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. That is why OSCPA represents the profession at every ABO meeting and advocates for best-practice rulemaking. Their May meeting included lengthy discussions about several areas impacting Ohio CPAs.
Significant actions impacting individual licensees or firms – and often including significant punishments - during this meeting included:
Five formal disciplinary hearings took place, during which testimony was shared by ABO investigative staff and legal counsel, and in most cases by the CPA in question:
One CPA failed to renew his permit to practice. In 2022 he had received two cease and desist notices telling him he could not continue to practice as a CPA. He did not request a hearing and did not appear before the ABO to explain his actions. The ABO voted to revoke his CPA permit.
Two CPAs representing separate CPA firms were called to appear because their firms had not completed the mandatory firm peer review in a timely manner. One was able to complete its peer review five months late and secure the firm’s registration, per the individual CPA representing the firm. Her permit to practice was revoked, but the revocation was stayed pending payment of a $500 fine. The other firm still had not completed its peer review, which was due Oct. 31, 2022. The firm registration was revoked, but stayed if the firm completes its peer review by June 30 and pays a $2,000 fine by that date.
Two individuals were among the 20% of licensee renewals selected for the 2022 CPE audit – and neither could provide proof of completing the claimed 120 hours of CPE. One had subsequently completed the whole 120 hours in January through March 2023 and submitted proof. He had his permit to practice revoked, but that revocation was stayed pending payment of a $500 fine, another three-hour PSR course, and related late fees. The other individual had still not shown proof but explained that health issues impacted her ability to do so. She too had her permit to practice revoked, but stayed the revocation if by June 30 she could prove the 120 CPE hours, take the PSR course and pay a $250 fine plus late fees.
Two other individuals had requested their hearings be continued until the June meeting. Both involved CPAs who could not timely prove they met the 120-hour CPE audit requirement in late 2022.
The bottom line of these CPE audit cases: when you go to renew your permit to practice and check the box verifying you took all 120 hours of CPE in the prior three-year period, make sure you can prove it as you have a 20% chance of being audited by the ABO. Even if you can prove you took all your required CPE, if you don’t renew your individual or firm permit on time, it can result in fines…or if you ignore the ABO’s letters, you could lose the CPA license you worked so hard to obtain.
10 individual CPAs formally requested waivers of late fees/fines they had to pay for missing renewal deadlines or not meeting CPE requirements. Of the 10, four were denied, two were reduced, and four were granted – very unusual compared to past meetings when almost all were denied.
The ABO continued discussion on the nationwide workforce shortage of CPAs, and the shrinking CPA pipeline now in college. This meeting focused on initial discussions on how long the testing window should be for CPA Exam candidates. A recent National Association of State Boards of Accountancy Uniform Accountancy Act Committee recommends permanently moving from the current 18 months to 30 months. Opinions were varied, and OSCPA will be sharing our recommendation when the Board next meets. The ABO plans to vote on how long Ohio’s window should be on that same date.
The next ABO meeting will take place on Friday, June 9 in Columbus. While the meetings are held in person, watching via Teams is an option too. To receive a link, contact the ABO at 614-466-4130. If you have questions about these or other licensing issues, feel free to reach out to OSCPA.