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Pathways CPA licensure bill advances in Minnesota Senate

The legislation now moves to the Senate Finance Committee

MINNEAPOLIS (March 8, 2024) Senate File 1660, the MNCPA-backed bill to broaden the pathways to CPA licensure, advanced in the Minnesota Senate on Thursday.
On a voice vote, the State and Local Government and Veterans Committee moved the bill to the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee.
Testimony from accounting leaders locally and nationally spoke to the impact this legislation can have on the talent pipeline issue facing the profession.
“There are multiple studies that show that the 150-hour requirement has created barriers for students, especially minority students, to becoming CPAs. There is no evidence that the 150-hour requirement has improved the quality of the profession,” wrote Jen Leary, CPA, CEO of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, in testimony to the Senate committee. “We have the power to change this. Minnesota’s exemplary actions to broaden the pathways and increase accessibility to the accounting profession have the potential to increase the number of CPAs overall and encourage hard working, diverse talent to join the profession.”
The bill, a result of member feedback and support from the MNCPA board of directors, offers an additional option to licensure with a bachelor’s degree (120 credits) and two years of work experience — the same requirement in Minnesota until nearly 20 years ago. The bill also maintains the current 150-hour credit rule.
Many other states already have additional pathways to licensure in place for CPA candidates, and more states are joining the conversation, including Arizona, Virginia and New Jersey.
"I can tell you from my own experience, through conversations with colleagues throughout the country and the members of the MNCPA, that we have a significant shortage of CPAs,” Bob Cedergren, CPA, the MNCPA board chair told the committee. “The work continues to grow but the supply of CPAs to do the work isn’t keeping up. … We need to move forward. The situation is critical.”
The Senate bill is authored by Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, a Republican, and co-signed by Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy and Sens. Ann Rest and Zaynab Mohamed, all Democrats.
The House companion bill, House File 1749, has not received a hearing date yet.
But CPAs and legislators alike see the urgency in advancing this bill and the conversation concerning the CPA talent pipeline.
"It's been our experience that hiring students with 120-credit hours makes absolutely no difference in their performance versus hiring students with 150 credits,” testified Pat Plamann, CPA, managing partner at Schlenner, Wenner & Co. in St. Cloud. “This bill is the pipeline for the life of our firm.”
Sen. Mark Koran offered Rasmusson support for the bill in hopes that it becomes law.
“Hopefully you’ll get it across the finish line,” he said.
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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