CPA Practice Mobility

In an effort to streamline business and remove obstacles that don’t protect or serve the public trust, many states are now recognizing the need for a unified CPA practice mobility system.

Practice mobility is the ability of a CPA to serve clients, or practice their trade, outside of the state they were originally licensed in. As the business environment continues to expand beyond the geographical limitations we were once accustomed to, many CPAs are finding the need extend their services to clients without regard for state or jurisdictional borders. With its rampant procedural difficulties, our current system is considered by many to be outdated, clumsy, or even simply broken.

The heart of the problem lies in the licensure process.

Each state or jurisdiction has its own requirements for licensure, or certification. For example, some states count private and governmental accounting work toward the experience requirement while others only allow public accounting experience. Some states require 150 semester hours of accounting education while others don’t.

These differences create disparities in the qualifications of CPAs from state to state.

The core solution to the problem would be in the states’ adoption of the UAA, or Uniform Accountancy Act

Which introduces the concept of “substantial equivalency.” Substantial equivalency is based on qualifications established in Appendix C of the 5th edition of the UAA. If a CPA meets these requirements, his or her qualifications are understood to be substantially equivalent to those issued by other states who have adopted the UAA.

Of course, uniformity is the eventual goal.

Unfortunately, some states are picking and choosing elements of the UAA while discarding others, which defeats any sense of uniformity that the UAA is intended to achieve. This leaves CPAs wishing to engage in interstate practice just as confused and burdened as ever. While licensure requirements as a whole will stay within the domain the individual states, adoption of substantial equivalency based practice mobility system will eventually need to be mandated by the Federal government.

The boundaries between states, nations and companies are blurring further on a daily basis.

To keep up with the changes, the barriers between CPAs and interstate or international practice must be lessened or removed. What is your State Board of Accountancy doing to streamline practice mobility?

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