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Author: Andy Goldstein, NASBA Electronic Media Specialist and Webmaster
Posted: June 12, 2012

On July 2, NASBA will take a huge step toward furthering its "Mission Driven – Member Focused" initiative by launching NASBA International Evaluation Services, providing international credential evaluations for CPA examination and licensing candidates – a service that many state boards of accountancy have wanted NASBA to provide for years.

What exactly is an international credential evaluation?

If a CPA examination candidate was educated outside the U.S., he/she would need to have an international evaluation service evaluate their education before applying to take the CPA exam. This evaluation is conducted to ensure education completed outside the U.S. meets the educational requirements of the jurisdiction where the candidate wants to apply. After passing the CPA exam, a CPA licensing candidate would potentially have to repeat this process when applying for licensure, even if he/she is applying to the same jurisdiction where he/she sat for the exam.

For some international evaluation services, the minimum turnaround time during peak application season is six to eight weeks, which causes a significant delay in the application process for candidates. The difficultly and time-consuming nature of this process is due to the complexities of the global education system. This intricacy was one of the reasons NASBA decided to step into the international education arena with this new service.

"In our business of administering the CPA exam and licensure for state boards, we have a good deal of interaction with this audience, and in our experience, we've seen first-hand the redundancy in the process and the aggravation that causes candidates," said James Suh, NASBA's Director of Continuous Improvement & Analytics. "It reached a point where state boards were frustrated with the lack of standardization among service providers and began looking to us to help provide a solution. With our connection to the accounting profession and our expertise in the CPA exam and licensure application process, conducting international evaluation services seems a natural extension of our service to the boards."

One of the first steps NASBA took in creating this new service offering was hiring Brentni Henderson-King as Manager of NASBA's International Evaluation Services. Henderson-King previously worked at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY, where she spent more than two years performing international evaluations.

Henderson-King said that despite the number of educational systems that are patterned after the U.S., education abroad is very different from domestic education, especially regarding treatment toward general education courses. Some of the main elements she and her growing staff will evaluate when looking at a candidate's international education are grades, credit and GPA. As part of the evaluation process, those items will be converted into a comparable measurement within our system.

"I think it's going to be very beneficial to NASBA to have this process in place, as well as to the applicants, because we're more of a one-stop shop now," said Henderson-King. "There's a cost-benefit associated with that. Candidates won't have to pay three or four different application fees to get copies of their official evaluation report. For jurisdictions where NASBA handles both the exam application process and licensing, this could shave months off processing time."

Currently, the Kansas and Washington boards of accountancy have joined the pilot phase of the NASBA International Evaluation Services launch.

Susan Somers, Executive Director of the Kansas Board of Accountancy, said she is excited about the consistency and accuracy that NASBA's services will provide to its CPA exam candidates.

"This service will ensure continuity in the evaluation of foreign transcripts for Kansas exam candidates so that all transcript evaluations will be on an even playing field," said Somers. "We are pleased that NASBA is offering this service and that they will be incorporated into the group of foreign evaluation services accepted by the board."

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