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Minnesota legislature pursuing alternative CPA licensure path

Written on Mar 8, 2024

By Barb Benton, CAE, OSCPA senior vice president, advocacy 

Like Ohio, states across our nation are concerned about the shrinking number of individuals seeking to become CPAs and the negative impact that could have on employers and those they serve. Minnesota is the first state to pursue a new legislative solution to their current workforce challenge, and OSCPA shared Ohio’s experience of having two longstanding pathways in addition to the traditional 150-hour licensure requirement. 

Legislation being pursued by the Minnesota Society of CPAs received a hearing March 7, and OSCPA weighed in to share existing Ohio law with Minnesota state senators, verifying that Minnesota would not be the first state to offer alternative licensure options. 

The Minnesota legislation seeks to retain the current 150-hour education and one-year experience requirements and adds a second pathway allowing 120 hours of education and two years of experience for licensure. 

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) also weighed in on SF 1660, sharing concerns that – should Minnesota law change – current licensees would no longer be eligible for interstate mobility.  The CEO of Clifton Larson Allen, the nation’s eighth-largest CPA firm, submitted supportive testimony as did the Minnesota Society of CPAs, the Minnesota State Auditor, and owners of other CPA firms.   

The bill was unanimously voted out of the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee and next goes to the Minnesota Finance Committee for consideration.  A companion bill in the Minnesota House is expected to begin hearings soon. 

Separately, both AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) created task forces that currently are working toward the goal of a national solution states could adopt to address current pipeline challenges and also maintain interstate mobility. NASBA’s leadership recently released the proposed language that allows for an additional path of 120 semester hours and two years of an undefined, off-transcript “Specialized Professional Program”.   OSCPA currently is in the process of evaluating the NASBA proposal; AICPA already has expressed concerns about it. 

Both task forces have Ohio representation, and both are working toward having detailed, proposed solutions ready for state consideration this summer.  AICPA and NASBA boards must approve a proposed change for it to be included in the Uniform Accountancy Act, which is model language many states use to craft legislative and regulatory changes. 

For more information on this important topic, be sure to register for the March 14 OSCPA Town Hall.  This event will feature MIT Professor Andrew Sutherland and AICPA Vice President of State Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Marta Zaniewski. Sutherland will share the results of his recent study on the impact of professional licensure on labor markets, and Zaniewski will share the latest on AICPA efforts. 

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