CPA Mobility Information

March 22, 2012

car and highway signs

What is Mobility?

Practice mobility for CPAs is the general ability of a licensee in good standing from a substantially equivalent state to gain practice privilege outside of their home state without getting an additional license in the state where they will be serving a client or an employer.

Why is Mobility important?

In the digital age, many of the organizations requiring the professional services of CPAs transact business on an interstate and international basis. As a result, the practice of CPAs typically extends across state lines and international boundaries. Differing requirements for CPA certification, reciprocity, temporary practice, and other aspects of state accountancy legislation in the 55 American licensing jurisdictions (the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) constitute artificial barriers to the interstate practice and mobility of CPAs. A uniform mobility system allows licensed CPAs to provide services across state lines without burdens that do not provide additional public protection. This approach is endorsed by the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the national organization of state boards of accountancy, through a provision in the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA).

Substantial Equivalency

Under Section 23 of the UAA, a CPA with a license in good standing from a jurisdiction with CPA licensing requirements essentially equivalent to those outlined in the UAA is deemed to be “substantially equivalent,” or a licensee who individually meets the requirements of:

  • Obtaining 150 credit hours with a Baccalaureate Degree
  • Minimum 1 year of CPA experience
  • Passing the Uniform CPA Examination

This provision provides the right balance of trust and public protection.  By removing boundaries to practice in the U.S., CPAs are able to more readily serve individuals and businesses in need of their expertise.  At the same time, the state board of accountancy’s ability to discipline is enhanced by being based on a CPA and the CPA firm’s performance of services (either physically, electronically, or otherwise within a state, rather than being based on whether a state license is held.