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CPA exam bill signed into law

Written on Jan 9, 2021

OSCPA staff report

Gov. Mike DeWine announced late Friday that on Jan. 7 he signed a bill into law that will allow students to sit for the CPA exam at 120 semester hours.

House Bill 442 becomes effective in 90 days, which falls on April 7.

The new law is a major legislative victory for the accounting profession and 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 she was grateful legislators worked the law through to completion.

“Sincere thanks to the bill’s two joint sponsors, Reps. Bill Roemer, CPA, R-Richfield, and Thomas West, D-Canton, as well as Senator Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, for their hard work in shepherding this OSCPA priority bill through the often-challenging legislative process – particularly during the unpredictable Lame Duck period,” she said. “Their leadership was critical to the bill’s 11th-hour passage on the House floor.”

The law 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 Accountancy Board of Ohio will soon begin work to adjust administrative rules impacted by the law, including considering whether to change when the required 30 accounting and 24 business hours must be completed: before a candidate starts taking any parts of the Ohio CPA Exam or, as is the case in several states, when the candidate has completed most but not all of the required courses. A number of other states require fewer than the 54 specific Ohio hours for licensure, meaning more and more Ohio students are opting to send their Exam scores to a more flexible state.

For more information on this issue, contact OSCPA’s government relations team.