Accountants from some locations outside the US enjoy a fast track for meeting CPA exam requirements. Like all CPAs, they must pass the Uniform CPA Examination to obtain licensing regardless of the state jurisdiction where they apply. Qualifying to sit for the CPA exam demands first satisfying the state education criteria.
The burden for international accountants is that they lack the education needed to initiate a state licensing application. By missing that ticket to the CPA exam, international accountants desiring licensing in the US must follow an alternative path. The fast track available to many of them is passing an exam that mirrors the content of the Regulation section of the US CPA exam. This qualifies them to take CPA exam sections without the education of other CPA candidates in the US.
The International Qualification Examination (IQEX) facilitates the process for a CPA license in the US by international accountants. This avenue is utilized by accountants from countries whose professional organizations enter into mutual recognition agreements with the US governing body. Oversight of US CPA requirements rests with the International Qualification Appraisal Board, which is a joint entity of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
As of mid-2012, the IQAB has mutual recognition agreements with Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos, Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.
The IQEX has historically been a four and a half hour exam. It covers business law and taxation related specifically to US accounting practices plus professional and legal responsibilities of US accountants. The exam also has ethics questions. A passing score demonstrates sufficient competence regarding US accounting to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. Only after completing the IQEX exam will international accountants embark upon CPA exam study.
Extended testing frequency for the IQEX is implemented effective in November 2012. From that time onward, the test is administered during February, May, August, and November. Past scheduling of the IQEX only occurred in one month per year. Accountants can take the IQEX at the same testing centers where the CPA exams are offered.
Starting in November 2012, the IQEX changes to a new format. The IQEX no longer uses a content specification outline dedicated to this exam alone. Instead, the IQEX begins following the content outlined for the Regulation (REG) section of the Uniform CPA Examination. In addition to multiple-choice questions, the new IQEX also has simulations just like REG. Therefore, individuals scheduled for the IQEX should prepare with CPA exam material for REG and familiarize themselves with the format of that test.
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