If you happen to pursuing the internet today and see the exciting headline about NASBA increasing the time you have to pass the CPA exam from 18 months to 30 months, there is a bit of critical information you need that you might miss if you don’t read the article: current exam candidates remain under existing rules until, if and when, the board to which they applied makes changes. That means it’s ultimately up to state boards of accountancy to adopt the rule, the NASBA decision only opens the door for it to happen.
On February 14, the NASBA Board of Directors approved for re-exposure changes to the Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rules for the granting of credit requirement for sections passed on the Uniform CPA Examination, and the revised exposure draft was open for comment until April 17. The revised exposure draft would increase the number of months of conditional credit provided to a candidate from 18 months to 24 months but apparently response was so great — more than 850 respondents provided input to the exposure draft — NASBA decided to push that even further to 30 months. Some professional organizations engaged in grassroots campaigns to petition NASBA to increase it to 36 months, 30 is a decent compromise.
On April 21, 2023, the NASBA Board of Directors voted to adopt an amendment to UAA Model Rule 5-7. The amendment increases the length of conditional credit from 18 months to 30 months, bases the calculation of conditional credit for Exam sections passed on the date that scores are released, and adds descriptive language to provide greater clarity for when Boards of Accountancy may extend conditional credit. In other words, the rule change means that candidates will now have a 30 month window (pending state board adoption), and that the window doesn’t start until the first passing score is released, not from the date the candidate sat for that section as it has been since 2004.
Shout-out to CPA Evolution:
In addition, recent revisions to the Exam indicate that score delays may occur when significant updates are made to Exam content and structure. The approved rule seeks to provide uniformity among jurisdictions on the timing of granting Exam credits, which also has the benefit of providing relief to candidates when such delays happen.
“Providing an additional year of conditional credit to candidates for Exam sections passed provides more flexibility to those seeking licensure as a CPA. The additional time also provides greater latitude to firms and candidates as they negotiate the demands of today’s complex career environment,” said NASBA President and CEO Ken L. Bishop.
Here comes the bad news:
The UAA Model Rules have no immediate effect on state board rules. As the membership organization of the 55 U.S. Boards of Accountancy, NASBA, through its Uniform Accountancy Act Committee, provides the Model Rules as recommendations to boards for adoption whereby uniform adoption is encouraged. As such, each individual board may consider the amendment to the Model Rule 5-7 and, if so choose, commence a process to change the rules at the state level. Current Exam candidates remain under existing rules until, if and when, the board to which they applied makes changes.
At the same meeting, NASBA Board of Directors expressed continued support for the formation of a policy that would potentially give back passing credits lost during the pandemic due to conditions beyond their control. The Powers That Be believe that restoring lost credit would help address the CPA shortage. “A proposal like this could allow for the reinstatement of credit for more than 15,000 CPA candidates and re-open the door for those candidates to complete their journeys to becoming licensed CPAs. I applaud NASBA for raising this possibility and exploring it with state boards of accountancy, since a comprehensive reinstatement effort could help offset hurdles to advancement that many CPA candidates faced due to circumstances outside their control,” said AICPA CEO of Public Accounting Sue Coffey in March.
They also discussed developing an additional pathway to allow candidates to achieve 150 hours through an academically qualified experience that could allow up to 30 hours of college credit. NASBA is actively campaigning against any direct changes to the 150 hour rule as Minnesota moves toward introducing a second pathway that would allow licensure at 120 units and two years of experience.
NASBA Announces Historic Rule Amendment Following Record Exposure Draft Response [NASBA]