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Practice mobility has always been a big issue for CPAs, more so in these turbulent times when qualified individuals have to pack up and go a la Tom Joad just to find paying work in a reasonable market sometimes. So it makes sense that the AICPA and NASBA have jointly released a new online tool to help CPAs do what they do best from state to state.
Until all 55 jurisdictions can truly band together and agree on a uniform requirement across the board for all CPAs (never going to happen), this is the next best option.
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants today announced the launch of CPAmobility.org – an online tool designed to help Certified Public Accountants navigate the new practice privilege requirements that allow CPAs to more easily practice across state borders.
A joint project of the AICPA and NASBA, the new CPAmobility.org website provides helpful information, updated regularly, on state practice privilege requirements for CPAs, commonly referred to as “mobility” laws, for all 50 states and 5 U.S jurisdictions. In four simple clicks online, CPAs can learn whether their existing home state registration is mobile and allows them to work in other jurisdictions without additional notice, or whether further paperwork is required. In most cases, additional registration is no longer required because mobility statutes recognizing CPA licenses granted by other states and jurisdictions have been enacted in 47 of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions.
“CPAmobility.org is a valuable service that allows CPAs to take advantage of the benefits associated with state mobility laws with confidence. We are happy to offer a free tool that will assist CPAs in determining whether or not they can exercise mobility in a particular jurisdiction at the click of a button, on their laptop or mobile device,” said Ken L. Bishop, executive vice president and COO of NASBA.
“Mobility has become a reality for CPAs and accounting firms from coast-to-coast and it is now time to open the system for business,” said Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the AICPA. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this free service to CPA firms together with NASBA, which was a key partner in developing the technology and information to power the website, CPAmobility.org.”
The site works by posing three targeted questions to CPAs interested in exercising cross-border practice privileges. Those are:
Where is your principal place of business?
Where are you going to perform services (target state)?
What type of services will you perform?
Information on licensing and registration requirements is then produced allowing CPAs to move quickly to address new business opportunities. CPAmobility.org offers immediate access to the site through a mobile application, an attractive benefit for CPAs needing to confirm eligibility requirements while they are on the road or away from their offices.
NASBA and the AICPA have been longtime advocates of mobility, providing support and resources to state boards and state CPA societies seeking changes to current rules. As additional states continue to embrace mobility, the need to educate CPAs on the requirements is growing.
CPAmobility.org will feature useful links to NASBA and AICPA resources. To learn more about mobility or to research cross-border practice privilege requirements, visit www.CPAmobility.org.
At first glance, the new site features a slick interface (if you ignore the obnoxious Helvetica header) that asks you three simple questions: where do you practice normally, where do you plan to practice and what type of services will you perform? Once you answer those, it will tell you the rules for individuals and firms based on your responses.
For those of you that aren’t already aware, we implore you to check out NASBA’s incredibly useful Accounting Licensing Library – a comprehensive, continually-updated database that can help future CPAs find a state in which to be licensed and offers accounting firms access to important state data to assist in their efforts across state lines. In other words, the tool’s main goal is to facilitate mobility by bringing all 55 jurisdictions together in one easy-to-use area while offering a one-stop shop for those considering CPA licensure.
We recently got a chance to chat with NASBA General Counsel and Director of Business Development Maria Caldwell about the new ALL.
The new ALL tool features a new section for accounting students, an enhanced state requirement comparison research tool and expanded product information. The refreshed ALL website offers the same features and benefits as the previous site in a more user-friendly format. Users can find detailed licensing information and even use their research tool to determine if their educational requirements meet any state’s licensure requirements without having to click through each state board’s website individually. This is huge for candidates and for NASBA, as it allows them to spend more time dealing with candidate issues and less time pointing candidates in the right direction.
The birth of the ALL actually began within NASBA four years ago as they wanted a single resource for internal use that would take each state board’s requirements and aggregate them into one place. “There really wasn’t one source to go to and look up all these different rules, so that was the impetus for putting the tool together,” Caldwell told us. “We wanted to offer it to firms at first but once it was out there we realized there were several different audiences using it. Students use it as a licensing tool and international candidates use it as well.”
With over 700 candidates accessing the tool per year (before the makeover) and a significant leap in CPA exam applications since the first whispers of an economic downturn in 2008, interest in the tool and CPA licensure does not appear to be waning any time soon.
Beyond the licensure aspect of the tool, the ALL gives both individuals and firms a way to improve their own economic outlooks by reaching across state lines to find clients. “In this kind of environment, the firms are looking to neighboring states if their state is suffering from a lack of business,” Caldwell said. The tool allows for mobility without firms wasting countless hours combing through state requirements and allows CPAs in a specialty practice to meet the needs of clients who may be in areas that lack qualified accountants who offer their specialized services.
As the CPA exam prepares to go international, NASBA is counting on increased interest in not only the ALL but the all-important CPA designation. Let’s face it, not every industry can say it has weathered the economic downturn as well as CPAs have and passing the exam is still considered a prestigious accomplishment across the globe.
Great job, NASBA, we definitely approve!