The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries have worked toward the signing of a Professional Mutual Recognition Agreement (PMRA) allowing for accounting professionals to practice across borders. On September 27, 2002, the representatives of the United States NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ International Qualifications Appraisal Board, Mexico’s Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos (Mexican Institute of Public Accountants), and Comite Mexicano para la Practica Internacional de la Contaduria (Mexican Committee for the International Practice of Accounting) signed the PMRA for the accountancy profession, agreeing on the principal elements for granting accounting certification and licenses: education, examination, and experience. NAFTA’s Free Trade Commission affirmed the PMRA on October 7, 2003. It has taken ten years for the three countries to implement fully the final agreement.

This paper reports on the certification and licensing requirements that exist as of 2006 for Canada, Mexico, and the United States. It is critical for accounting educators to understand the requirements for achieving certification and licensure in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. to better prepare students for the international career opportunities afforded by the NAFTA agreement and other PMRA agreements in the future.


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