By Frannie Winters
AB 298 (Irwin), as amended June 17, 2021, amends sections 5007, 5070, 5070.5, and 5094.3 of, and add sections 5009.5 and 5093.5 to, the Business and Professions Code to implement the California Board of Accountancy’s (CBA or the Board) legislative proposals for 2021. Section 5007 allows the Board’s secretary-treasurer to preside at Board meetings in the absence of the vice president and president and permits the president to designate a board member to preside at a meeting in which the secretary-treasurer is also absent. Section 5070 requires that permits to engage in public accountancy be issued by the Board only to holders of the certificate of certified public accountant issued under the chapter, and to other persons who, upon application approved by the Board, are registered with the Board. Section 5070.5 clarifies the term of expiration of a permit and the renewal process, and section 5094.3 clarifies that the ethics education requirement for applicants may be fulfilled with coursework related to auditing and fraud.
Section 5009.5 adds that CBA applicant and licensee email addresses are confidential and are not to be considered a public record subject to disclosure pursuant to a California Public Records Act request, or posted on the internet pursuant to section 27 of the Business and Professions Code unless required by court order. Section 5093.5 allows admission of applicants to the CBA exam prior to completing the education requirements for licensure if the applicant is enrolled in a degree-granting university, college, or institution of learning and is within 180 days of completing the educational requirements. The amendment also requires applicants to provide the Board with satisfactory evidence of completion within 240 days of submitting the application. According to the author, AB 298 will further the California Board of Accountancy’s consumer protection mission by streamlining the process for applicants to complete the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam, supporting the Board’s authority to conduct its board meetings, clarifying the privacy of the Board’s licensee and applicant email addresses, and adding coursework in fraud and auditing to be included as allowable to meet the ethics education requirement.
Governor Newsom signed AB 298 on September 24, 2021 (Chapter 300, Statutes of 2021).