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State Board Report

July 2014

After six months of preparation, the Board of Examiners is three months into the Practice Analysis for the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination. BOE Chair Federick Niswander told the Regional Meetings: “The basic questions are: What do we test – and how do we test it? What is the look and feel of the Exam?” Ultimately the analysis will provide data to define the scope of the Uniform CPA Examination.

The AICPA is working with the BOE’s content committees and with 16 focus groups, including some drawn from the Boards of Accountancy. Currently the AICPA is about half way through meeting with the focus groups and then a survey will go to 3,000 individuals. There will be two formal comment periods on released documents: First, in the third quarter of 2014, there will be an invitation to comment on the content and then, in the middle of 2015, there will be a large exposure draft, Dr. Niswander stated.

“The Practice Analysis is so crucial, and NASBA will alert the Boards when the exposure drafts come out: This is when the Exam changes,” NASBA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Colleen K. Conrad told the Regional Meetings. Based on what is found in the Practice Analysis, the number of sections on the examination could change, the section make-up might change and other major alterations might be made.

Looking at recent domestic Examination candidate figures, Ms. Conrad observed that although more men are taking the Examination than women, the number remains close to even. Candidates are passing the Examination faster, with less overlapping years. Also those taking the Examination closest to their graduation date generally pass at a higher rate.

CPA candidate testing centers outside the United States were first launched three years ago and now exist in Japan, Brazil, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, with new locations under consideration, Ms. Conrad said. “Right now any U.S. citizen can take the Examination abroad, be they expats working overseas or in the military, for example. Citizens of the country where the Uniform CPA Examination is allowed to be taken as well as permanent residents of those jurisdictions can take the Examination outside the U.S.” Ms. Conrad said NASBA and AICPA are considering enabling those with student visas or long-term work visas to be allowed to take the Examination outside the U.S. The location of the CPA Examination testing centers are mutually agreed upon by NASBA, AICPA and Prometric. Sites are chosen based on projected volume of candidates, locations where Prometric already has test centers, and security considerations, such as cultural differences about the ethics of sharing questions.

While domestically the number of candidates 2012-2013 was fairly static, the number of international candidates from China grew almost 36 percent in one year, Saudi Arabia about 29 per cent and Jordan about 26 percent. Ms. Conrad said the international candidates had been surveyed as to why they take the Uniform CPA Examination and while many in industry said they use it to improve their profile and obtain pay increases, others reported they are dealing with the U.S. and having the CPA means having a valuable skill set.

While initial trends show that at least 50 percent of the international candidates will pursue and receive licensure, Ms. Conrad asked the Boards to consider what they want to do with the scores of those international candidates who do not get licensed within three years of passing all parts of the Examination, as required in their application to take the Examination abroad.

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