Administration of the Uniform CPA Examination® (CPA Exam) is a complex, collaborative effort by the AICPA, NASBA and Prometric. Their coordination helps to deliver this well regarded, high-stakes examination on a continuous basis to thousands of candidates worldwide. Together they maintain the highest standards of quality and the security and integrity of the testing process.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
The AICPA is an international professional membership organization of licensed CPAs, which owns the CPA Exam and leads content development and scoring. The AICPA’s Examinations team works under the oversight of the Board of Examiners (BOE) (a senior volunteer committee), carrying out its directives regarding the development and scoring. The Examinations team is composed of CPAs, psychometricians, statisticians, test developers, and administrative staff.
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)
NASBA is the membership organization for boards of accountancy. NASBA acts as the central clearinghouse in the CPA Exam process, collecting information about eligible candidates from all jurisdictions, distributing advisory scores and other data, and maintaining a central database of candidate records. In addition, NASBA acts as the designated agent for a number of boards of accountancy and manages the test center in Guam.
Boards of accountancy are state/territory (or jurisdiction) entities that have statutory authority to set the requirements and issue CPA licenses. All jurisdictions require that candidates pass the CPA Exam for licensure.
Prometric is a global leader in technology-enabled testing for information technology certification, academic admissions, and professional licensure. For the CPA Exam, Prometric provides data communication, registration, scheduling, and testing systems as well as test centers at which candidates are authorized to take the Exam. The CPA Exam is offered at authorized Prometric test centers in the U.S. and at select international locations.
AICPA CPA Exam governance
The partnership between the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric drives the CPA Exam development and candidate process. But the AICPA also has several volunteer bodies that support its work and oversee the development and scoring of the CPA Exam.
Board of Examiners
The AICPA Board of Examiners (BOE), a senior committee of the AICPA, is the body that sets policy for the CPA Exam accordance with legal and psychometric standards as they apply to licensure examinations. The BOE’s mission is to “provide reasonable assurance to boards of accountancy that candidates who pass the Exam possess the minimum technical knowledge and skills necessary for initial licensure to protect the public internet.”
Comprising CPA volunteers from every segment of the profession, the group also has members from the field of psychometrics who are not CPAs but who have test development and scoring experience required by the BOE. Together they oversee the development and scoring of the Exam; ensure the Exam aligns with the knowledge and skill requirements of newly licensed CPAs; and represent the Exam to boards of accountancy and the profession.
Under the jurisdiction of the BOE are several other volunteer committees and subcommittees focused on the areas of content, psychometrics, and board of accountancy relations.