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Pennsylvania Is Trying to Ditch the Attest Hour Requirement for New CPAs

Should all new CPAs be required to log audit hours before applying for licensure? Most states don't seem to think so.

For prospective Pennsylvania CPAs, however, at least 400 hours are still required (which works out to 25% of candidates' total required experience), regardless of whether these candidates will ever work on an audit in their professional lives. Seems a bit silly, no?

The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants agrees:

The attest experience requirement in the current CPA Law is overly restrictive. It does not reflect today’s environment for CPA services. More than half of today’s accounting graduates pursue initial employment outside of traditional public accounting. Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the country that still require attest hours for licensure.

The changes proposed in HB 40 would put Pennsylvania on equal footing with most other states. Currently, Pennsylvania CPA firms are at a competitive disadvantage to retain accounting graduates when they can become more easily licensed in other states. It also makes it difficult for candidates to complete their experience requirement when working in areas outside of the auditing function.

HB 40 – which goes up for a committee vote on March 13 – is sponsored by PICPA member Rep. Gordon Denlinger, CPA and hopes to level the playing field for PA CPAs. Since hardly anyone else requires attest hours, it makes sense to give PA candidates a pass as well.

Here's the deal: 25 states plus DC have adopted the statutory language contained within the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) developed by NASBA and the AICPA. Both NASBA and the AICPA support a one year, broad-based experience requirement for initial licensure. One year of experience under a CPA licensed in the state is sufficient and allows the inclusion of all fields; public, industry, government, etc.
To ask much more of wanna-be licensees is just excessive, right?

The first time this change was proposed, the bill had 23 co-sponsors and passed the House unanimously but stalled in the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure committee.

If you are in Pennsylvania and think this is a good idea, the PICPA would appreciate it if you give your representative a buzz and say so.

See also: this HOO-RAH over at Another71.