Chartered Accountants Ireland renews Mutual Recognition Agreement with US accountancy bodies

Oct 13, 2017

Chartered Accountants Ireland, Ireland’s largest accountancy body, has renewed its Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with AICPA, the largest professional association representing the US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification and NASBA, the organization representing US Boards of Accountancy. Chartered Accountants Ireland is currently the only professional accountancy body in the UK or Ireland to achieve these prestigious mutual recognition rights with the US CPA professional bodies.  The agreement provides Irish Chartered Accountants with an accelerated pathway to use of the ‘CPA’ credential in the United States, to set up in practice as CPAs in the US and to perform statutory audits there, once agreed qualifying conditions are met.  In return, US CPAs may practice in Ireland and are entitled to use the designation Chartered Accountant once agreed qualifying conditions are met.

NEWS BODY - Chartered Accountants Ireland renews Mutual Recognition Agreement with US accountancy bodies

Representatives from the US bodies formally signed the agreement with the Chartered Accountants Ireland delegation in the historic Constitution Room in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel on Thursday 10 August.  With 418,000 members worldwide, the prestigious American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the equivalent of Chartered Accountant Ireland, and this agreement is a renewal of long-standing links between both professional bodies.  

The right to use the CPA credential in the United States is governed by the State Boards of Accountancy, which the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy represented at the August signing.  It is up to each of the State Boards to enact this agreement and several State Boards have done so, as the agreement was originally signed in 2004.  The State Boards of Accountancy collectively license to practice over 660,000 Certified Public Accountants in the United States and unlike the Irish system, only those who are licensed to practice public accountancy can use the credential.

Mutual Recognition Agreements facilitate cross-border reciprocity by streamlining the process for qualified professionals with accounting credentials to become certified and licensed in each other’s countries.  This is only the sixth agreement that the US CPA bodies have completed with non-U.S. professional bodies. Irish Chartered Accountants are among the select group of accountants in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong and Mexico.

Chartered Accountants Ireland President, Shauna Greely who signed the MRA on Thursday, said:

“On behalf of my fellow members across the globe, I welcome the successful completion of this important MRA.  The agreement confers significant and unique benefits to our members and will similarly facilitate American CPAs to enjoy the Chartered designation here in Ireland.  This further strengthens the professional relationship with our fellow American bodies and we hope to welcome many American CPAs to Ireland in the years to come. 

“This agreement yet again marks Chartered Accountancy out as the premier business qualification available in Ireland today, offering a truly global brand.  Irish Chartered Accountants can be justly proud of the exclusive recognition in this agreement.  We are currently the only professional accountants in Ireland or the UK to enjoy this special recognition with our equivalent Institutes in the United States.  This MRA recognises the increasingly global nature of the profession and the career mobility of both our respected qualifications. It underlines the high esteem in which the Chartered designation is held internationally, and is a tribute to the quality of the Chartered Accountants Ireland qualification.

“This agreement is good news for our existing students, many of whom work with international organisations and consultancies and who may have ambitions to progress their career in the US. It is equally an important development for future graduates who are considering their career options – for them, the recognition and opportunities now available for Irish Chartered Accountants are extremely impressive.”

Signing in Dublin, NASBA Chair Telford Lodden noted: “Our initial agreement with Chartered Accountants Ireland was signed in 2004.  However, we felt that the previous MRA was not as transparent and intuitive as we wanted.  We have worked hard at developing a new agreement that addresses those issues. We believe this renewal agreement clearly maps out what is expected from each applicant. It also specifically identifies the gaps and the process to mitigate those gaps during the MRA period.  Our intent is to eliminate the gaps when this MRA is renewed.  The State Boards of Accountancy were established to protect the public and we believe an agreement that recognizes a reasonable pathway for qualified professionals who can well serve our public falls under the Boards’ charge.  Similarly, we believe that US CPAs, who are licensed by the State Boards, can add to the public’s protection in other countries. We live in a global economy and this agreement will be an integral part of that.  We have always had a close relationship with the Chartered Accountants Ireland and have a high degree of respect for their professional accountants.  We are thrilled to sign this agreement.”

NASBA President Ken L. Bishop observed: “NASBA/AICPA IQAB has been working toward international professional recognition for more than 20 years.  However, we realize that there are differences in the education, examination and experience requirements and laws that hold those differences in place.  It is a slow process of seeing how those laws can be interpreted to fit different environments, but we are trying to do that with willing partners.  We were fortunate in having had Pat Costello, newly retired chief executive of the Irish Institute, working with us and we look forward to working with Barry Dempsey, your new chief executive, to close up the remaining gaps in this agreement that will enable CPAs to attain all the rights Chartered Accountants can exercise in Ireland.”

AICPA President Barry Melancon added:

“The American Institute of CPAs is pleased to join the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in renewing our Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with Chartered Accountants Ireland. We believe that our members, and Irish CAs, will find the renewed agreement to be more transparent and user-friendly than the previous one. The MRA clearly sets out who is eligible for the accelerated pathway to the reciprocal credential and the steps necessary to obtain practice rights. I want to thank our member volunteers who serve on the International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) and NASBA’s Ken Bishop for his leadership of IQAB throughout the renewal process.”

The agreement follows on previous work done to provide Irish Chartered Accountants with access to the biggest international networks of professional accountants.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is a founding member of both the Global Accounting Alliance and Chartered Accountants Worldwide. CAW brings together the members of leading institutes to create a community of hundreds of thousands of Chartered Accountants in more than 200 countries. Chartered Accountants Ireland is a leading voice in all the international accountancy forums and is a leading member of the ‘Common Content’ project in the EU to give common practice rights to members of the various accountancy bodies across the EU.


Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland: T: +353 1 637 7268