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State Board Report

July 2016

State Accountancy Boards should be requiring CPA candidates to have received their education from institutions that have more than regional accreditation, Dr. Jan Williams told the NASBA Regional Meetings. "Colleges vary in terms of quality control and accreditation can provide a direct indication of quality," he stated. Reporting on the January NASBA/AICPA forum with accreditors and the follow-up research being done by a NASBA/AICPA/AAA task force, Dr. Williams noted that some accreditors had not considered the differences in types of courses that appear on transcripts.

He told the Boards there are five points for them to remember:

  1. The higher education environment is truly dynamic and will continue to change.
  2. Quality issues among courses exist and it is difficult to assess the quality of credits on the college transcript.
  3. Accreditation has the potential to help, but it is not the only solution.
  4. Regional accreditation is a necessary but not sufficient accreditation. The accreditors at the NASBA/AICPA forum were surprised to hear what the Boards of Accountancy expected accreditation to do.
  5. Help is on the way in dealing with these quality issues.

 

The task force hopes to have rules that are more reflective of the current education environment, Dr. Williams reported. "I don’t think we have seen all the changes in education in 2016. We don’t know what will come up in the next few years."

The ways in which education is delivered have changed significantly from the time when most State Board members earned their degrees, Dr. Williams pointed out. Among the practices that complicate the interpretation of current transcripts are: credit for life or work experience, competency-based education, on-line courses and programs, expansion of co-op and internship programs, advanced coursework at community colleges, and credits earned outside the United States.

NASBA and the AICPA are planning to hold a second accreditation forum to continue the discussions held at the initial January 29, 2016 forum. Dr. Williams reported to the NASBA Regional Meetings that a joint NASBA/AICPA/AAA task force hopes to arrive at the following deliverables:

  1. Propose State Board language related to reliance on academic accreditation.
  2. Assist State Boards in judging the quality of academic programs.
  3. Identify areas best suited for limiting credit hours.

 

Members of the joint task force include: From NASBA – Raymond N. Johnson, Carlos E. Johnson, James Suh and Brentni Henderson; from AICPA – Joanne Fiore, Yvonne Hinson, Sharon Lassar and Steve Matzke; From AAA – Bruce Behn and Tracey Sutherland.

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