The International Uniform: CPA Qualification Examination

By Booker, Quinton; Blum, James D. et al. | The CPA Journal, December 1999 | Go to article overview

The International Uniform: CPA Qualification Examination


Booker, Quinton, Blum, James D., Treacy, William, The CPA Journal


In Brief

Options for the Global Accountant

As business and finance become increasingly global in scope, it is natural that accountants will increasingly be global travelers. Yet, accounting licensure remains the province of countless state and national governments. For those with international ambition, however there is continuing development on international reciprocity, and some arrangments are already in place.

The International Uniform CPA Qualification Examination (IQEX) is a start, allowing Canadian and Australian CAs to practice in the United States. U.S. CPAs desiring to gain the Canadian CA designation can seed reciprocity through the Chartered Accountants Reciprocity Examination (CARE). International reciprocity movements are also under way for the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Mexico.

A Canadian chartered accountant (CA) and member of a Canadian provincial institute of chartered accountants, A.B. Warner is relocating to the United States. Having many years of auditing experience in Canada, Warner has applied for and accepted employment in the New York office of an international accounting firm. He has inquired about the process necessary for a Canadian CA to become a CPA in the United States and has discovered that he need not complete the Uniform CPA Qualification Examination. He can apply for and get reciprocity from most state boards of accountancy (providing lie also meets the specific educationsl requirements of the state) by completing International Uniform CPA Qualification Examination (IQEX).

The first international reciprocity examination, the Canadian Chartered Accountant Uniform CPA Qualification Examination (CAQEX). was administered in 1993 exclusively for Canadian chartered accountants. Today, both Canadian chartered accountants and most Australian chartered accountants that wish to become CPAs in the United States may take IQEX instead of the Uniform CPA Examination.

Why International Reciprocity?

In the United States, CPA certificates are issued bv 54 independent jurisdictions (150 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Since all CPA certificates rest substantially on the same foundation (i.e., the Uniform CPA Examination), the 54 jurisdictions have processes to promote reciprocal licensing among jurisdictions. This enhances the prestige of the CPA designation and simplifies interstate practice.

In today's global business environment, international reciprocity for professional accountants has become an increasing concern. International reciprocity simplifies cross-border practice and enhances the prestige of professional accountancy. Furthermore, today's accounting environment has been influenced greatly by international agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). While these agreements do not require signatory countries to enter into professional licensure reciprocity agreements, they do impose an obligation to work toward international reciprocity,

How Does International Reciprocity Work? International accountancy reciprocity begins with a principles of reciprocity agreement between a professional accounting body in another country and the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB). Since the rights to issue CPA licenses or certificates are established at the state level, all IQAB reciprocal licensing agreements are advisory to the state licensing authority.

The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) jointly established IQAB to negotiate international reciprocity agreements. Composed of six members from the AICPA and six from NASBA, IQAB screens all requests to enter reciprocity agreements based on established criteria. A professional accounting body that passes the initial screening must complete an IQAB questionnaire and provide selected documentation on requirements to become a professional accountant in that country. …

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