Accountancy Board addresses CPA Exam rule changes

By Laura Hay, CPA, CAE, OSCPA executive vice president 

The Accountancy Board of Ohio last week supported a key rule change recommended by OSCPA that will enable future CPA Exam candidates to begin the exam process sooner. As adopted, students who have completed at least 120 semester hours of education will be able to start taking one or more parts of the CPA Exam after finishing at least 24 of the required 30 accounting hours and 24 business hours. All 150 semester hours, including all 30 accounting hours, still must be completed for licensure.

This change is in line with the regulatory reforms adopted by the Ohio General Assembly through H.B. 442 last year and recommended by OSCPA’s young CPAs and student members.

The ABO, State of Ohio government entity charged with licensing, regulating, and when necessary, disciplining CPAs, can significantly affect the practice of all CPAs. This is why OSCPA represents the profession at every ABO meeting, and advocates for best-practice rulemaking. The ABO met virtually on April 30, and here are some other highlights:

  • OSCPA presented its annual peer review program update and program administrative fees were approved.
  • The ABO approved accepting test scores from participants in the online CPA Examination pilot. AICPA, NASBA and Prometric are testing online examination capabilities for potential emergency use in the future, while preserving the security of the examination.
  • Conforming accountancy rules for the passage of HB 442, providing the option to sit for the CPA Examination with 120 hours of education, had previously been approved by the ABO and were in the implementation process. The ABO considered additional administrative rule changes consistent with the intent of HB 442, and in addition to the accounting hours change, approved the following for public exposure. All of these proposed rule changes must still go through a hearing process with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review and with CSI Ohio:
    • Increasing the required score for the GMAT exception to the 150-hour requirement from 620 to 670. Candidates utilizing this exception would still be subject to a four-year experience requirement before certification.
    • Approving courses of study (those that qualify a candidate to sit for the CPA Examination) that are eligible for the ABO’s educational assistance funds.
    • Providing that Educational Assistance Funds can be recovered if the candidate does not sit for the CPA Examination.
  • One public hearing was held for a CPA who continued to hold out in violation of an ABO cease and desist order. The CPA’s certificate and firm registration were revoked.
  • A disciplinary hearing was held for a CPA who had failed to file tax returns or timely remit taxes for another. The CPA’s certificate was revoked, but that revocation was stayed pending the completion of three hours of CPE in professional standards and responsibilities and the payment of a $500 fine.