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NYS Legislature Passes Society-Supported Bill Eliminating CPE Exemption for New CPAs

Chris Gaetano and Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Jun 25, 2018

The New York state Legislature has passed an NYSSCPA-supported bill that eliminates the three-year exemption from mandatory continuing professional education (CPE) for newly licensed CPAs. 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.8522-A, passed the Assembly, 144-0, on June 19, and the Senate, 60-0, on June 20. It was sponsored by Assemblyman Albert “Al” A. Stirpe (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, when the legislation goes into effect. 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. The current ethics CPE requirement will also apply to the newly licensed in New York, which mandates that a CPA earn four credits in ethics CPE during their three-year registration period.

“As the pace of technology, the proliferation of regulations and increasing specialization accelerate, one of the greatest challenges for all CPAs is the attainment, maintenance and advancement of professional competence,” the bill memo states. “To meet this challenge and to maintain public confidence, it is critical that all CPAs remain current in accounting standards, knowledge, skills and abilities in all areas in which they provide services. It is not enough that an individual be successful in completing an accounting education and passing an exam. In a complex and complicated world, all CPAs need to demonstrate that they are taking substantive steps to maintain licensure. An unprofessional or unethical practice of accountancy causes harm to the public. Mandatory CPE for all CPAs, therefore, is all about public protection.”

The bill was one of several initiatives included in the legislative and regulatory agenda that the NYSSCPA Board of Directors approved at its Dec. 7, 2017, meeting. The Society held a Lobby Day promoting the bill to legislators on May 15. Participating in the Lobby Day were NYSSCPA Past President F. Michael Zovistoski; Kevin J. McCoy, chair of the NYSSCPA’s Legislative Task Force; Susan M. Barossi, a former NYSSCPA vice president; Kevin Matz, at the time the president-elect of the Foundation for Accounting Education Board of Trustees; and NYSSCPA member Orumé A. Hays.

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