State Board Report
The first mutual recognition agreement (MRA) renewal using a new, more transparent format was signed by representatives of Chartered Accountants Ireland, NASBA and the AICPA on August 10, 2017. This agreement features an overall statement and then appendices that go into detail about what qualifications an applicant must have to take advantage of this abbreviated qualification pathway to the credential, what practice rights this agreement covers and how to go about receiving the credential. The agreement is clearly designed for those who have been in practice for several years, not new credential holders. Previous agreements did not go into the detail that this format features, clearly identifying what is needed to first be recognized by an accountancy body, earn a practice certificate and the right to audit public companies.
NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) Chair Sharon Jensen (MN) explained that, in developing this new format, it became clear that there are more steps to obtaining mutual recognition than had been contemplated in the early agreements. Though the goal is for professionals in one country to be recognized for their knowledge as professionals in another country, gaps to easy portability of credentials do exist. IQAB has been negotiating to smooth them out.
“NASBA/AICPA IQAB has been working toward international professional recognition for more than 20 years. However, we realize that there are differences in the education, examination and experience requirements and laws that hold those differences in place. It is a slow process of seeing how those laws can be interpreted to fit different environments, but we are trying to do that with willing partners. We were fortunate in having had Pat Costello, newly retired chief executive of the Irish Institute, working with us and we look forward to having Barry Dempsey, the current chief executive, working to close up some of the gaps in this agreement,” President Ken L. Bishop stated.
The agreement with the Chartered Accountants of Ireland enables CPAs from the US in good standing with their State Board of Accountancy to receive the Irish ACA credential with a minimum of three years of practical experience in the past ten years. To obtain a license to practice public accounting in Ireland the US CPA must become a member of the Chartered Accountants Ireland and have two additional years of experience in public practice after their admission to membership. To perform statutory audits they have to have at least two years of practical experience obtained with a statutory auditor or audit firm approved in an EU member state. The agreement states: “The Irish Institute undertakes to seek a determination from the Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority to grant the Irish Institute the authority to recognize practical audit experience obtained in the United States towards the above noted practical audit experience requirements.”
To be covered by this agreement, a holder of an Irish Chartered Accountant credential (ACA/FCA) must come through one of the education routes specified in the renewal agreement and have completed a minimum of three years relevant work experience prior to obtaining the ACA/FCA credential and being admitted to membership in the Irish Institute and an additional two years of relevant work experience after obtaining the ACA/FCA credential and being admitted to membership.
NASBA Chair Ted Lodden (IA) thanked IQAB members and staff for completing this renewal. He stated: “To be relevant and influential in our increasingly global economy, we must have MRAs in place. The new format of the MRA which is transparent and intuitive will be easier for the Boards to understand and provide a roadmap for us to mitigate all the gaps.”
The renewal agreement has been sent to all State Boards for their consideration and has been posted on www.nasba.org.
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