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Revised CPA exam rules give students flexibility

Written on Jul 29, 2021

By Barbara Benton, CAE, OSCPA vice president, government relations 

Following on the heels of enactment of OSCPA-driven CPA exam qualification changes, the Ohio Accountancy Board has filed related administrative rules providing for additional flexibility for CPA candidates. 

The new Ohio law – House Bill 442 – which became effective in April, offers Ohio candidates the option to start taking parts of the CPA exam when they have finished at least 120 semester hours of education, including any accounting and business courses required by the ABO. The goal is to help keep the Ohio pipeline flowing with future CPAs, and it is consistent with what has been done in at least 37 other states. 

Unlike current Ohio rule requirements and at OSCPA’s urging, the new proposed ABO rules will enable these Ohio candidates to start the exam process when they have finished 80% (24 of 30) of the accounting hours needed for licensure, along with all 24 hours of business coursework. If these new rules are approved as expected by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Ohio candidates will be able to take advantage of this greater flexibility as soon as Thanksgiving 2021. 

All Ohio candidates must still complete the full 150 semester hours of education, 30 hours of accounting classes and 24 hours of business classes – plus pass all four parts of the CPA exam – to be licensed in Ohio. All U.S. states and territories require 150 hours for licensure but have varying hours of required coursework. 

Currently many Ohio students opt to send their CPA exam scores to other “120 hour” states that have lower or more flexible coursework requirements so that they can study for and take one or more parts of the exam while they are still in school, before graduating and starting a demanding job. To become licensed in Ohio, those students must deal with paperwork hassles and pay fees to transfer scores to the ABO, which is a disincentive to license and work here in the Buckeye state. 

Stay tuned to OSCPA news sources for updates on this issue, or reach out to OSCPA’s government relations team at