The NASBA Board of Directors’ July 26 meeting focused on the comments received at June’s Regional Meetings on the evolution of the CPA profession. “We have heard loud and clear that the State Boards do not want two pathways to CPA licensure,” NASBA President and CEO Ken Bishop stated, but NASBA Board members felt there are still questions being raised about the “Guiding Principles” for the evolution that were released in advance of the Regional Meetings (see sbr 7/19). While there seemed to be consensus that technology is impacting the profession, and that calls for timely changes to the Uniform CPA Examination to cover the required topics and for review of educational requirements, exactly what core knowledge must continue to be tested has yet to be specified.

“We do want people with IT expertise to be included within the CPA profession,” NASBA Vice Chair Laurie Tish told the NASBA Board. She pointed to the core services, such as attest, that many CPA firms are providing which now depend heavily on specialists within a CPA firm who are not CPAs as an example of the risk to the profession. While the Uniform Accountancy Act provides flexibility for candidates with different educational backgrounds to qualify to become CPAs, it was noted that many states have not adopted the exact wording of the UAA, nor its Model Rules.

The website, designed to collect comments on the Principles, received over 200 comments, NASBA Vice President – State Board Relations Daniel Dustin told the Regional Directors. In addition, comments made at the Regional Meetings’ breakout sessions and AICPA meetings were reported back to the CPA Evolution Task Force, being led by Ms. Tish and AICPA Chair Bill Reeb. The comments on the Guiding Principles are to be reviewed in early August, and then the group plans to move on to developing action steps, Ms. Tish told the Board of Directors. Her personal preliminary review of the comments received showed the views expressed by the NASBA-affiliated writers and those of the AICPA-affiliated writers were similar. The respondents generally agreed with the vision that the profession needs to be transformed, and that the principles are directionally correct, but they offered some wording changes to the Principles that remain for the Task Force to consider. Ms. Tish told the NASBA Board that the Task Force is eager to “get some meat on the bones” to show what changes are envisioned.

NASBA Education Committee Chair Stephanie Saunders (VA) told the NASBA Board that they are ready to work on suggestions for changes to the UAA’s requirements, but are awaiting the Task Force’s recommendations before proceeding.

Among the comments made at the Regional Meetings was that technology should not be viewed negatively as “disruptive” but in a more positive way as enhancing the profession. A report from the Evolution Task Force will be presented at NASBA’s Annual Meeting in October in Boston.

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