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Op Ed: Why a Quiet Revolution Brews in Indiana

Aug 11th 2017
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This revolution going on in Indiana is not like the overthrow of a government. It will take some time and require a new perspective.

The CPA profession in Indiana is leading the country in a revolution to change methods available to CPAs that will enhance competence and fulfill requirements to renew an active CPA license. Indiana HEA 1467 enables the Indiana Board of Accountancy to adopt rules that would provide options to Indiana CPAs related to professional development (competency enhancement).

The concept is foreign to most practitioners. It is not CPE as we know it and a competency-based approach to license renewal will require new ways of thinking for CPAs and those who regulate the profession.

The Indiana Board of Accountancy and the Indiana General Assembly have so far been leading this revolution that you won’t read about it in the newspapers or online in general circulation media. Remember, it’s a quiet revolution.

To review, in 2016 the Indiana Board of Accountancy adopted rules to permit other than traditional CPE hours to meet the CPA ethics requirement for license renewal. Licensees can meet the renewal requirement through the traditional method of CPE hours, but a licensee can also take advantage of either a competency based CPE course (that may take more or less hours than a traditional 4 CPE hour course) or the individual can meet the ethics requirement through non-compensated services verified by the organization they are volunteering with (i.e. ethics committee service).

In 2017 in the Indiana General Assembly, House Bill 1467 (a rather short piece of legislation) was authored by Representative Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) and co-authored by Reps. VanAtter, Austin and Heaton. The bill was voted unanimously out of the House Committee on Employment, Labor and Pensions. When it made it to the floor of the House of Representatives, it passed unanimously there as well.

Then, on to the Indiana Senate. HB 1467 was assigned to the Committee on Commerce and Technology. Again, it passed out of committee unanimously. Ultimately the bill was passed unanimously out of the Indiana Senate and then sent to the governor for his signature.

No amendments and non-“no votes” in the entire process. Apparently, this concept not only makes sense, but it appeals to legislators in Indiana, many of who are subject to some form of continuing education because they too are licensed by the state of Indiana.

So, what revolution is this? We have written about it in the past. Presentations have been made on it. Data from member surveys say the time for it is now.

The current system of license renewal is stuck in the past, and the CPA profession is focused on the future. Again, the time is now and Indiana is demonstrating a commitment to innovation and experimentation – exactly what the AICPA Future of Learning Task Force called for in their report released in 2014.

This is a commitment to the future of learning. There will be failures, but there will be successes as well. We need to celebrate these successes.


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