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Hearings begin on CPA exam bill

Written on May 1, 2020

Hearings began this week on a bipartisan bill that would allow Ohio CPA candidates to sit for the CPA exam after the completion of a bachelor’s degree or its 120-hour equivalent.

House Bill 442 co-sponsors Reps Bill Roemer, CPA, R-Richfield, and Thomas West, D-Canton, testified Feb. 5 before the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee.

West said the 150-hour requirement was enacted in Ohio in the early 1990s and has been in effect since 2000. He said scores of test results of those states allowing students the opportunity to sit for the exam after 120 hours versus those who took it at 150 hours demonstrate there is no statistical difference in test success.

"We need to stress that if a student did not feel prepared at that point in their studies to sit for the exam, there is no requirement that he or she do so," he said.

Ohio now requires that a candidate be within 90 days of completing 150 hours of college education before being eligible to take the CPA exam. In contrast, 37 other states and Washington, D.C. already allow candidates to sit for the CPA exam after completion of 120 hours of education or a bachelor’s degree.

Under the OSCPA-supported bill, 150 hours of college education and one year of work experience would still be required to obtain the CPA license to ensure these individuals could continue to qualify under interstate mobility laws. The bill would also eliminate the existing penalty of requiring an additional year of experience for Ohio residents who start taking the exam earlier than current law allows.

Rep. Mary Lightbody, D-Plain Township, asked if it was possible for somebody who has only completed 120 hours to take the test multiple times. Roemer said there is no limitation on how many times they can take it after 120 hours.

West said the bill makes a person much more attractive in the workforce. Roemer also noted that when he was a student, he took auditing when he was a sophomore, but didn't take the test until four years later, and said it can be beneficial to take the exam closer to related studies.

View the Feb. 5 hearing in its entirety.

Hannah News Service contributed to this report.

OSCPA members can help!

OSCPA members: Tell your representatives why HB442 is needed! We’ll help you by providing your legislators’ contact information, talking points, and guidance on how best to get your message out. Contact your government relations team now for more information.