QAS Self-Study Designation Transition Process Nears Rollout

March 2012

Since 1998, the Quality Assurance Service Program (QAS) has been approving self-study courses from CPE providers. Concurrent with the implementation of the revised Standards, the QAS Program will be merged into the self-study component of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors Program.

This decision was primarily a result of changes in the newly revised Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs, or Standards. Prior to the revisions being enacted, self-study sponsors on both the QAS and the National Registry had many of the same requirements, with a few notable exceptions:

QAS sponsors were required to:

  • Include the participation of at least one CPA in the development of every program in accounting and auditing.
  • Include the participation of a CPA, tax attorney or IRS enrolled agent in the development of each program in taxation.
  • Include no more than 25 percent true/false questions on the final examination.
  • Not qualify personal development courses as part of its membership.

There were also other administrative differences between the two programs, primarily in frequency of renewals, number and selection of programs reviewed, and the basis of the application and reviewer fees.

The revised Standards have raised the standards for all self-study providers and eliminated these differences.” What has resulted will be an easier, more streamlined set of self-study guidelines for all providers”, says Jessica Luttrull, CPA, Manager of the National Registry.

“Right now we have sponsors who are QAS approved and sponsors on the National Registry with a self-study approval. What we are moving to is the combined designation,” Luttrull says. “We are developing a QAS transition application process, and the eventual designation will be QAS Self-Study when the merger between QAS and the Registry is complete.”

The submissions timeframe will largely be left to the current QAS providers. Once a provider has its programs in compliance with the new Standards, it will let NASBA know that it is ready to begin the transition process. At that point an application will be sent out, and the program-review process will begin.

“They’ll send us a program list, and we’ll randomly select some programs based on the total number of self-study programs they offer,” Luttrull explains. “The review process is really focused on the areas that have changed with the revised Standards — it’s not as though they are applying for a first-time review and having to submit all of that documentation. This really focuses on the programs themselves and the components that have changed from the Standards perspective.”

Once the programs have been vetted and approved, the QAS Self-Study designation will be issued. For self-study programs on the National Registry, the submission and review process will be similar, and once approved they also will receive the new QAS Self-Study designation.

The QAS transition application will be available on May 1, 2012 and the QAS Self- Study designation will begin being issued after July 1. For more information on the application submission process, program registration fees and the related timelines for the transition, click here.

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