CPA exam reform hearings continue in Senate

Written on Dec 03, 2020

OSCPA staff report 

The Ohio Senate on Dec. 2 listened to opponent and additional proponent testimony on HB 442, legislation that would allow students to start sitting for the CPA exam after completing 120 semester hours of the required 150 hours of coursework. 

Some higher education officials testified that the bill “…puts at risk the advances made through accreditation improvements, curriculum and state and private financial investments and cross supporting arrangements since the establishment of the 150-hour to sit rule in 2000.” 

The Ohio Society of CPAs testified in support of the bill Nov. 17, noting this change 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 the 120 hours, and that currently many Ohio students already are testing at the 120 hour level by sending their scores to one of those other states.. 

“In 2017, our board formed a task force of educators and CPA employers; the consensus of this group was they could support sitting at 120, but we needed to keep 150 for licensure,” OSCPA Vice President of Government Relations Barb Benton said at the time. “A subsequent deep dive in 2018-2019 by OSCPA’s Young CPA Board found very strong support for the proposed changes before you.” 

Several college professors opposed to the changes shared concerns that the bill could weaken Ohio’s high accounting education standards. They also pointed to the CPA Evolution Model proposed by the AICPA as reason to maintain current law.   Contradicting that point of view, another college professor formally shared support for the legislation, saying it would benefit students on their path to licensure. 

Two students majoring in accounting at The Ohio State University spoke out in favor of the legislation in November, testifying about a survey of Ohio accounting students that found that 58.5% did not want to wait as long as current Ohio law requires to take the exam, 48.6% plan to transfer scores sent out-of-state for licensing back to Ohio so they can work here and 89% would be more likely to transfer scores back to Ohio if it became a 120-hour state. Additionally, 80% of respondents said they think the current exam system is a disincentive to practice as a CPA in Ohio. Nothing in the proposed legislation would change the current licensure requirement of completing 150 semester hours of education, including 30 hours in accounting and 24 hours in business coursework, to ensure interstate mobility continues to be available to Ohio licensees. 

Members interested in seeing Ohio adopt this law change are urged to contact their state senator ASAP as the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee plans to vote on the bill next week.. OSCPA makes it very fast and easy to identify your senator and send a message with our Take Action letter-writing program. Go to https://www.ohiocpa.com/advocacy/Take_Action#/ and within five minutes your message can be composed and sent!