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Now’s Your Chance to Tell NASBA How You Really Feel (About Extending the CPA Exam Window)

business guy with a bullhorn

The following message is for current and aspiring CPAs: it isn’t often that anyone asks your opinion unless it’s a client trying to get free work out of you but there is an issue in need of your immediate attention and feedback. NASBA is soliciting comments on a proposal to extend the CPA exam window from 18 to 24 months and you have until April 17 to get them in.

To address the accountant shortage, many ideas have been floated by The Powers That Be (excluding paying people more), like reducing the number of educational credits needed to be licensed and even restoring exam credits that expired during the pandemic. As these crazy ideas get flung around like so much shit in a monkey cage, there’s at least one that you have some influence on.

Last year I argued the CPA exam window should be permanently extended to 24 months and for once it turns out that I wasn’t just screaming into the void like a crazy bag person. In fact, it turns out I wasn’t extreme enough in my view which almost never happens. The Ohio Society of CPAs wants to see the window expanded to 36 months like it used to be back in the day before the exam was computerized.

OSCPA and many other state CPA organizations feel this is a step in the right direction but is not a meaningful change. OSCPA supports increasing the amount of time to pass all four parts of the Exam to at least 36 months.

So how do you get your message out of the void and into the hands of the people who will make the final decision? You can send any comments or recommendations to the UAA Committee by email via [email protected] OR, if you agree the window should be three years wide, you can use this handy tool from OSCPA to weigh in on this big change to the Uniform Accountancy Act’s Model Rules. And no, you don’t have to be Ohioan to use it.

BTW the full exposure draft text is in Scribd down below, please don’t be That Guy™ who spouts off your opinion without knowing what you’re opining about. It’s a quick read I promise.

The grassroots tool from OSCPA will open up a pre-written email addressed to the UAA Committee that you can customize as much or as little as you like, you are encouraged to spice it up with your own thoughts and experiences if so compelled. It comes in current CPA and future CPA flavors, use the one that applies to you. Here’s what it populates with if you are a current CPA:

As a currently licensed CPA, I’m writing to express my concern about the proposed UAA CPA Exam Window Exposure draft expanding the amount of time candidates have to pass all four parts of the CPA Exam. While I agree that the current 18-month window is too short, adding just six months is not enough.

Hundreds of thousands of currently practicing CPAs had 36 months to pass all four parts of the CPA Exam and are providing services today. There is no risk to the public interest for at least doubling the current window, and doing so will help mitigate an unnecessary barrier that, per existing data, is causing between 1,000 and 2,000 CPA candidates each year to discontinue pursuit of the CPA certificate.

The letter then takes a break to give you a chance to talk about how you got screwed over by consecutive 71s back in 2010 or lost FAR credit because the firm was working you like a dog or how you haven’t been able to hire a CPA since 2019, WHATEVER. Be graphic. OSCPA doesn’t say you should be, that’s just me enjoying the drama of all this and fully supporting oversharing.

Once you’ve trauma dumped on NASBA, the letter picks back up and finishes with a standard “Sincerely.”

Employers are facing major hiring challenges as fewer students are entering college, fewer are majoring in accounting, and even fewer of that shrinking group are choosing to pursue the CPA designation. While this is far from the only barrier to entry for current and future CPA candidates, it’s a commonsense solution that will in no way put the public at risk or impact interstate mobility. I urge the UAA Committee to quickly revise the CPA Exam Window Exposure Draft to be not less than 36 months.

Ohio Society of CPAs provided us with the following statement:

It is important for all CPAs and exam candidates to be aware of these proposed amendments to the UAA model rules for several reasons. Two specifically have led The Ohio Society of CPAs to offer this platform:

  1. Whether by design or unintentionally, these proposed amendments were exposed for a sixty-day comment period that coincided with tax season. As a result, many may be unaware and will miss the ability to share their views.
  2. In recent months, it has been stated in print and public forums that efforts to advocate for the profession on issues like the CPA exam window and the pathway to licensure by state CPA organizations are not representative of the profession’s views or were motivated solely by “members and money.” That is false and a weak attempt to distract from the very real concern many CPAs have about the future of the profession. This forum will allow those who agree with our support for a CPA exam window of not less than 36 months to voice their support. For those who disagree, they too should be encouraged to comment.

CPAs assess risk every day. They have been trained to do so. Actions or suggestions that infer CPAs cannot be trusted to assess the risk of decisions that affect their license or profession are dangerous when they come from people or organizations who have a role in regulating their license or establishing the standards that guide their work.

Go forth and comment.

NASBA UAA exposure draft: e… by Adrienne Gonzalez