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State Board Report

November 2016

Based on input from the State Boards, the AICPA/NASBA Accreditation Task Force has identified the high priority items that the Boards are struggling with relative to evaluating the education required for CPA licensure. The Task Force has also assessed where control of these concerning items should exist. They concluded that regional accreditors should provide quality assurance for: transcript transparency; transfer credit practices; credit for life/work experience; credit awarded based on examination; on-line courses and programs; and competency-based work. NASBA Annual Meeting panelists Yvonne L. Hinson, Carlos E. Johnson and Jan R. Williams reported the Task Force would be meeting on November 4 to continue their work by developing recommendations for various accrediting associations.

Dr. Williams outlined several challenges that need to be overcome. These include: 1- Convincing the State Boards that regional accreditation is not sufficient. 2- Lack of responsiveness of regional accreditors to the needs of the State Boards. 3- Continuous evolution of accounting programs and higher education. 4- Diversity among regional accreditors. 5- Wide variation in program accreditors with respect to quality, rigor and frequency of their reviews. Dr. Hinson added that the AICPA does not have an official standpoint on regional accreditation.

The expected outcomes of the Task Force’s work include determination of: areas for reliance on regional accreditation; areas for reliance on program accreditation; and areas for State Boards to control, including disallowing courses and limiting the number of hours for various courses.

“All three of us agree that passing the Uniform CPA Examination does not a CPA make,” Dr. Johnson said. “We are a learned profession requiring a degree at essentially the master’s level. If we want to keep the status of law and other learned professions, we have to protect our status via the individuals coming into the profession.”

Other groups are focusing on this issue, Dr. Johnson noted, as in December the American Accounting Association will hold a conference to cover what accreditation means for accounting programs. The AACSB has also created a task force, including NASBA and AICPA representation, looking at this issue. On February 3, 2017 the AICPA/NASBA Accreditation Task Force will again meet with various accreditors to share their concerns and then in April 2017 the Task Force expects to submit their final recommendations to the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act Committee.

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