The CPA Evolution Working Group has started looking for an “organic solution” of how to bring IT expertise into qualifying to become a CPA. NASBA President Ken Bishop told NASBA’s 111th Annual Meeting, October 28-31 in Scottsdale, AZ, that NASBA and AICPA have created a joint team of “people who are not afraid to speak up.” The Working Group includes: Catherine Allen (NY) – Chair, Tom Broderick, Mark Dawkins, Clay Huffman (GA), Audrey Katcher, Rick Niswander, Todd Shapiro, Susan Somers (KS), Nancy Juron, Michael Womble (NC) and Alfonzo Alexander – facilitator. President Bishop said he believes the process will be slow, but the aim is to have recommendations brought back to NASBA’s 112th Annual Meeting in Boston.

The technology pathway to the CPA announced earlier in 2018 “got the attention of educators, the press, large firms, colleges and universities,” President Bishop observed. “And sometimes putting a bright light on things gets action.” While that pathway did not meet with the Boards’ support, the expectation is this Working Group, which has held an initial meeting, will be developing a plan that will enjoy wide support.

“We don’t pretend to be 10 sages who know the answer: At this stage, what we are doing is collecting information from as many sources as possible,” Ms. Allen explained. Kansas Board Executive Director Susan Somers has already sent out a request to the State Boards’ executive directors for input.

The objective developed at their first meeting is: “To protect the public interest, the AICPA and NASBA are exploring ways to evolve the CPA licensure model to integrate technological and analytical expertise.”

President Bishop stressed the need to adapt to the market in several ways. This includes moving toward rapid communication of Uniform CPA Examination scores and continuing professional education courses that meet the needs of a changing marketplace. He stressed that part of achieving transparency, one of NASBA’s strategic goals, involves getting out in front of changes, not waiting for them to come to you, and making that information available to the member Boards. He also encouraged the Boards to bring information back to NASBA when they see trends developing.

He recalled the mobility task force created in 2007 by then NASBA Chair Wesley Johnson and then NASBA President David Costello: “There were some loud voices that tried to keep NASBA and AICPA from going down that path. But when we got out to the Boards and societies, beyond the loud voices, we found people agreed. We want to keep discussion alive so that the softer voices have an opportunity to opine.”

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