years of negotiations, a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) was signed on October 24 by the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs, and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. “Hong Kong needs accounting talent to match its economic growth,” HKICPA Chief Executive Winnie C.W. Cheung told the NASBA Annual Meeting as the historic agreement was signed. According to the HKICPA’s statistics, there are over 3,000 CPAs eligible under this agreement, she said. This agreement now gives the HKICPA agreements with all the founding institutions represented in the Global Accounting Alliance.

President David A. Costello thanked the HKICPA representatives who attended the Annual Meeting. He told the State Boards: “Now you see faces here – real professionals who represent a highly competent organization. It is about a global kind of agreement.” This was the first MRA negotiated by the NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) with an Asian professional association.

“This agreement gives the 1400 U.S. CPAs in Hong Kong an opportunity to become partners in firms,” AICPA Chair Barry Melancon announced. “Many CPAs there have already begun the process to take the exam.” Mr. Melancon thanked NASBA/AICPA IQAB Chair William Treacy along with the members of IQAB for completing this agreement.

“CPAs in Hong Kong are now recognized by the largest capital market in the world,” HKICPA Chair Tsai Wing Chung observed. He said that Hong Kong is “rated one of the most trusted economic systems in the world,” and he envisioned the MRA as the “start of a long promising future.”

The agreement has been sent to the State Boards for their adoption. At the beginning of November, 10 states had already reported to NASBA that they would honor the MRA with HKICPA and another six states said they would be voting on its approval at their November/December Board meeting.

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