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Accountancy Board votes to expand window to pass CPA Exam

Written on Jun 30, 2023

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 received two cease and desist notices telling him he could not hold out 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 certificate.   

  • One CPA had two clients file complaints with the ABO for failure to remit taxes on behalf of another and failure to return client records. The person did not respond to any outreach by the ABO, and appeared to have closed his practice and ceased all communication with his clients.  The ABO voted to revoke his CPA certificate.   

  • 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 Her permit to practice was revoked, but the revocation was stayed pending payment of a $500 fine.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 last October.  The CPA’s certificate and firm registration were revoked, but stayed if the firm shows completion of the peer review, renews the firm registration and pays all relevant fees, and completes three hours of Professional Standards and Responsibilities.       

  • One CPA formally requested a waiver of fees caused by not taking at least 20 hours of CPE each year.  Two others requested reconsideration of past decisions. None were successful. 

  • The ABO continued discussion on the nationwide workforce shortage of CPAs, and the shrinking CPA pipeline now in college.  In a continuation of last month’s meeting, the ABO discussed how long the testing window should be for CPA Exam candidates.  It was agreed that 30 months – a full year longer than the current 18 months – was the right number to continue substantial equivalency from state to state.  OSCPA agreed that, while we’d like to see a higher number, it does make sense to have continuity across state lines to avoid challenges for Ohio exam takers.  Most states across the country are moving to the 30-month window. They also agreed the executive director should have authority to extend the window of time by up to 12 months on a case-by-case basis.   The Board voted to move forward with the formal rule-filing process, and the 30-month window should be in place by the end of the year. 

  • Scott Wiley, CAE, OSCPA President & CEO, spoke on behalf of OSCPA on the need to more actively pursue workforce transformation and CPA pipeline efforts.  A request was made for an additional grant of $160,000 from the CPA Education Assistance Fund to pursue such efforts.  The funds, raised through a long-standing surcharge of CPA renewal fees, otherwise would have reverted to a different state government account on June 30 rather than being used for the intended purpose.   The ABO voted unanimously to support the grant, and asked for data showing results of OSCPA’s pipeline recruitment efforts.  OSCPA will share the proposed data points at the July ABO meeting.  Related, further discussion took place on other ways that could increase the CPA profession’s workforce efforts in the future. 

The next ABO meeting will take place on Friday, July 7 in Columbus. While the meetings are held in person, watching it 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. 

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