When I first was presented this story, I was told "this guy in Nevada wants people without accounting education to become CPAs," at which point I became outraged. I mean really, what kind of harebrained idiotic idea is that? What kind of genius came up with that?
Well his name is Andrew Martin. And he is a CPA in the state. And the idea isn't quite as crazy as it was presented to me originally but it's still a bit out there.
Here's the deal: his domestic partner Dana has worked under the supervision of a CPA in the state for over ten years. And Martin argues that should be enough for someone to become a CPA in the state, with a bachelor's degree the state recognizes as "equivalent" like business adminstration.
Both the Nevada Board of Accountancy and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants oppose this bill and not a single member of the Nevada society supported it.
When the state board's executive director Viki Windfeldt commented on the bill, she said as proposed, "AB119 would lower the standards in Nevada for certification compared to the majority of other states and jurisdictions. Currently there are no other states that allow experience in lieu of education or education in lieu of experience to be able to sit for the CPA examination."
Martin did not agree with this, stating that California allows "alternative" paths to licensure and Nevada should try to "promote a more forward thinking experience-based mentality in the CPA profession." Great except that is false. California did have a pathway option – either 150 units and 1 year of work experience or 120 units and 2 years of experience – but both required a certain number of accounting units. A candidate's bachelor's degree may be in anything but most who have a degree in finance or basketweaving aren't going to bother picking up 24 units in accounting along with it. AND let's not forget California tightened things up and things will change come 2014 in the name of mobility. As written, it looks like AB119 kind of leaves some important bits out.
So it's all well and good that Martin wants the love of his life to be a CPA with 10+ years of experience but no degree in accounting – and really, that isn't so bad on paper because we all know practical experience will teach you more than any fancy college anyway – but were Nevada to implement this, Nevada CPAs would be screwed if they ever tried to practice in another state. So why should they have to lower the bar for CPAs across the state just because Martin's dude never finished his accounting classes?
Instead of starting bills that will never get passed, how about being a supportive boyfriend and convincing Dana to head back to school? Just a thought.
Here's the bill itself if you feel like giving it a read. As written:
[AB119] provides that an applicant for a certificate may satisfy the requirements for education and experience if the applicant:
(1) holds a master’s degree or doctoral degree in the field of accounting, business administration or finance or a related field; or
(2) holds a baccalaureate degree or an equivalent or higher degree and has 10 years of relevant experience in a certified public accounting firm, verified by the applicant’s current employer.
Why not just throw out education completely? Let's just buy some Becker books, take the exam and let everyone be a CPA! Woo!
Assemblyman pushing bill to create more CPAs in Nevada [Las Vegas Review-Journal]