The mutual recognition agreement with CPA Australia recently approved by the NASBA and AICPA Boards of Directors (see sbr 5/18) includes details of courses, examinations and experience to be earned for eligibility for the US CPA, but it also includes a requirement that the holder of the CPA Australia credential be a citizen or legal resident of Australia or New Zealand. NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) Chair Sharon A. Jensen, speaking at the Western Regional Meeting, and Past IQAB Chair Telford A. Lodden, speaking at the Eastern Regional Meeting, explained this restriction is based on IQAB’s evaluation of a fourth E, in addition to the standard education, examination and experience requirements for licensure. That fourth E is environment – cultural, business and economic environment.

CPA Australia has established relationships with both the regulators in Australia and New Zealand that enables holders of its credential to have a clear path to obtaining audit rights in those countries. However, 27 percent of the holders of the CPA Australia credential are offshore and those individuals are not covered by this MRA as similar relationships with regulators have not been established.

For a US CPA to obtain a license to perform statutory audits in Australia or New Zealand, he or she will need to have at least 3,000 hours of audit experience during the last five years, after holding a practice certificate, which can be obtained through CPA Australia.

“In other countries, the accounting profession has a tiered structure,” Ms. Jensen noted. “Audit authority is difficult to obtain and that is the gap that has been clearly shown in the new MRAs,” she stated. The recognition as a member of the MRA partner body can be obtained fairly readily under these agreements, but to have the authority to sign an audit report takes added experience, usually in the other country.

During the past year, besides the CPA Australia agreement, IQAB has renewed the mutual recognition agreements with CPA Canada, Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Públicos and Chartered Accountants of Ireland and developed an agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Attendees at the Regional Meetings were asked to consider requiring additional experience for a firm doing attest work (see story on page 2). Boards have been requested to discuss the concept and provide input to their Regional Directors.

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