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October 3, 2023

The NASBA Candidate Portal Went Down Last Week and All Hell Broke Loose For People Who Don’t Print Their NTS In Advance

While the rest of us were binge drinking and yelling at 10-year-olds in “Call of Duty” or eating hours or whatever it is you get up to on a Friday night, it seems some CPA exam candidates learned the hard way that you can’t trust NASBA’s website to be up when you need it most. Peep:

There was no mention of a planned outage on NASBA’s Twitter, nor has there been any acknowledgment of the outage there since, unless you count some salt in the comments.

Apparently there have been some spectacular solar flares lately, and if fringe conspiracy websites have taught me anything it’s that solar flares can fry technology and plunge us into the dark ages (actually this is kinda true). So maybe that’s what happened. Or maybe some angry would-be CPA who studied way more technology than government accounting attacked the NASBA site after getting a 74 on REG. Or Russians did it. Who knows.

What we do know is that this is a wonderful time to remind everyone (again) to print your NTS in advance. WAY in advance. Go nuts and print 10 of those bad boys and stick them on your bathroom mirror and in your car and fold one up in your wallet next to the expired condom you’ve had in there since 2013. OK perhaps that’s extreme. At least print one and perhaps save a PDF on your phone. We hear that some testing centers will even accept a screenshot or photo but YMMV.

Unfortunately, some candidates learned the hard way that no NTS means no test. Prometric doesn’t care that NASBA’s website got attacked by Russian hackers from the sun and that’s why you don’t have it per the very strong language on their website:

On the day of your scheduled exam, you must bring your Notice To Schedule (NTS) with you to the test center. You will not be allowed, under any circumstances, to sit for your examination without your NTS.

According to the Candidate Bulletin you are SOL and out your exam fee if you show up to the testing center without an NTS:

You must bring your NTS with you to the examination, and will not be allowed to enter the testing center if the name on the identification that you present does not exactly match the name on the NTS. Be sure to take the correct NTS with you. You will not be admitted into the test center without the correct NTS and you will forfeit all examination fees for that section.

So for future reference, do yourself a favor and print it out ahead of time. That said, given the circumstances it’s worth contacting NASBA anyway if you were one of the unlucky few who couldn’t access your NTS over the weekend. Politely explain that you were unable to print your NTS due to 403 Forbidden errors on their website and request a refund so you can reschedule your exam without paying for it twice. If you’re still angry and need someone to yell at, use your burner Twitter account to lob expletives at them if you absolutely must; honestly who could blame you. But let’s try to be adults about this. Plus you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, or so I’ve heard.

Thankfully this doesn’t happen often but it can and does happen as we saw this past weekend. Print that NTS right away and keep it somewhere safe. Future you will thank you.

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