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CPA exam bill approved by Senate; heads soon to governor for approval

Written on Dec 18, 2020

OSCPA staff report

In a second major victory in as many months for the accounting profession in Ohio, the State Senate Friday evening passed a bill to allow students to sit for the CPA exam at 120 semester hours. It will need one last stop on the Ohio House floor early next week for concurrence with Senate changes before heading to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk.

If signed as expected by Gov. DeWine, House Bill 442 would make Ohio consistent with 37 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing students to sit for all four parts of the exam after completing at least 120 hours of the required 150 hours of coursework.

Just more than six weeks ago the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the State Department of Taxation may create a centralized system for the collection of all municipal business income taxes.

“These two issues have dominated The Ohio Society of CPAs’ legislative agenda in recent years,” said OSCPA President and CEO Scott Wiley, CAE. “To have them – rightly – resolved in the way our members said they should be serves our objectives of, one: a favorable business environment in Ohio; and two: creating a more reasonable pathway to the profession for young people.”

House Bill 442 was the result of lengthy discussion and research by OSCPA members and staff. The OSCPA Executive Board in 2017 formed a task force of educators and CPA employers, the consensus of which found they could support sitting at 120 hours while maintaining 150 for licensure. A subsequent deep dive in 2018-2019 by OSCPA’s Young CPA Board found very strong support for the changes.

Barbara Benton, CAE, OSCPA’s vice president of government relations, said the society found a receptive audience in legislators who understood the issues involved.

“We would like to thank the bill sponsors, Reps Bill Roemer, CPA, R-Richfield, and Thomas West, D-Canton, as well as all who voted in favor,” Benton said. “This is an issue that all our members, and most especially students and young professionals, have told us is important to address.”

The bill also eliminates a punitive provision in Ohio law that doubles the experience requirement for those who start the exam process sooner than 90 days before completing their education; the requirement drops to one year, down from two.

The legislation was unanimously approved by the Ohio House of Representatives earlier in 2020, and received a 28-1 endorsement by the Ohio Senate Dec. 18.