Another step closer to evolving CPA licensure
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Another step closer to evolving CPA licensure

2 years ago · 2 min read

On Wednesday, May 20, we took a big step toward propelling the CPA profession into the future.

If you read the blog posts I wrote in January, May and July of 2019, you’ll be familiar with CPA Evolution — a joint effort of the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to design and implement a new approach to CPA licensure.

Our goal is to transform the CPA licensure model to recognize the rapidly changing skills and competencies the practice of accounting requires today and will require in the future.

CPA licensure model

In January 2020, I shared how NASBA and the AICPA are proposing a core + discipline model for CPA licensure.

In this proposed model, all candidates would be required to demonstrate knowledge of a strong core in accounting, auditing, tax and technology. Then, each candidate would choose a discipline in which to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge. Regardless of discipline, this model leads to full CPA licensure, with rights and privileges consistent with any other CPA. You can learn more about our proposed CPA licensure model at or by watching the video below.

On May 20th, AICPA’s Board of Directors recommended that the AICPA Council vote on a resolution supporting the CPA Evolution initiative. I’m thrilled to share that Council overwhelmingly voted in support of advancing the initiative.

This is great progress toward our goal of positioning the CPA profession for continued strength and relevance in a constantly evolving business environment. I would like to thank the Board and Council for their leadership and guidance since the inception of this initiative.

Pending conversation in June at the NASBA regional meetings with state board of accountancy members, NASBA’s board of directors will consider a companion vote of support this summer. If that occurs, we will move forward with implementing the new licensure model, with the goal of launching a new CPA Exam by January 2024.

I want to say thank you to all of you.

Back in 2018, we began reaching out to stakeholders from across the profession asking for feedback on evolving CPA licensure. Since then, we’ve heard from more than 3,000 of you — CPAs working in firms of all sizes across the country; CPAs working in business and industry; members of the accounting academic community; volunteers; students; technology experts; state CPA society leaders; state boards of accountancy; and more.

It’s clear that you all are passionate about our profession and keeping it strong for decades to come.

We’ve come a long way since we shared an initial concept for CPA licensure in 2018, and your input shaped the licensure model NASBA and the AICPA proposed to Council.

Thanks to you we were able to develop a model that will position the profession well for the future.

As we look forward to the NASBA regional meetings and the NASBA board of directors vote this summer, I have never been more excited to be a part of this profession. I am hopeful that we’ll gain the support we need to continue moving forward with evolving CPA licensure. Regardless of the outcome, we will always continue to support the CPA profession and work toward its continued success.

Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA

Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA is CEO - Public Practice for the American Institute of CPAs.

In this role Coffey is responsible for the professional activities, content and delivery of all AICPA public accounting technical and self-regulatory functions, which support and enhance the quality of the work of U.S. CPA firms.

This work includes leading AICPA's initiatives related to professional standards of practice; business and financial reporting, audit, assurance and business reporting innovation; taxation; specialization and credentials; professional ethics; practice monitoring; audit quality centers; and the Uniform CPA Examination. Coffey is also responsible for global relations and alliances with organizations, such as the International Federation of Accountants and the Global Accounting Alliance, to support and strengthen the global accountancy profession and the value of the U.S. CPA abroad.

Coffey's responsibilities span a number of diverse communities and stakeholders, both domestic and international, giving her a unique, global perspective. Her wide range of experience allows her to bring a broad view to strategic planning, risk management and problem-solving, which guide the AICPA as they execute on their public interest activities, develop opportunities for CPA firms, and work with firms and other key stakeholders.

Coffey is a licensed CPA in the States of New York and New Jersey, as well as a CGMA. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the New Jersey Society of CPAs. She is also a member of the Professional Practice Executive Committee of the Center for Audit Quality, an AICPA affiliate, as well as a member of the Advisory Council for Prince Charles' Accounting for Sustainability Project. Coffey has been honored over the years by being recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Accounting by the CPA Practice Advisor and by inclusion on Accounting Today's Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting list.

Prior to joining the AICPA, Coffey was with PricewaterhouseCoopers' accounting and auditing practice. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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