How to Work as a CPA in the United States

While numbers and their calculations know no borders, the right to work as a CPA outside the country brings its own set of requirements. Here are the steps to export your CPA career (including your title) to Uncle Sam’s country.

Since the beginning of 2018 it has been possible to work within our neighbour to the south under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) concluded between the CPA organizations on either side of the border: CPA Canada here, and the International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) in the United States. This American committee represents the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Eligibility: training and experience criteria
The first requirement, in all cases, is that you must have a Bachelor’s degree or a higher degree. Then, the requirements are based on how you obtained your designation, through an original accreditation program (CA, CGA or CMA) or after unification of the profession in the country. Regardless, you must meet certain criteria, such as having obtained the right to conduct audits with the designated authority in your area of residence, or meet the training and assessment criteria. Consult the Foreign Title Recognition page for the complete list of criteria and exams required depending on your situation.

To qualify, you will also need to have certain experience as set out in the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). Certain state boards have more requirements than others.

Obtaining the American title
Once you are assured of qualifying you will need to complete two other steps, passing the International Qualification Examination (IQEX), then applying to a state board in the state of your choice. In both cases there are fees to be paid.

How you sign up to a state board varies depending on the territory where you apply. One constant, however, is that you will have to meet the requirements for training and pass the ethics examination as well as provide certificates of morality and continuing education with the state board.

Ask you provincial CPA organization, as there are reciprocity agreements between them and certain state boards could make your life much easier!

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