The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) is the central regulating body for the 55 State Boards of Accountancy which administer the Uniform CPA Exam. They are also responsible for licensing over 650,000 CPAs. In addition to meeting with state board members and deciding on standardized licensing requirements and similar matters, they also provide a number of services to help both local and international students to acquire their CPA licenses. The includes translation services, transcript and licensure evaluation services and experience verification, among others.
What is the NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES)?
The NASBA International Evaluation Services or NIES is NASBA’s academic evaluation service. They evaluate the transcripts, coursework and credentials, work evaluations and licensures of international applicants. Their services are recognized by most state boards.
This service is not only useful for international students, but also to US students whose state boards do not recognize the accreditation from their college or university. It is also available to both candidates who are hoping to apply for the CPA exam and also international accountancy license holders.
Is the NASBA International Evaluation Services required?
It depends on each state’s accountancy board. Even state boards that accept countries that are part of NASBA’s Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), may require that license holders are evaluated to ensure that they meet that state’s course, credit, and work requirements. Each application fee only covers an evaluation submission to one jurisdiction.
It should be noted that if your institution is accredited by one of the regionally accrediting bodies in the United States, then you will not be required to have an international education evaluation for the CPA exam. You will just need to submit your official, unopened transcripts directly to the state accountancy board along with your application. As always, there are exceptions to this, so check the state’s site or email them for confirmation first.
In general, the regionally accrediting bodies that are recognized in the US are:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Should I get my transcripts evaluated?
Some professionals recommend getting it done anyway before applying for a CPA, as it is a useful way to gauge whether you are missing any requirements. If you are, then NASBA will outline exactly which courses or work requirements you need to fulfill before submitting your application.
This is especially relevant in countries that have a three-year bachelor’s degree such as the UK, South Africa, Australia and 37 other European countries that have signed the Bologna Accords. This is because there is a 150 credit-hour requirement to sit the Uniform CPA exam. With a typical college year equating to 30 credits, this would put many candidates short of the full requirement. Some licensed CPAs from MRA countries might not need to acquire more credits, depending on the state, but that is worth finding out sooner rather than later.
Additionally, if you select the ‘undecided jurisdiction’ box instead of selecting a specific state on the application, the NIES will provide you with a list of the best options for jurisdictions where your education closely fits the state’s educational requirements. You can then choose which one to apply to for examination and/or licensure. Once you have decided, an official evaluation report will be drafted and sent to the appropriate Board of Accountancy for review.
How do I apply for NASBA International Evaluation?
The requirements for a NASBA International Evaluation differ by country and will include variations of the following:
- Pay the $250 application fee
- Submit a copy of your passport or government issued identification. (This can be uploaded to your NIES user account instead of mailing or emailing.)
- NIES will not accept transfer study on another transcript.
- You must submit documentation for each year of international tertiary education
- Th completion of a higher degree is not acceptable as proof of prior study
- If your school requires a request from the NIES to issue the necessary documentation, you must fill out and submit their Transcript Request Form
- Submit a complete set of official English translations for non-English documents
- All mail must be addressed to NASBA International Evaluation Services. Failure to do so will result in the delay of your application being processed.
- Transcripts and degree certificates (diplomas) may be submitted electronically provided they are official. Some schools do not offer this service. Contact your Registrar or academic record’s office for additional information. If an email address is required for electronic delivery, use email@example.com. Electronically delivered transcripts must be submitted directly from the institution(s)
- Official paper transcripts must be sent in sealed envelopes directly from the institution through the postal service. This means that you cannot deliver the documents to the NASBA offices either yourself or through a courier.
The requirements per country can be found here.
Is the NIES recognized by all state?
No, the New York Board of Accountancy does not recognize it. Instead, they have their own list of recognized evaluation service providers. Below, we have supplied a list of the states that do recognize NIES’ services. Nonetheless, it is still best to check with the state board of your choice before applying to NIES unless you have not yet decided where to sit.
The following is a listing of the jurisdictions currently supported by NASBA International Evaluation Services:
- South Carolina
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- Virgin Islands
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Other Evaluation Services
There are other evaluation services that are sometimes accepted by states and jurisdictions. The most common include:
- Foreign Academic Credentials Service (FACS)
- Members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
However, if there is a specific state that you would like to sit the CPA exam for, it is best to check that state’s requirements beforehand to confirm which service, if any, they will accept an evaluation from.