GEOGRAPHY: Global | NUMBER OF EXAMS: 25,000/year | INDUSTRY: Financial Services
Chartered Accountants Ireland, established by royal charter in 1888, is the largest accountancy body on the island of Ireland, and according to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in their 2018 statistics Chartered Accountants Ireland remains the fastest growing professional accounting body over the last five years. They conduct roughly 25,000 examinations a year. Historically, those exams were being delivered in a traditional exam hall setting with pen and paper. They are governed by the Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and must adhere to a strict set of standards and policies set forth by both regulatory bodies.
In an effort to better serve their stakeholders, Chartered Accountants Ireland identified four critical challenges that drove them to investigate changes to their assessment delivery process:
- Limited test center capacity: Increased enrollment with a limited number of seats for each exam made it difficult for test-takers to complete assessments within the available windows.
- GDPR: This regulation gives test-takers the right to access their scripts at any time. As exams were largely delivered on paper, this uncovered significant operational, logistical and cost inefficiencies.
- Test-taker welfare: An increase in reasonable accommodations required by test-takers had significantly increased delivery costs.
- Rising cost: Major exam venue providers had significantly increased prices over several years.
Another challenge was the speed at which Chartered Accountants Ireland was accustomed to making changes in relation to assessments.
As described by Ian Browne, Head of Assessment & Syllabus, “When you’re trying to put warp drive on a ship that was built in 1888, that’s quite difficult.”
We’ve been in the business of creating Chartered Accountants since 1888. But migrating to this new platform and online medium will help us do some really innovative things with testing. It will put us at the forefront of growth in our industry sector with the most modernized accountancy syllabus as well as the most advanced assessment methodologies available globally.Ian Brown, Head of Assessments and Syllabus, Chartered Accountants Ireland
After significant research and a pilot run, Chartered Accountants Ireland has implemented online test delivery through Cirrus Assessments and Live+ remote proctoring through the ProctorU Proctoring Platform.
The transition to online proctored exam delivery was the right solution:
- Specific exams are now available 24/7, virtually eliminating the capacity concern for test-takers
- Exam costs are contractually set to protect against additional exam delivery cost increases
- Changing from paper exams to online exams reduces the need to organize, retain, and sift through paper records to locate an individual’s assessment scripts and results. Instead, all exam results can be stored online, quickly accessible and automatically archived on the appropriate dates in accordance with GDPR
- Lastly, reasonable accommodations can be met in a less stressful environment than the traditional exam hall environment