The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs’ U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board have signed a mutual recognition agreement with CPA Australia.

NASBA's headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.
NASBA's headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. NASBA.org

The agreement will offer an abbreviated qualification pathway for eligible accounting professionals in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand to practice in the partner countries. Under the deal, qualified U.S. CPAs will be eligible to obtain the CPA Australia credential, which is a pathway to getting audit rights in Australia and New Zealand, if the holders meet specific eligibility requirements spelled out in the agreement’s appendices. Similarly, CPA Australia credential holders who are citizens or legal residents in Australia or New Zealand will be eligible to obtain the U.S. CPA credential if they meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the agreement’s appendices.

Sharon A. Jensen, who chairs the NASBA/AICPA U.S. IQAB, confirmed the agreement to members of the U.S. State Boards of Accountancy at NASBA's Western Regional Meeting, in Olympic Valley, California. She provided a detailed summary of the agreement, including who qualifies under the agreement, how practitioners can be recognized in each country and what changes in the terms of the agreement are to be undertaken prior to its renewal in five years' time. A similar announcement was made earlier in June to the Eastern Regional Meeting by NASBA’s past chair Telford A. Lodden.

“The agreement between the United States, Australia and New Zealand is a win for all parties and can be relied on by the U.S. Boards of Accountancy to fulfill their mission of public protection,” said NASBA president and CEO Ken L. Bishop in a statement. “Developed from a global perspective, it will aid in strengthening the CPA pipeline and clearly address the growing demand for credential holders to practice in other countries. We look forward to exploring additional international qualification pathways for eligible accounting professionals.”

During the five-year period of the agreement, the International Qualifications Appraisal Board plans to work on developing alternative requirements that would expand access to CPA Australia credential holders who are neither citizens nor legal residents of New Zealand and Australia. IQAB chair Jensen noted that similar residency provisions are being considered for other agreements currently under review. “IQAB has done its due diligence,” she stated. “We could assure the U.S. Boards of Accountancy of the qualifications of CPA Australia credential holders in Australia and New Zealand and the relationship CPA Australia has with the regulators in both countries.”

“The benefits of mutual recognition are clear and undeniable," said AICPA president and CEO Barry C. Melancon in a statement. “An individual who is a CPA in Australia, New Zealand or the United States now has a well-defined path to practice in the other nations. This is increasingly important as businesses in these countries seek opportunities beyond their borders and accounting firms expand their global networks. It is a welcomed development for businesses and consumers in our three nations who rely on the expertise of today's CPA.”

CPA Australia credential holders will be able to apply for recognition on Aug. 1, 2018. “This agreement is a significant milestone in cooperation between our organizations,” said CPA Australia president and chair Peter Wilson. “The agreement opens up valuable opportunities and increases the international recognition of the CPA designation and reinforces international accounting and finance standards. CPA Australia also welcomes the commitment to look at expanding the agreement beyond citizens and legal residents of Australia or New Zealand.”

To see the agreement, click here.

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