Monumental Changes for CPAs Arise from Pa. Legislature’s Late Session Action
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Nov 07, 2022

Monumental Changes for CPAs Arise from Pa. Legislature’s Late Session Action

Alex Fabian McMahonBy Alexandra Fabian, PICPA Manager, Government Relations  


Substantial change takes time. It is a practice in patience, especially when it comes to change needing legislation. For the past two years, the PICPA government relations team has been working behind the scenes to push for major legislative changes to Pennsylvania’s CPA Law, the law that governs the profession and impacts so many functions that are core to the role of CPAs.  

At the beginning of the 2021-2022 legislative session, the PICPA team identified several issues that would help eliminate some of the obstructions in the accounting career pipeline, would modernize outdated practices, and would generally streamline processes for CPAs working in Pennsylvania. The PICPA government relations team worked with various stakeholders in the accounting community, such as the AICPA, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, and PICPA’s peer review team to formulate legislative language that met the needs of all the interested parties. With the approval of the accounting community, this collection of vital changes benefiting the profession soon became House Bill 1328, sponsored by Rep. Keith Greiner, CPA (R-Lancaster).  

Pennsylvania capitol domeHere are some of the important changes that House Bill 1328 makes to the Pennsylvania CPA Law:

  • Directs the State Board of Accountancy to adopt a nationally recognized code of professional conduct.
  • Expands the scope of classes a student can take toward earning an accounting degree to include economics and technology.
  • Permits an applicant for licensure to sit for the CPA Exam upon completing 120 semester credits without a degree being conferred.
  • Makes numerous updates to peer review standards, including the following:
    • Specifies that the firms that require a peer review will need to be enrolled in a board-approved peer review program.
    • Eliminates the exception to the peer review requirements that allow firms with two or fewer licensees to have a five-year peer review cycle rather than a three-year cycle.
    • Streamlines the peer review submission requirements to allow board access.
    • Makes conforming changes to comply with current peer review standards.

Once the legislation was formally introduced, the PICPA government relations team got to work meeting with members of the state House and Senate licensure committees to explain the changes, alleviate concerns, and ensure a smooth route to passage. In January 2022, House Bill 1328 passed its first legislative hurdle when it was considered by the House Licensure Committee and passed unanimously. In February, the bill was considered by the House of Representatives, where it again passed unanimously by a vote of 199 to 0.  

The legislation was then referred to the Senate, where it sat idle for months. The PICPA team had begun to lose hope as the end of the legislative session approached and there was no legislative action on the bill despite our best efforts to urge its consideration. Then, on Oct. 24, during the final voting week of the 2022 legislative session, a breakthrough! The bill was scheduled to be considered by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. The legislation again passed unanimously and then received final passage by the full Senate the following day – the final voting day of the year. Had the legislation not passed, we would have had to start the process from the beginning by reintroducing a new bill in 2023.

The legislation championed by the PICPA was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Nov. 3 and is now Act 110 of 2022. It’s important to note that the PICPA government relations team strives to maintain a nonpartisan role in the state capital as an authority on accounting issues and economic matters impacting Pennsylvania. We provide technical expertise to policymakers that only CPAs can provide, and without the PICPA working tirelessly to shepherd sound tax policies through the process, instrumental changes such as these likely would not happen.

Jennifer Cryder, PICPA’s chief executive officer, commented on the legislation, stating, “The PICPA works every day on behalf of CPAs in Pennsylvania, solving problems and creating opportunities for the profession. We are so proud of these amendments to the CPA Law because they represent the best of what we can do together – we identify what the profession needs to be future-ready and then convene influencers and decision-makers to make that happen. I’m certain the CPA profession in Pennsylvania will be better because these changes have been made.”

The changes included in House Bill 1328 truly are significant for the profession, and the PICPA gratefully thanks Rep. Greiner for his unwavering support and guiding this bill through an often challenging and unpredictable legislative process. Commenting on the legislation, Rep. Greiner said, “As an active CPA, it was an honor to be able to shepherd this bill through the legislative process in Harrisburg. This is an important piece of legislation for the CPA profession. It keeps the Pennsylvania CPA Law on pace with the rapid changes our profession is facing. I am proud to have my name associated with this legislation. Thank you to the PICPA for working with me on this initiative.”

To learn more about this victory and other key legislative initiatives, join Peter Calcara, PICPA vice president of government relations, as he provides an insider’s perspective on the year-end legislative and regulatory landscape in the state capital. Register today for this free-to-members one-hour webcast on Nov. 30.   


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2 comments

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  • Peter Calcara | Nov 22, 2022
    No, students will not be required to have their 36 hours in accounting related credits to take the exam once this provision goes into effect (Jan. 1, 2023). 
  • Sharon Turchick | Nov 18, 2022

    I believe both micro and macro economics already counted toward the accounting/audit/ tax etc. credits.  In addition to reaching the 120, will students be required to have their 36 accounting/audit/tax credits before sitting for the exam?

     

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