By Mike Colgan, PICPA Executive Director and CEO
The Governor and PICPA representatives at the ceremonial bill signing of Act 15 of 2013 in Harrisburg. The State Board’s updated Certified Public Accountant Certification Application became available Aug. 19, 2013.
After years of persistence, PICPA-supported legislation that implements a “general experience requirement” to become a CPA in Pennsylvania was signed by Gov. Corbett on June 19, 2013.
The new law, Act 15 of 2013, will become effective Aug. 18, 2013. It permits CPA candidates to attain their required experience through employment in public practice, industry, government, or academia. In addition, the experience can come from providing any type of service or advice that involves the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills. The experience will still need to be of a caliber satisfactory to the State Board and verified by a current licensee. Most importantly, candidates are no longer required to achieve 25 percent of their required hours in the attest function.
This change had widespread support among PICPA members and the profession. Larger firms with many specialized areas of practice and smaller firms that choose not to have an attest practice both welcome the change. Those firms will be able to use their personnel more effectively and efficiently, and candidates in industry, government, and academia will now be able to pursue their goal of becoming CPAs without having to change career paths or scramble for a way to accumulate attest hours.
What do you think about the elimination of the attest requirement? Mike Colgan explains the rule change and wants to know what you think.
Pennsylvania became the 27th state to adopt this general experience requirement, and there has been no known adverse impact on the quality of practice in the other states with the same requirement. The reality is that CPA candidates who provide services in the attest area will most likely receive all of their experience hours in the attest function, plus this area is subject to additional oversight through standards and programs such as peer review. Candidates not working in the attest area will be able to maximize their training in areas related to their responsibilities.
The PICPA has many resources to help members, CPA candidates, and students become familiar with these changes. In addition, the State Board of Accountancy is working on the necessary revisions to the Experience Form, which will be available before the law is effective on Aug. 18, 2013.
I want to express my thanks to the PICPA Statute Revision Task Force, chaired by PICPA past president Kevin Mitchell, which initiated this change process back in 2011, as well as the many members who reached out to legislators in support of this legislation. Members who support our CPA-PAC had a direct hand in providing PICPA with access to key legislative leaders to promote our agenda. If you have not contributed in the past, please consider this worthwhile investment. I also need to thank many members of the PICPA team who have diligently worked behind-the-scenes to pursue and publicize this effort. With many hands involved in the process, change can happen!
I look forward to welcoming many new CPAs to the profession over the next year, as well as current and future students who will find the pathways to enter the profession in Pennsylvania have been expanded.