Podcast: What's next for potential CPA licensure?

December 16, 2019

Hosted by Neil Amato, journalofaccountancy.com

A new model proposed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA is designed with an eye on the future for newly licensed CPAs. Carl Mayes, CPA, AICPA associate director–CPA Quality & Evolution, provides background on the project and a look ahead to 2020.

What you’ll learn from this episode:

• An update on the CPA Evolution project.

• The feedback CPAs and other profession stakeholders gave NASBA and the AICPA about the project.

• Key points of the model that NASBA and the AICPA have proposed.

• Next steps for the project in 2020.

Listen to the podcast


Neil Amato: Carl, thank you for being here.

Carl Mayes: Thanks for having me.

Amato: I guess welcome back. You’re a repeat speaker on the podcast. So, on CPA Evolution, first of all, for those who may not know, what is it?

Mayes: CPA Evolution is all about licensure. It’s all about the CPA license and looking at whether our current licensure approach is consistent with the needs of the marketplace and whether it’s the best way to protect the public.

Amato: What has happened with CPA Evolution thus far? How long has it been going on and where are we as we have this discussion in early December 2019?

Mayes: We started back in 2017. We started having conversations with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) about our licensure approach and whether there were opportunities for us to explore evolving that approach. It’s really been quite a road since then. We exposed an initial set of thoughts, an initial model, back in January of 2018 to certain stakeholders and got feedback on that.

In 2019, we came up with five guiding principles for the development of a new model and got a ton of feedback on those guiding principles. We heard from over 2,000 stakeholders, including AICPA Council, state boards of accountancy. We heard from over 100 folks in academia including the American Accounting Association and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, 30 state societies. So, we got a lot of feedback. Now we’re kind of at the point where we’re taking that feedback, analyzing it, and we’ve developed what we believe is a responsive model.

Amato: You talked about all the different all the different stakeholders you heard from. How would you sum up what you heard from them?

Mayes: Yeah, so there were certain themes that were consistent regardless of the stakeholder group that was represented. We heard from them — I should have mentioned — in a variety of different ways. Some wrote in, we had discussion groups with 20 different stakeholder groups. Some of the things we heard were these.

We heard that there was support for building more technology into the CPA licensure approach. That was kind of the initial premise. That was one of the main premises of our principles when we rolled those out is that technology is disrupting the profession and we need to evolve accordingly.

We also heard support for the idea of changing how licensure works. But maybe the biggest thing — at least in my mind — was this idea that while technology is very important and it is a disruptor, there are other disruptors in the profession. It’s not the only thing that’s impacting us and we needed to take a broader view if we were going to set up a licensure model that addresses the trends out there in the market.

Amato: So, as a result of that feedback, what did NASBA and the AICPA do next?

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To comment on this podcast or to suggest an idea for another podcast, contact Neil Amato, a Journal of Accountancy ofA senior editor, at Neil.Amato@aicpa-cima.com.

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