Our members are Chartered Accountants (Chartered Professional Accountants in Canada) from England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. To become a CA you must complete the program in these countries. For information on becoming a CA, check our Home Institute links.
ACAUS is working with NASBA, AICPA and the Home Institutes to identify potential pathways to simplify and facilitate more of our members to obtaining their CPA. As of February 2020, all our Home institutes except ICAEW have active Mutual Recognition Agreements in place. ICAEW is currently in discussion about obtaining this for its members.
Members should note that while the agreement with NASBA/AICPA is a general agreement, it is not binding on individual states. Most US states recognize it in full, but some do not and the acceptance of the unilateral approach usually requires changes to state legislation. To address this, many members have sat IQEX in a different state to the state in which they reside.
MRAs, which provide for reciprocal practice rights for Chartered Accountants and CPAs, are already in place for a number of countries. NASBA and AICPA have in recent years reworked and renegotiated previous agreements with the institutes in Canada, Ireland and Australia/New Zealand. It has also added agreements with Scotland and South Africa. The latter as of 1st January 2020. ICAEW is also in discussion for a similar agreement as of February 2020.
Since the Canadian profession unified its MRA was renegotiated as the legacy CGAs and CMAs were not part of the original agreement. The renegotiated agreement was signed at the end of 2017. All members of CPA Canada are eligible to sit for the IQEX as long as they meet the requirements under the new MRA. Certain candidates will require additional experience and education in order to meet the audit practice requirement for the eligibility. These candidates will need to consult CPA Canada and their provincial bodies to determine their exact requirements.
Where there is no MRA in place, members have been unable to take advantage of the MRA route to become CPAs. Becoming a CPA for members of these institutes requires evaluation of their education and experience and, in many cases, requires additional educational credits. Obtaining these can be costly and time consuming. In relative terms, taking the CPA exam itself can be easier than meeting the criteria to do so.
Many States use the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) as a template for their regulation of the accountancy profession. The UAA contains a set of model regulations and is maintained by NASBA and AICPA.
Section 6 (g) of the Uniform Accountancy Act has recently been amended to allow for the States to accept unilateral recognition of foreign designations. The criteria are that:
- Foreign designation is duly issued from an authorized foreign accounting body.
- The candidate is in good standing with the accounting body.
- The candidate is able to opine on financial statements (have audit practice credentials).
- The candidate’s education, experience and examination are similar to that which a US CPA is required to obtain.
State Boards can rely on IQAB to identify which foreign accounting bodies are considered substantially equivalent. IQAB has drafted their procedure for evaluating the equivalence, but our understanding is that (for example) the ICAEW qualifications have already been favorably evaluated.
Want a CPA?
While the CA designation is world-recognized, you must hold a CPA license in order to sign off accounts in the US. The CPA designation is the most widely understood designation for potential employers around the country. Each State has its own educational eligibility for examination and licensing requirements. Also each States’ Rules and Regulations are ever changing.
You must contact the State Board of Accountancy where you wish to be licensed, before you plan to write any exams. Please contact the applicable State Board before undertaking any course of study based on these guidelines.
NASBA has a new International Evaluation program to assist in eligibility to sit for the CPA examination. NIES (NASBA International Evaluation Service) has a few different services to evaluate your international education and provide the best options for getting approval for the CPA Examination and licensure based on the education you have completed.
International Qualification Exam
CPA Canada, CAI, CAANZ, ICAS and SAICA have Mutual Reciprocity Agreements with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
The power of these Mutual Reciprocity Agreements is that their members wanting to work with a US CPA qualification, in the USA now have a fast track career route open to them.
The current form of this exam is the Regulation portion of the CPA examination. Please check with NASBA for the most updated eligibility criteria.