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October 1, 2023

What You Should Know About Changing the 150 Hour Rule Before You Debate For or Against It


All-around awesome person Byron Patrick tweeted a bit of a manifesto on the 150 hour rule today and I want to share it as a movement to lower the CPA licensure requirement of 150 units to ease the CPA shortage is currently underway. Minnesota just introduced a bill to add a 120 units/two years of work experience option to the existing CPA pathway and we anticipate other states may follow. As we debate the issue, it’s important to be well-informed (controversial position to take on the internet in this day and age, I know) and his thread sums things up nicely. I’ve consolidated the thread into one chunk o’ text for your reading pleasure.

To change the requirements to get licensed as a CPA, each State Govt must pass a law to make the change. This is not 1 person/department’s decision.

As a result, in order to make a change, a Bill must be sponsored and submitted to the state legislature.⬇️

At that point, the state legislature will prioritize the bills they will vote on in that session. They never get through all Bills.

Let’s be optimistic and say that the Bill is brought to the floor. We now must make a big lobbying push ⬇️

State legislators won’t bother to show up to vote unless their constituents are advocating for or against the matter.

Keep in mind there will be arguments w/in the State against making the change. Specifically, higher education will be negatively impacted by the lost revenue.⬇️

Public colleges are State Employees. Let’s assume advocacy can overcome this resistance.

You get the votes to pass both sides of the govt, we now need a governor to sign the bill. Again the Gov needs to know there is support to prioritize signing the bill to make it a law.⬇️

Congratulations, requirements have been changed in 1 state. 51 additional jurisdictions to go.

If I recall it took nearly 10 years to get a critical mass of states to change to 150, due to the need to gain support in each state government to even care about making a change.⬇️

A country with different req for the CPA is a nightmare. A couple states might benefit because people from out of state get licensed in their state. However, holding yourself out as a CPA in other states will be an issue. How many CPAs work with clients only in 1 state? ⬇️

There is a lot of frustration with the @AICPA that they aren’t listening to the members and supporting a change. Their purpose is to support, advocate and protect CPAs and the License. They have a vested interest in ensuring there are as many CPAs as possible. ⬇️

They also have first-hand knowledge of how hard it is to make changes to the requirements to become a licensed CPA. They are not going to intentionally not take action on the pipeline challenges putting their membership, dues, and purpose at risk. We all have the same goal. ⬇️

Finally, do not read this thread and assume I’m an advocate of 150 >120. I refuse to have that debate as you may as well argue that gravity is bad for earth. The reqs that are in place are not going to change. I am an advocate of influencing the things that we can change. ⬇️

Such as:

  • Creative approaches to achieving the ed reqs
  • Financial support to help people achieve their ed reqs
  • Advocating for firms to compete for talent w/ compensation & benefits
  • Elevating firms and their practices that create environments that people want to be a part of

The passion and interest in easing the pipeline challenge is awesome. It is in our best interest that we continue to fight and advocate for people to choose a career in Accounting. There is no silver bullet and certainly, there is no simple answer.

People are going to be willing to do the work & check all the boxes if the outcome is worth the effort. Let’s find ways to make sure that outcome is worth it… because by today’s standards of overwork and underpaid for new/young accountants, even 120 won’t be worth the effort. ☑️


Go debate or praise him on Twitter if you want or duke it out in the comments, up to you.

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  1. I think this sums up the obstacles very well. But the underlying issue is whether adding the 30 hours (in anything) and removing the 2nd year experience requirement leaves us with a better stronger Profession (in the US). I can’t find anyone arguing that it does. All the arguments are around difficulties in making the changes and the chaos that would ensue with disparate licensing requirements. But what if we all as a profession decided to push for this together? What if the AICPA said something along the lines of “It seemed like a good idea at the time, but we see now it is harming the Profession” and got everyone to pull in the same direction?
    I think we need to separate inertial factors from arguments on the merits and do what’s best for the future of the Profession.

  2. Let’s be real, the one and only solution to the accountant shortage is to make the juice worth the squeeze. That means much higher compensation for the rank and file below partner and much higher prices for our customers. The financial rewards for the staff need to be high enough to make the choice actually difficult between pursying accounting and its long hours vs other professions with easier work and better compensation. Nothing else will convince generations to en masse choose accounting and lead to a rebound in enrollments and new CPAs.

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