October 31, 2020

[UPDATED] Prometric Extends Site Closures For a Third Time, But There’s a Bright Side For Future CPAs

Ed. note: Updated with 4/23/2020 NASBA statement below

So I have a little news on Prometric closures to share with you all, thanks to a tipster who obsessively refreshes the Prometric COVID-19 page each morning in hopes of an update.

As we reported on April 15, Prometric announced just days before their planned April 16 reopening that sites across the United States would remain closed until May 1st. Here we are just a little over a week later letting you know that they have decided to push that date back even further.

From Prometric:

In accordance with the changing local and federal governance and advice from the CDC and WHO, we have determined it is necessary to further extend the closure of test centers in the U.S. and Canada through May 31st. This applies to all testing programs, with the exception of a limited set of essential services programs. Prometric is actively working with test sponsors to determine whose programs meet the criteria for “essential workforce” as defined by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Now, the big question here (as has been for over a month now) is who is essential?

The CISA guidelines identify 16 critical infrastructure sectors which are as follows:

  • Chemical Sector
  • Commercial Facilities Sector
  • Communications Sector
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector
  • Dams Sector
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector
  • Emergency Services Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Financial Services Sector
  • Food and Agriculture Sector
  • Government Facilities Sector
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • Information Technology Sector
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  • Transportation Systems Sector
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector

The Financial Services Sector is defined as “thousands of depository institutions, providers of investment products, insurance companies, other credit and financing organizations, and the providers of the critical financial utilities and services that support these functions,” which is where it gets tricky. A reasonable person could say accounting firms fall into the latter category, the question is are there enough existing CPAs to do this work so as to deem the testing of future workers in this sector non-essential.

As it turns out, just moments before I was about to hit “publish” on this article, a tipster was able to get in touch with NASBA and was informed via the CPAES general email:

Yes, the CPA Exam is essential, and testing will resume on May 1st. Spread the word.

So there you go. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for an official statement from NASBA which is no doubt coming, active CPA exam candidates should expect to see something from them shortly.

Update: As expected, NASBA issued a statement on their site.

The CPA profession is considered an essential service. Prometric will resume testing for CPA candidates beginning May 1 at centers where government regulations and guidelines allow. Social distancing guidelines and other safety measures will be implemented. All candidates with May appointments will be contacted by Prometric to either confirm or cancel appointments, as necessary, either because of new social distancing requirements or because their test center is not yet reopening. Candidates should check for additional details by visiting: https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update

And a short note from the GC crew: while we love being able to bring you breaking news like this and do our absolute best to ensure the information we are giving you is accurate, we encourage everyone to monitor and follow direct sources at NASBA and Prometric for official statements and updated information as it is made available to the public.

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