AICPA and NASBA sign mutual recognition pact with South African accountants

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The American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy have inked a mutual recognition agreement with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, effective Jan. 15, 2020.

The deal provides a pathway for South African Chartered Accountants and U.S. CPAs to have their credentials recognized in both their countries.

Under the terms of the agreement, the pact will facilitate the reciprocal recognition of the South African CA(SA) designation and the U.S. CPA license. It will also increase the mobility of professionals to facilitate growth of the profession in both the U.S. and South Africa.

“As the accounting profession and those CPAs serve continues to evolve globally and embrace technological innovation, we must help the profession find ways to expand its scope of practice, knowledge and mobility,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement Thursday. “This mutual recognition agreement achieves that goal.”

The NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) worked with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to establish this pathway for those holding the CPA license and CA(SA) designation. The IQAB surveys and assesses professional practice standards and qualifications in specified countries and recommends the feasibility of recognition of credentialed non-U.S. professionals.

“The agreement between the United States and South Africa is a success for all parties and can be relied upon by Boards of Accountancy to fulfill their mission to protect the public,” said NASBA President and CEO Ken L. Bishop in a statement.

NASBA and the AICPA also have mutual recognition agreements with CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Canada, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Holders of the CA(SA) credential may be eligible to obtain a CPA license through the agreement if they are members in good standing of the SAICA and meet the additional criteria set out in each of the applicable U.S. jurisdiction’s various state laws and regulations as they apply to education (including examinations, experience and continuing professional education. Meanwhile, CPAs may be eligible to obtain the CA(SA) credential provided they are licensed CPAs in good standing with a State Board of Accountancy, meet the CPE requirements of their Board of Accountancy and meet additional criteria set out under the sections of the agreement pertaining to education, examination, experience and CPE criteria.

“Advancing the interests of respective members and positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession lies at the heart of SAICA’s various mutual recognition agreements,” said SAICA CEO Freeman Nomvalo in a statement. ”For SAICA, our MRAs have further strategic importance as they enable us to fulfil one of the institution’s fundamental promises, namely to give its members access to a world-class profession that allows them to work globally.”

Full details on the eligibility requirements for CPAs can be found on NASBA's website or by emailing The complete details on the eligibility requirements for CAs(SA) can be found on SAICA’s website or by emailing Adri Kleinhans at

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AICPA NASBA International accounting CPAs Ken Bishop Barry Melancon