Extraordinary times have called for extraordinary measures: As CPA testing centers were closed down, Prometric was cancelling scheduled appointments and was allowing candidates to reschedule at their convenience. NASBA recommended to all Boards of Accountancy that all candidates who have Notices to Schedule (NTS) expiring April 1 through June 30, 2020 be given an extension to September 30, 2020. In addition, the second quarter testing window was extended from June 10, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Then in late April, as some states were talking about starting back to business, Prometric announced it will resume testing for the CPA Examination in the United States as of May 1 in specific locations, as federal guidance has the CPA profession falling under “essential services.” Candidates have been advised to check https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-updates for updates and site closure information.
NASBA also recommended Boards of Accountancy consider offering a grace period until October 31, 2020 for completing continuing professional education requirements for those licensees who have CPE reporting years ending on or before October 31, 2020. NASBA wrote to the Boards: “The use of a grace period will allow licensees adequate time to adjust their continuing education learning methods due to recent cancellations of conferences and live CPE events across the country, and to meet the growing demands of their clients during this difficult time. It will also allow Boards of Accountancy the time to assess the impact COVID-19 has had on their operations and to prioritize important Board activities.”
Accountancy Boards have been working in different ways to serve the public. For example, Massachusetts allowed in-person visits by the public to the Board’s office, but only on an appointment basis. Nebraska went from one staff person at a time in its Board Office, to an all remote office when there was an increase in the COVID-19 threat. Virtual Accountancy Board meetings were made possible in Montana, Tennessee and Wyoming, and Delaware will allow the public to participate via phone. California is permitting documents to be scanned and e-mailed to a designated address.
The Texas Board, on March 12, adopted an emergency rule revision to its Rule 511.57 Qualified Accounting Courses to eliminate the requirement that at least 15 of a candidate’s 30 semester hours of upper division accounting courses must be from classes held in-person. This was done in recognition of many universities moving their classes online because of COVID-19 concerns. The revision is good for 120 days, commencing on March 12 but not retroactively, and may be extended for another 60 days by the Board.
How Boards are working through the COVID-19 environment will be discussed during NASBA’s June virtual Regional Meetings.
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