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Broadening the pathways to CPA licensure

MNCPA member-driven legislation introduced

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 27, 2023) — Last month, MNCPA members received an email that the MNCPA board approved moving forward with drafting legislation to broaden the path to CPA licensure in Minnesota.
This was a significant decision and made after nearly two years of discussions. Conversations often focused on the decreasing number of accounting graduates taking the CPA exam and the declining number of students enrolling in an accounting degree program.
The decision was driven by member feedback, which has increased in frequency and intensity about the shrinking CPA pipeline. We heard many supportive comments about our licensure initiative. There are also questions about how this initiative will address practice mobility and substantial equivalency across state lines. There are risks to making changes and we will work to mitigate and reduce those risks as this process unfolds.
As we listen to comments from stakeholders, there are some points that we want to clarify.

  1. The MNCPA does not believe that legislation to broaden the licensing requirements is a magic solution and candidates will flock to the CPA exam. It is one part of a multi-layered campaign to promote the accounting profession and make it an attractive career choice to students.
  2. The MNCPA initiative does not eliminate 150-college credit hours with one year of work experience as a path to licensure. That should remain an option for candidates who have the means and time to take the additional credits.
  3. The MNCPA initiative does not lower the bar to become a CPA. More than 40 states allow candidates to sit the for the CPA exam with 120 college credits. The CPA exam, which all candidates must pass, is the unifying qualification to become a CPA. Additionally, all states have education, ethics and work experience with varying requirements.
  4. Each states determines their rules to become a CPA, maintain a CPA certificate and regulate the activities of CPAs. While there is a set of model rules, no state has fully adopted them and there currently exists a variety of differences between states. For example, some states require a candidate to have 150 college credits before sitting for the exam. Most allow sitting with only 120 college credits. Even with this difference, states are considered substantially equivalent.
The MNCPA is committed to upholding the reputation of CPAs and the financial stability they bring to small businesses, communities and families. Stay tuned as this conversation continues.
The MNCPA serves the public interest by advancing the highest standards of ethics and practices within the CPA profession. The MNCPA delivers on that promise by offering extensive continuing professional education and resources; advocating for members and the public with regulatory agencies and boards; and mentoring and encouraging the CPAs and business leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 1904, the MNCPA has 7,500 members who work in public accounting, business and industry, government and education.

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Julia Shiota
Office: 952-885-5533