NASBA Sees Significant Decline in CPA Exam-Related Revenue

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made its disruptive presence felt throughout various corners of the profession in 2020, including in the number of candidates pursuing their CPA licenses.

In its recently released annual report, NASBA says that total revenue decreased by 12.4% from 2019, most of which was attributable to a 13.8% decline in revenue from CPA examination and licensing, including services such as application processing, credential evaluations and score reporting.

The number of CPA exam sections taken has been steadily dropping, from 310,000 in 2016 to 248,000 in 2019. In fiscal 2020 NASBA reported that 204,000 examination sections were processed through the national candidate database, down 18% from 2019, which the association blames on the pandemic in the latter half of the year.

The question, then, is whether this downward trend will reverse itself when COVID-19 begins to recede in 2021, or whether this year’s waning interest in the CPA exam is a sign of a broader non-pandemic movement to come.

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