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Behind the Scenes with Volunteers on Making the CPA Exam


Passing the U.S. Uniform CPA Examination is one of three crucial requirements to obtaining licensure for one of the most respected professions in the world, the other two being education and experience.

A great deal goes into ensuring the CPA Exam is of the highest quality. A team of more than 75 dedicated volunteers, sitting at the top of the CPA profession and representing areas such as small and large firms, education, government and non-profit, work in collaboration with the AICPA’s professional staff. These volunteers serve as members of the Board of Examiners, the oversight volunteer board for the CPA Exam, and its seven sub-committees, covering such topics as content, scoring and state board of accountancy communications.

The AICPA Communications and Media Channels team had an opportunity to speak with two AICPA volunteers on how their experience has benefited the CPA profession and their careers:

  • Wendy Perez, CPA, current chair of the Board of Examiners, retired Ernst & Young partner and past president of the California Board of Accountancy; and
  • Mari DeVries, CPA, chair of the CPA Exam’s Content Committee and member of the Board of Examiners, managing shareholder of DeVries CPAs of Arizona, P.C. and past president of the Arizona State Board of Accountancy.

AICPA: Why did you choose to volunteer for the CPA Exam’s Board of Examiners?
Wendy Perez: Throughout my career, I have been actively involved in my local professional community in many capacities.  However, my time on the California Board of Accountancy really raised my awareness of the critical role CPAs play in the business community and the importance of maintaining the pipeline of high-caliber CPA candidates.  I was a member of the California Board, and then president, at a time when Enron was at the forefront of the news.  As I got more involved in the regulatory and legislative process, I saw what a difference we could make and became very passionate about doing what I could to give back to the profession.

AICPA: How have your contributions influenced the CPA Exam?
Mari DeVries: I am appreciative of the collaborative role between myself as a volunteer and the AICPA staff.  I can honestly say that any contributions I may have made are only through a respectful exchange of ideas among the other volunteers, AICPA staff and me.   Everyone has the quality of the exam as their ultimate goal, thus the collaboration is very smooth and the best result is always attained.

AICPA: Why would you recommend others to volunteer for the Board of Examiners?
Wendy Perez: There is no better feeling than knowing that you made a difference and contributed in such a way as to enhance the reputation of the CPA profession.  By being a dedicated volunteer, you are influencing the profession today and, maybe more importantly, influencing the future of the profession.  Creating a pipeline of highly qualified CPA candidates is essential to maintaining the high standards associated with the CPA profession.  Working in a collaborative way with volunteer committees with the assistance of the AICPA staff to develop and deliver the exam is a unique and fulfilling opportunity.

Apply to be an AICPA volunteer: Applications accepted until May 15
Fill out an AICPA volunteer application through the Volunteer Central process. Applications are now being accepted for the next volunteer year (Oct. 2012 through Oct. 2013). If you have any questions regarding the applications process, or volunteer service in general at the AICPA, address inquiries to volunteerservices@aicpa.org.


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