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NASBA: 150 hour rule doesn’t make public safer…


NASBA issued a draft in June titled “Education and Licensure Requirements for Certified Public Accountants: A Discussion Regarding Degreed Candidates Sitting for the Uniform CPA Examination with a Minimum of 120 Credit Hours (120-Hour Candidate) and Becoming Eligible for Licensure with a Minimum of 150 Credit Hours (150-Hour Candidate)”.

They stress that the discussion isn't about whether the 150 hour rule for licensing should stick, but rather is the 150 hour rule for sitting for the CPA Exam still relevant?

According to the draft, the answer is NO.

In the summary, it states:

“We have found no evidence of detriment to the public interest in those states allowing candidates to sit for the CPA examination at less than 150 hours of education and later fulfilling the 150 hours.”

So…let me get this straight:

A candidate meets the “minimum requirements for serving the public interest” after 1. passing the Uniform CPA Exam and 2. passing the ethics exam. The draft is saying that if you have 120 hours under your belt, you should be able to sit for the exam, pass it, pass the ethics exam, but only AFTER you take some classes to reach that arbitrary number of 150 hours (you take a business law class at a juco…grab a public speaking class or two, yada yada), THEN you are eligible for getting a license and are ready to go out in the world and protect the public interest?

It seems to me that if you meet the education requirements (120 hours in some states) to sit for the exam, have the wherewithal to PASS the exam, then forget the stupid classes where you'll likely find yourself surrounded by undergrads chatting about “oh my gosh! I got so drunk last night!” and txtng their friends in some business law class (by the way – you already passed BEC and REG).

The 150 hour rule is pointless. Why not make it 200 hours? 250? Oh I know why – when it comes to protecting the public, according to NASBA the additional hours do not equip you to better serve the public interest. If NASBA is correct, then requiring the extra 30 hours when the public is not tangibly better off because they are required violates one of the tenets of the auditing and attestation profession: Cost vs. Benefit.

In a way, they are saying “passing the Uniform CPA Exam isn't good enough to get a CPA license – it requires 30 additional hours of non-uniform, arbitrary college courses that you can take at a JUCO. Only THEN will you meet the minimum requirements to serve the public interest.”

Bottom line: If 120 hours is good enough to sit and pass the exam, then 120 hours is good enough to get a license and start serving the public interest.

Link: NASBA Draft

THE AUTHOR

Jeff Elliott

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COMMENTS

5 comments on “NASBA: 150 hour rule doesn’t make public safer…”

  • hey! wait a minute! are you trying to tell me that the volleyball, astronomy, and CPR classes that i crammed into my last semester to reach 150 credit hours don’t make me a better CPA?!?! HOW DARE YOU!!!

    though, i suppose the CPR class does make me better equipped to serve the public. if i find someone drowning.

  • Unless you get a masters degree with the 30 hours. Instead of taking ridiculous classes to meet the minimum, push yourself while you are in school so you can learn the more difficult topics and the CPA exam will be easier.

  • I concur. I’m more inclined to believe people who have 150+ units are less responsible folks anyways.

    It probably isn’t true, but as someone with 170 units I know I wasted a ton of time in school. I view myself more of an idiot than educated for it.

    Now if they had a class that sincerely examined public accounting “history” i’d be inclined to rule in favor of that type of class would make the public safer.

    One chapter summarizing “yep, we went from CAP->->->AICPA, oh yeah remember enron? that was f’d!”.

    Most useless information i’ve ever read and memorized. Well besides Joey’s pick-up line on friends being “How you doin!”.

    No depth. No psychological, argumentative or even real factual reasons why what happened happened. Just what is. Is.

    Most folks I know sign up for sports classes to fill the units. Or some joke easy class like RLS (leisure) where you get 3 units to write how your weekend was. You know you had that class!

  • I hear ya…I took 13 hours of grad school to be eligible for this thing. It was an expensive rehash of what I had learned as an undergrad.

  • This is the one that nearly killed me. Because I could no longer live at home by that point, I had to drop an extra $15k on graduate school despite a full assistantship, because my stipend was almost nonexistent and I wasn’t allowed to hold an outside full-time job, so I was living on loans.

    I got almost *nothing* out of that last year of classes, accounting-wise. It was mostly electives and expansions on things I already knew. Reasonably good instructors, interesting material, but it didn’t make me a better accountant. I got another piece of paper, that was all. And I’m going to be paying for it for another ten years, probably. :/

    If I could have spent that year actually working and studying for the exam, I’d be in a worlds better place right now, aside from not being in nearly so much debt.

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