By Alexandra Harten
On May 15, 2023, the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) published notice of its intent to amend sections 6, 7.1, 7.3, 8.2, 9.2, 9.3, and 13, Title 16 of the CCR to revise the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination and add submission requirements for early admission, which are outlined in the proposed language. According to the initial statement of reasons, the proposed regulations regarding early entry are the Board’s efforts to implement AB 298 (Irwin) (Chapter 300, Statutes of 2021), which provides an exemption allowing applicants to sit for the CPA Exam prior to completion of the existing educational requirements if specific conditions are met.
Ordinarily, the educational requirements to sit for the CPA Exam require the completion of 24 semester units in accounting subjects, the completion of 24 semester units in business-related subjects, and the conferral of a bachelor’s degree. AB 298’s exception allowed applicants to sit for the CPA Exam before the educational requirements were completed if the applicant: 1) is enrolled in a degree-granting university, college, or other institution; 2) is within 180 days of completing the educational requirements; and 3) submit satisfactory evidence to the CBA within 240 days of application submission to verify completion of the educational requirements.
The proposed regulations would revise the CPA Exam to align with the CPA Evolution licensure model. The initial statement of reasons describes the CPA Evolution initiative as “a joint effort of [the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)] aimed to transform the CPA licensure model in recognition of the rapidly changing skills and competencies the practice requires today and will require in the future.” The new model “targets the body of knowledge required of newly licensed CPAs and requires applicants to pass three core test sections and one discipline test section.” According to the initial statement of reasons, “once the AICPA launches the new version of the CPA Exam, the current version of the exam will no longer be available for use by states.”
At its July 28, 2023, meeting [Agenda Item 11A], the Board voted to authorize the Acting Executive Office to submit the rulemaking package to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for approval. The Board discussed two public comments, both in support of its amended language increasing the timeline for a candidate to pass all parts of the CPA exam from 18 months to 30 months. All present board members voted to approve the motion. Two CBA members, Kristian Latta, CPA, and Ariel Pe, were not present to vote. The 15-day comment period ended on August 18, 2023. The rulemaking package was submitted to the OAL on October 18, 2023. A review by OAL is currently pending. OAL has until December 4, 2023, to accept or reject the amendments.