An in-depth staff report on the progress of the CPA Evolution Initiative was presented at the NASBA/AICPA leadership semi-annual Summit meeting in February. Meeting attendees spent three hours hearing outcomes from the Education and Examination Advisory Groups, as well as feedback received since October from more than 1,000 stakeholders, including State Board members and executive directors, state societies, licensees, educators and students. Stakeholder feedback received to date has been generally positive to the core and disciplines model presented at the Annual Meeting (see sbr 12/19).

Based on the suggestions, questions and comments of the Advisory Groups and broader stakeholder feedback, NASBA/AICPA leadership requested that staff begin drafting possible amendments to the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and/or Model Rules to recommend to the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act Committee in support of the CPA Evolution Initiative.

Initial analysis of the laws and rules currently in place suggests that amendments would not be required to either the UAA or the Model Rules with respect to the Uniform CPA Examination. However, if the names of the Examination’s sections were revised, there are currently seven jurisdictions that would need to amend their rules and one jurisdiction that would need to amend its statute to accommodate such changes.

As for education, it is anticipated that amendments will be proposed in an effort to construct Model Rules that are more closely aligned to existing Board of Accountancy rules.

In the coming days, comprehensive updates of the CPA Evolution Initiative will be presented during four webinars scheduled for the week of March 23. All State Board members and executive directors are encouraged to participate in one of these webinars. Invitations to the Boards were sent by NASBA Chief Communications Officer Thomas Kenny on February 13, 2020.

Q&As on the CPA Evolution Initiative

Over the last few months, there have been some common themes in questions asked by stakeholders. The following questions and answers address two of the issues raised most frequently:

Q: What would be included in the core?

A: NASBA and the AICPA anticipate that not all of the content covered by the current CPA Examination and curricula will be considered “core” under the new licensure model. Instead, certain advanced content could be incorporated into the disciplines.

The specific content of the core and disciplines would be determined based on an analysis of current curricula and the necessary changes to adopt the new licensure model.

These changes would result in revisions to the Model Rules for education and may require changes to the State Boards’ education and licensure requirements. A CPA Examination practice analysis would follow.
As a part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the validity and reliability of the Examination, the AICPA conducts periodic practice analyses to gather information about the current state of the profession and the work of newly licensed CPAs. These research initiatives identify changes which are needed to update the CPA Exam and maintain its alignment with professional practice. Comments on the practice analysis conducted in 2019 (see sbr 12/19) are due to the Board of Examiners by April 30, 2020.

Q: Would candidates who become CPAs under the proposed model be able to practice outside of their chosen discipline?

A: Yes, given they have the required competence.

Regardless of chosen discipline (Business Reporting and Analysis, Information Systems and Controls, or Tax Compliance and Planning), this model leads to a full CPA license, with rights and privileges consistent with any other CPA. This includes rights to sign audit and attest reports, as the core will give every candidate a strong base in accounting, auditing, tax and technology.

However, ethical requirements dictate that CPAs only undertake those professional services that they expect to complete with professional competence. Competence means the CPA or their staff possess the appropriate technical qualifications to perform the professional service and that, as required, the CPA supervises and evaluates the quality of work performed.

Please visit for these and other questions about the CPA Evolution Initiative.

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