Professional Accounting Organizations in UK and U.S. Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement
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Professional Accounting Organizations in UK and U.S. Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement

Feb 27, 2018 · 2 min read

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), a professional body for accountants which is headquartered in the United Kingdom (UK), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), a forum for the 55 U.S. Boards of Accountancy which license more than 650,000 U.S. CPAs, have signed an agreement which will provide a streamlined process for accounting professionals to practice in the other country.

The Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) provides a clear route for ICAS members to achieve the U.S. CPA and licensure, and U.S. Certified Public Accountants to attain the CA designation and be on the pathway to UK audit signing rights.

Leadership of the three organizations took part in a signing ceremony for the MRA in New York City.

Anton Colella, ICAS CEO commented: “This is an historic agreement. It’s the first of its kind between a UK Chartered Accountancy body and American accountancy bodies, and comes at a pivotal point for the UK.”

“It not only creates new opportunities in the world of transatlantic trade, but also reinforces the high standing in which we hold our American colleagues, and the expertise they value in us.”

“We welcome the mutual recognition that is at the heart of this agreement,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “It will give U.S. CPAs a clear and accelerated path to obtaining a credential in the United Kingdom. And the same is true of ICAS members with an interest in practicing in the United States. Agreements like this come to fruition through the dedication of the respective accounting bodies, the diligence of member volunteers who serve on the International Qualifications Appraisal Board, and the commitment of NASBA and the state boards it represents. Together, we are building increased international recognition for U.S. CPAs in every corner of the world.”

“It is remarkable that is has taken decades to reach this historic agreement positively impacting the accounting professions of the United States and Scotland. I applaud the tremendous effort and perseverance of the staff and volunteers of the respective organizations to finalize this crucial agreement,” said Ken L. Bishop, President and CEO of NASBA. “We appreciate the participation and support of the UK’s FRC in this endeavor. The relationships developed during this process will serve us well as we work together on future agreements.”

UK International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, commented: “This is a really welcome initiative, which my department supports, and shows the huge benefits which greater UK-U.S. co-operation can bring to our businesses.”

“Mutual recognition of qualifications can help boost trade in services, making it easier for our world-leading professionals to operate in other countries. Through our UK-U.S. Trade and Investment Working Group we are looking at how we can support our services industries to work and trade across the Atlantic, building on our £50bn of annual services exports to the USA.”


Eligible CAs and CPAs need only pass one exam, in addition to satisfying other requirements:

  • CAs need only pass the International Qualification Exam (IQEX); and

  • CPAs need only complete the international qualification pathway.

For CAs to take advantage of this agreement, they must be an ICAS member in good standing and have completed:

  • A baccalaureate (undergraduate) degree;

  • The ICAS CA Qualification Program;

  • Two years post-qualification relevant practical work experience.

To apply, a U.S. CPA must be a licensed CPA in good standing with a State Board and have completed:

  • An undergraduate degree;

  • The Uniform CPA Exam;

  • State Board experience requirements for licensure; and

  • Achieved two years post-qualification practical work experience.

Media Contacts:
Hannah Downie, ICAS Senior Digital Editor and Media Manager
0131 347 0126/07799 583 409

Jay Hyde
Senior Director – Public Affairs, Advocacy Communications and Media American Institute of CPAs

Thomas G. Kenny
Director, Communications

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