Can the CPA Exam Be Taken in Languages Other Than English?

As globalization integrates markets and business operations, the need for accounting professionals who can operate across various languages and cultural contexts has never been greater. This raises an important question for aspiring Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) around the world: Is the CPA exam available in languages other than English?


The Current Language Offerings

The Uniform CPA Examination is designed to assess the knowledge and skills that are necessary for an entry-level CPA to possess. Historically, the CPA exam has been predominantly offered in English. This is primarily because the United States, where the CPA credential originates, is an English-speaking country, and the authoritative literature and accounting standards that the exam tests are written in English.

However, recognizing the diverse backgrounds of candidates, there are provisions for language support in some cases. As of now, the CPA exam is available in Japanese in addition to English. This option exists due to a mutual recognition agreement between the U.S. and Japan, making Japan the only country outside the United States where the exam is offered in a language other than English.


Why Not More Languages?

The decision to not widely offer the exam in other languages can be attributed to several factors:

– Standardization and Integrity: Ensuring the exam’s integrity and maintaining a consistent standard across all test takers is paramount. This is simpler to manage when the exam is administered in a limited number of languages.

– Professional Necessity: English is considered the lingua franca of business worldwide. Aspiring CPAs are expected to possess a strong command of English to interpret international financial reporting and auditing standards effectively.

– Regulatory Requirements: Each U.S. state has its own Board of Accountancy that regulates the licensing of CPAs. These boards require proficiency in English to ensure all professionals can operate within the U.S. legal and business framework.


Looking Ahead

While the CPA exam is primarily available in English, the accounting bodies continuously assess the need to expand language options to accommodate non-English speaking candidates better. This decision would depend on various factors, including demand, the feasibility of maintaining exam standards, and the evolving nature of international business practices.

For now, candidates who are not native English speakers may need to consider additional preparation for the language aspects of the exam. Many resources are available, including English language courses focused on accounting terminology and concepts, which can help bridge the language gap.



In conclusion, while the CPA exam is largely English-centric, there is an avenue for Japanese-speaking candidates, and potential future expansions could further internationalize this critical professional certification. As the business world grows more interconnected, the inclusivity of certification processes like the CPA exam will undoubtedly continue to be a topic of discussion among accounting professionals worldwide.