State Board Report

May 2012

It has been approximately 10 years since the NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (CICA) International Qualifications Appraisal Board have come together for a meeting, but the proposed merging of Canada’s professional accounting designations may have bearing on the longstanding mutual recognition agreement (MRA) created by the two bodies, that is coming up for renewal next year. Also in attendance at the April 30 meeting in Washington, DC, were representatives of the Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos, which in 2008 became a cosigner of the MRA, making it a three-party agreement.

Douglas Baker, chair of Canadian IQAB, told the joint meeting: "This tri-partite agreement is the most important MRA to us." He explained that the current discussion of merging the CA, CMA and CGA designations is meant to unify the accounting profession in Canada with a single set of standards. Each of Canada’s ten provinces and two territories has a CGA, CMA and CA body, plus national organizations, which translates into 39 bodies plus the Bermuda Institute that need to be brought together to determine how this merger will take place, Mr. Baker noted. He assured the U.S. IQAB that the CICA takes pride in the rigor of its examination process and nothing will change the quality of its program.

The government in Quebec has been the real driver of the merger, Richard Rees, IQAB member from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia, told the meeting. Legislation has been introduced and will be enacted in Quebec by mid-May, he said. The CICA has produced a unification framework to serve as a platform for provincial bodies to review and consider unification and, as a means to engage members, governments, regulators and other important stakeholders. Those who come through the merged program will have the title Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and those who are current designation holders will then use a comma after CPA to indicate the designation under which they qualify – CPA, CA or CPA, CGA or CPA, CMA.

NASBA/AICPA IQAB Chair William Treacy asked if all the current holders of the CA, CGA and CMA will be "grandfathered" into the new designation? Mr. Rees said the intention is to move everyone to one designation and a single qualifying program going forward.

Tashia Batstone, chairman of the CICA’s Professional Learning Committee, reported a competency map for the CPA certification model, covering both technical and enabling competencies, is to be released in fall 2012. The certification program will require: academic prerequisites for admission in conjunction with an undergraduate degree; post-graduate twoyear CPA professional education program; examinations including a multi-day final examination; and relevant practical experience. Also under consideration is a certificate program for those who are interested in accounting but who do not wish to pursue full certification as a CPA.

NASBA/AICPA IQAB voted to recommend extending the current MRA with the CICA until December 31, 2015 to allow U.S. IQAB time to determine how the new program will impact the MRA’s provisions. The representatives of the Instituto Mexicano Contadores Publicos who were present at the meeting agreed to the extension. This recommendation will be voted on at the next meeting of the AICPA and NASBA Boards of Directors this summer.

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