by Mike Nelson
The Washington State Board of Accountancy (WBOA) voted to expose for final consideration a rule change that would grant exam candidates 36 months to complete the CPA Exam. During the WBOA meeting on July 21, 2023, the Board voted unanimously to take the 36-month recommendation of the Exam Window Task Force, which had been established by WBOA in April 2023. This would mean that candidates would have 36 months following their first passing grade to complete all four sections of the CPA exam.
In April 2023, NASBA made a change to the Uniform Accountancy Act model rules, recommending an extension of the current 18-month window to 30 months. All states that have begun the process of changing the exam window have indicated they intend to move to a 30-month window.
While many of the WBOA members expressed an interest in a window longer than 36 months, or removing the window all together, other states have shared that they may not consider candidates who completed the CPA exam in Washington under a longer or no window to be substantially equivalent. Consequently, this would threaten the mobility of CPAs licensed in Washington. In order to maintain mobility and provide more flexibility to students, the WBOA is moving forward with the rule change for 36 months to push the envelope in the ongoing national discussions about reducing barriers to the profession.
“The exam window has been highlighted as one of the biggest hurdles for CPA candidates,” explained Kimberly Scott, CAE, WSCPA President & CEO. “The 18-month window, along with an increased workload and more deadlines has caused many potential candidates leave the profession. Hopefully this expanded window will encourage more students to continue the journey to becoming a CPA.”
A rule-making hearing has been scheduled to coincide with the WBOA meeting on October 20, 2023, in Tumwater. At that time, public input will be accepted on the window and final action could be taken during the meeting. A staff recommendation for the Board is that the rule take effect 31 days after adoption. This means the rule, if passed, would take effect in November, benefiting nearly 100 candidates who are scheduled to lose credit for exam sections at the end of the year.
More information on the proposed rule can be found on the WBOA website here once it is published.
Mike Nelson is WSCPA Manager of Government Affairs. You can contact Mike via email.