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MNCPA to explore broadening CPA licensure options

| February/March 2023 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated January 31, 2023

Minnesota is seeing an increasing need for CPA services from businesses, governmental entities and individuals as tax complexity grows. Concurrently, the number of CPAs is declining, and fewer students are pursuing accounting degrees and CPA licensure. Members have echoed these concerns, which have increased in frequency and intensity.
At the Dec. 15, 2022, board meeting, the board approved an initiative to draft legislation to broaden options to CPA licensure requirements in Minnesota while maintaining rigorous testing requirements. This legislation would also support maintaining interstate mobility. The purpose of drafting legislation is not to eliminate the 150-college credit requirement nor diminish the quality of the profession, but rather add flexibility to achieving equivalency by exploring additional pathways to licensure.
There are risks to introducing legislation and challenges to be considered, but this step will elevate conversations about the 150-hour requirement, how it impacts the accounting career pipeline, the recruitment of a diverse workforce, and reduce the associated costs related to earning licensure. Broadening licensure requirements is one part of a larger discussion about how to fill the pipeline.
The challenge of finding qualified staff is a complex and multilayered problem beyond the 150-hour requirement and the MNCPA will continue to pursue those opportunities as well. We will also continue to invest time in promoting this fantastic accounting career to high school students and the value of CPA certification to college students and graduates.
There are many stakeholders who see possibilities in this area. As we move forward, we will engage the AICPA, the Minnesota Board of Accountancy, educators and you, as MNCPA members, to have meaningful discussions about licensure requirements and to ensure the profession remains respected, trusted and is accessible to a diverse set of candidates.
Thank you for your membership and contributions to a profession that creates strong financial foundations in our communities. We will continue to keep you updated as this initiative evolves.
Charles Esler, MNCPA board chair
Geno Fragnito, MNCPA director of government relations
Linda Wedul, MNCPA president and CEO


Comments from board members

Bob Cedergren, CPA, partner, Wipfli LLP

“The profession is facing a challenge and, potentially, a crisis if we don’t make changes that will attract more students to the profession. As a board, we are seeking to explore other alternatives to meeting the 150-hour education credit requirement while maintaining the high degree of professionalism and standards expected of the CPA profession and its representatives.”

Lisa Miller, CPA, CFO, Colle McVoy

“A single path to achieving CPA accreditation is outdated, produces no differentiation in professional performance, limits the diversity of our profession and is a significant financial obstacle for candidates. By allowing candidates to choose the path that works best for their personal situation, we can better address the workforce shortage and limited diversity in our profession. We need to create opportunities for students of color, students from lower-income families, students in no-college households and for nontraditional students. Someone needs to be the first to develop other options or the CPA profession will be outsourced to other countries that do not require 150 hours.”

Boz Bostrom, CPA, professor of accounting and finance, College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University

“As an educator, I have regular and ongoing discussions about how to best prepare my students for work as CPAs. I have those discussions with CPA firms, private and public businesses, and organizations in the nonprofit and governmental sectors. Simply put, allowing for alternative pathways to CPA licensure will not only help address issues with the CPA pipeline but reduce unnecessary hours and dollars spent by individuals who aspire to become CPAs, all while maintaining the competency needed to serve the public.”

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