Kim Farace

Prometric, the testing center provider for the Uniform CPA Examination, is continually investing in technology and software, Kimberly Farace, Prometric Director of Global Account Management, assured the executive directors at their conference. The company invested over $23 million last year and now has a running distributed data center. This year they are upgrading their Microsoft operating systems to Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10, with the platform pilot refresh scheduled to begin in July 2019 and the complete refresh scheduled for all test centers by April 2020. Ms. Farace added that hardware will be updated as needed during the software upgrade process.

The second half of 2019 will also see a change in Prometric’s user interface that will allow the candidates to use their cell phones optimally, Ms. Farace announced. The new interface will enable candidates to search over a range of dates and across a group of geographically adjacent test centers to schedule a seat by date and geographical location.

Global security consultants have been engaged by Prometric and new security devices are continually being pilot tested, Ms. Farace reported. Standard test center procedures already include checking for spyware in eyeglasses, collection of jewelry that could contain small cameras, use of metal detector wands, fingerprinting, emptying of pockets and diligent proctoring.

Candidate complaints are being addressed. For example, complaints about dry pens have resulted in Prometric staff now including in their standard procedure checking if the pens are still inked. Ms. Farace said beginning in April Prometric is pilot testing note board packets, to address candidates’ complaints that they need more space for writing down their work.

Several of the executive directors raised questions about when a testing center might be closed. Ms. Farace explained that if a university closes down because of weather conditions, and the testing center is in the university, then it will close down as well. If there is a change in demand for seats at a testing center, then centers will be closed or opened to meet that demand. If a center has not addressed failures identified by “secret shopper” inspections, then the staff’s entire staff may be changed so as not to risk the center’s security, she stated.

The CPA Examination Review Board, chaired by Barbara A. Ley (OK) with Sheena Murphy serving as staff liaison, conduct “secret shopper” inspections as part of their work program on behalf of the State Boards.

Related News

Full Issue