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Newly Licensed CPAs Must Take CPE Starting on Jan. 1, 2020

Published Date:
Mar 5, 2019
On Dec. 21, 2018, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill eliminating the three-year exemption from mandatory continuing professional education (CPE) for newly licensed CPAs and public accountants. The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The Society lobbied for the legislation as part of an effort to ensure that new CPAs  remain competent in new and emerging skill sets that clients and employers have come to expect in the age of blockchain and artificial intelligence. The legislation, A.10648/S.8522A, passed the Assembly, 144-0, on June 19, 2018, and the  Senate, 60-0, on June 20, 2018. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Albert “Al” A. Stirpe Jr. (D-127) in the Assembly and by Sen. Pamela Helming (R-54) in the Senate.
As a result, newly licensed CPAs in New York state will need to earn up to 120 credit hours of CPE during their first three years of licensure, starting on Jan. 1, 2020. Specifically, the legislation will require new CPA licensees to earn either 24 credits a year in a concentration, such as audit or taxation, or 40 credits a year in general CPE. Whatever ethics CPE regulations are in effect on that date will also apply to the newly licensed in New York. (See below.)
Effective date of ethics CPE changes to be clarified after Regents approval
At its Oct. 24, 2018, meeting, the New York State Board for Public Accountancy approved regulatory language implementing new ethics continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. If this language is accepted by the New York State Board of Regents, New York state-licensed CPAs will be required to complete two credits of ethics CPE every year, rather than the current four credits every three years. In addition, two out of six credits every three years will have to include a New York state-approved ethics course, while the other four can be in a variety of ethics topics, including behavioral ethics. Currently, all four credits must be in a New York state-approved course.
The regulatory language approved by the public accountancy board will, if accepted by the Board of Regents, appear in Section 70.9(b)(3) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education: “For each registration ending on or after January 2, 2020, a registered licensee who is subject to the continuing professional education requirement shall be required to complete at least two credits in ethics every calendar year period; including, at a minimum, a two-credit NYS approved ethics course must be completed every three calendar years. The two credits of ethics may be counted toward the annual requirement in the calendar year that they are taken.”
After some NYSSCPA members sought clarification about the effective date of these changes, the NYSSCPA reached out to the public accountancy board. The board responded that it would be premature to provide such clarification now, as the Board of Regents has not yet reviewed these changes. If the Board of Regents does accept the changes as regulation amendments, the public accountancy board will provide examples and clarification at that time, via frequently asked questions posted on its website. So, for now, CPAs should continue to adhere to the current regulations for ethics CPE.

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