Skip to main content

Washington Now has Longest CPA Exam Window in the Nation

October 20, 2023

by Mike Nelson

At their meeting today, October 20, the Washington State Board of Accountancy (WBOA) unanimously adopted a rule change that will allow CPA candidates in Washington to have 36 months to complete all four sections of the CPA exam.

Completing all four sections of the CPA exam has been an integral part of the CPA license, along with the mobility that the CPA profession enjoys. When the exam transitioned from a paper exam to an electronic exam, the amount of time candidates were allowed to take the exam was lowered from 36 months to 18 months.

With an ever-changing workforce and personal challenges faced by today’s candidates, the 18-month window to take the exam became a barrier to entry for many CPA candidates.

NASBA, as part of their UAA model rules, proposed expanding the window, and after receiving record feedback from CPAs and CPA candidates, they suggested a 30-month window for the exam.

Since having a slightly longer window would not be determined to break exam reciprocity with other states, the WBOA took the steps in recent months to develop and propose moving back entirely to the 36-month window from the paper-and-pencil exam era.

“I appreciate the thought and research our State Board members undertook, along with their commitment to identifying and reducing hurdles for future CPAs,” said Kimberly Scott, CAE, WSCPA President & CEO. “Creating a 36-month window to complete the CPA exam recognizes the current workload challenges encountered by future CPAs and will enable more individuals to successfully pass the exam and be a part of the CPA profession.”

The 36-month window rule will take effect by the end of November (31 days following the filing of the rule). This ensures that nearly 100 candidates who were slated to lose their passed section credits will be able to stay in the CPA pipeline and continue their journeys to becoming CPAs.

Mike Nelson is WSCPA Manager of Government Affairs. You can contact Mike via email