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ABO meeting focuses on CPA pipeline

Written on Oct 20, 2022

By Barb Benton, CAE, OSCPA vice president of government relations  

The Accountancy Board of Ohio (ABO), the state 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.  

Each year the ABO goes on the road to meet at an Ohio college or university so Ohio students can see firsthand what the ABO does and learn more about the process of becoming a CPA.  In September they met at Youngstown State University. Significant actions included: 

  • The ABO welcomed several YSU accounting students in the audience, and each Board member explained their path to becoming a CPA and what their career path has been, highlighting that there are many options available to CPAs. They engaged in an enlightening discussion with the students, highlighting that area employers will have access to some great hires soon! 

  • Colleen Conrad, NASBA’s Executive Vice President and COO, explained what CPA Exam candidates will experience when they take the test, and how it will be changing effective January 2024 with the CPA Evolution revisions. She encouraged current students to finish as much of the exam as they can before the switch to avoid transitional challenges. Any parts passed prior to the change will still count as one of the four new parts.   

  • Hannah Thomas, with OSCPA’s student initiatives team, gave an overview of OSCPA student member benefits and encouraged all to join and take advantage of discounts, scholarship offers and networking opportunities. 

  • Much discussion took place around the topic of the 150-hour education requirement and what should happen with the last 30 hours. Upping the amount of allowed internship credit is increasingly coming up, and AICPA/NASBA model rules now recommend a maximum of nine credit hours. The ABO said the number of credit hours now accepted by the ABO for internships is determined by the college/university policies rather than spelled out in Ohio law. Some employers are looking to support their workforce challenges by creating work/study programs, and partnering with virtual or land-based schools while the students are employed at the firm. The ABO said they expect this to be a hot topic at the October NASBA Annual Meeting, which OSCPA will also attend. 

  • Two requests for waiver of late fees were discussed. The Board agreed to waive one of the late fees for medical reasons but voted to deny the second request for a waiver of a $500 late fee. 

  • The Executive Director noted that many CPAs experiencing late fees or disciplinary issues do so because they failed to update their contact information with the ABO, meaning they missed reminders to renew or notices of disciplinary matters that require their prompt response.  

  • Two formal hearings took place:   

  • The first case involved a CPA who had retired his CPA license years earlier but self-reported a possible violation as he thought he might be performing regulated CPA services. To be safe, he took 120 hours of CPE and applied for reinstatement of his license – which was granted. Of note, if a CPA isn’t sure what their future will be but no longer wants an active CPA permit, it’s better to shift to an “inactive” CPA permit rather than “retire” it. An inactive permit can be reactivated by meeting the 120-hour CPE requirement within the past three years while reactivating a retired CPA license requires formally requesting a hearing before the ABO for reinstatement – which is not guaranteed. 

  • The second case also involved a request for reinstatement.  This CPA had his license revoked in 2019 as he was not able to prove he took the required/claimed 120 CPE hours upon audit. He applied for reinstatement after finishing – and providing proof of – 120 CPE hours, including the three hours of professional standards and responsibilities. He said he had relied on his employer to keep his CPE records, but they were lost. His advice to other CPAs was to keep their own records.  

The next ABO meeting will take place on Oct. 21. If you have questions about these or other licensing issues, feel free to reach out to OSCPA.