The compression of the CPA pipeline is an issue of state and national concern. SCACPA and societies in other jurisdictions and national organizations are continuously exploring avenues to relieve the compression and enhance the profession’s attractiveness to would-be CPA candidates and students.

To secure tomorrow, we must plan today. Futureproofing our profession means ensuring we remain relevant in an ever-shifting financial landscape. Further, in a world where change is the only constant, flexibility isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity.

So, how do we ensure a steadfast future and continued relevance for the CPA profession? Threats we must consider include opportunity and tuition costs, starting salaries, branding and reputation, population decline, and more.

Dynamic adaptation is key to ensuring the profession’s sustainability and growth. CPAs are guardians of the public interest, entrusted to uphold integrity and trust. So, we as a profession must tackle these challenges head-on.

In South Carolina, the revisions to Title 40 Chapter 2 (the law that regulates the accounting profession in South Carolina) enacted in 2022 removed several barriers to licensure. SCACPA also continues to foster relationships with colleges, universities, and firms to encourage and support students and CPA candidates along the licensure path. These support mechanisms include networking opportunities, scholarships, student debt relief, and CPA Exam Bonuses. SCACPA’s advocacy and growth efforts sow the seeds for future success. Many thanks to our volunteers and elected officials who understand the importance of the profession’s relevance and growth.

SCACPA’s Legislative Proposal

The CPA profession is truly distinct in the licensing spectrum. While it’s governed at the state level, it grants nationwide practice rights. This blend of local and national jurisdictions shapes the backdrop against which we’re introducing amendments to Title 40, Chapter 2, South Carolina’s Accounting Practice Act.

You can view SCACPA’s proposed amendments to the Practice Act below. The document includes in-line changes and comments describing the reasons behind the updates. Additionally, you’ll find an in-depth analysis of the Uniform Accountancy Act that provides specialized insight into the Act and other state laws.

Thank you to our legislative task force members for the time and dedication in reviewing the statute, suggesting and vetting the amendments, engaging in meaningful conversations, and helping to secure the future of the CPA profession.

The 120 vs. 150 hours Discussion

Imagine you’re with a group of friends or your family, and you want to order some pizza for the evening. You all agree that pizza sounds good, but everyone wants different toppings. Everyone orders the pizza with the toppings that meet their needs and preferences, and, by the end of the meal, everyone is full and happy. Everyone had the same foundational ingredients of crust, sauce, and cheese, but chose their variable toppings based on what they felt would best satisfy their cravings and hunger.

What does this have to do with CPA education and licensure?

Imagine the educational requirement like a pizza. The crust represents the foundational knowledge, the sauce represents the core accounting classes, and the cheese represents the essential business courses. These three parts total around 120 hours or a bachelor’s degree.

Like pizza toppings, the 30 hours could be fulfilled through various educational combinations, encapsulating the vision of a “Well-Rounded Professional.” This means something different for everyone.

Other professions value credentialing programs or certificates as authentic education, especially in technology.

The 30 hours are intentionally undefined. As the educational landscape evolves, non-traditional forms of learning are gaining importance. Can varied modes of non-transcript education contribute to crafting well-rounded professionals?

The proposed legislation does not seek to eliminate or degrade the additional 30 hours. Rather, the language clarifies the role of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy in approving non-accredited education programs (e.g. certificate programs, experiential learning, alternative education programs that may not otherwise appear on a college transcript).

CPA Pipeline Programs

SCACPA proudly presents our Student Membership Program, designed to connect experienced CPAs like you with aspiring accounting leaders. By sponsoring a student membership for just $50, you have the chance to guide, mentor, and inspire the bright minds entering our field.

Why Sponsor a Student Membership?

  1. Invest in the Future: Your sponsorship is more than a financial contribution; it’s an investment in the future of the CPA profession. Supporting students today ensures a robust and talented pool of professionals tomorrow.
  2. One-on-One Connection: SCACPA will personally connect you with a student, providing you with a unique opportunity to establish a one-on-one relationship. Share your insights, offer guidance, and become a crucial part of their professional journey.
  3. Showcase the Value: As a mentor, you’ll have the chance to showcase the true value of a CPA career. Your firsthand experience can shape their perceptions, helping them navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

At SCACPA, we are committed to fostering the growth and success of the CPA profession by supporting and nurturing the talents of the next generation. We are excited to announce our impactful scholarship program designed to bring talented candidates into the world of accounting.

  1. Supporting South Carolina Students: Our program is dedicated to students attending colleges or universities in South Carolina. By investing in local talent, we contribute to the development of a strong and thriving accounting community.
  2. Diverse Range of Awards: SCACPA awards dozens of scholarships annually, with amounts ranging from $500 to $2,500. These scholarships are a testament to our commitment to providing meaningful financial support to students pursuing careers in accounting.

Embarking on a career in the CPA profession is a significant milestone, and at SCACPA, we understand the financial challenges that can accompany this journey. We are thrilled to introduce the SCACPA Educational Fund’s Student Loan Debt Relief Program, designed to provide meaningful support to graduating CPAs burdened by student loan debt.

Achieving success in the CPA Exam is a significant accomplishment. The journey involves extensive study hours, sleepless nights, and numerous cups of coffee, culminating in a moment of immense relief when a new CPA eagerly checks the final passing grade.

This milestone is deserving of celebration.

In light of this, the South Carolina Association of CPAs Educational Fund presents a distinctive chance for firms and companies to acknowledge those who have conquered the CPA Exam. The SCACPA Ed Fund has the potential to grant bonuses to its members who have successfully navigated the challenges of the CPA Exam.

SCACPA provides the chance to assess your preparedness for both the CPA and EA Exams, helping you pinpoint essential focus areas for success!

Mock CPA Exam

Embark on a distinctive experience that offers you a glimpse into the CPA Exam sections by engaging with questions directly sourced from the official CPA Exam Blueprints. By participating in this opportunity, you’ll not only gain valuable insights but also receive a personalized ReadySCORE™, providing an accurate estimate of your potential exam score.

Mock EA Exam

Immerse yourself in a genuine EA exam simulation meticulously designed based on the official EA examination blueprints. The Mock EA Exam goes beyond a typical practice test, offering a 3 ½ hour immersive encounter to ready you for the real thing.

The Dual Enrollment Accounting program by SCACPA in collaboration with Winthrop University provides high school students in Lancaster County School District with an opportunity to explore the field of accounting while earning college credits. These credits fulfill the requirements for introductory accounting courses at most colleges and universities in South Carolina and the United States. This initiative is designed to establish a sustainable talent pipeline in the accounting profession, giving students a head start on their professional journeys.

Beyond being an educational pathway, the dual enrollment program aims to illuminate students about the diverse possibilities within the accounting profession at an early stage. In doing so, it not only supports their academic development but also instills a sense of purpose and direction in their career choices.

Interested in Getting Involved?

Contact membership@scacpa.org to learn more about volunteering and speaking opportunities!

Rising CPAs engaged in an enriching educational track at the Fall Fest Accounting Conference. Phebe Davis-Culler of Clemson University discussed the Data Analytics Mindset, Kali Von Kuhn from Robert Half shared tips on effective interviews, and attendees put their skills to the test through mock interviews with SCACPA members. The event also featured the Scholarship Recognition Luncheon, fostering continued networking and professional development.

Students at the Fall Fest Accounting Conference had the unique opportunity to engage with experienced CPAs, gaining valuable insights, advice, and guidance on advancing their careers. The event, reaching maximum student capacity, offered practical experience in real-world scenarios like job interviews and client dinners.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

A: Three primary objectives drive the proposed legislative amendments:  

  • Correcting minor errors in content and references to ensure absolute accuracy and consistency in the statutory language. This is fundamental for clear interpretation and application of the law.  
  • Creating flexibility in our licensing framework to adapt to external changes in licensure. The dynamic nature of today’s economic and professional landscape necessitates a system capable of evolving in response to changing circumstances.  
  • Ensuring the South Carolina Board of Accountancy (SC BOA) maintains jurisdictional authority over any CPA providing services to South Carolina clients. This provision aims to uphold the highest standards of professional conduct, regardless of geographical barriers, and protect the interests of citizens.  

A: As states may increasingly broaden their CPA licensure language, they may risk losing their substantial equivalency status. If a CPA from a non-substantially equivalent state serves a South Carolina client and fails to register with the SC BOA, they are operating outside of the jurisdiction of both their home state and South Carolina. This poses a significant risk to the public interest and the integrity of the profession as a whole.  

A: The SCACPA Board of Directors believes that filing the legislation for the 2024 season will allow us to have meaningful conversations with elected officials and their staff. Our intention is not to pass the bill in 2024 but set us up for the best success possible to get in front of legislators. SCACPA is fortunate to have many established relationships with South Carolina’s elected leaders, and we are more likely to capture their attention when we have a bill to discuss (as opposed to a concept). Because our profession is complex, we need to take time to ensure our legislators understand the nuances of licensure and cross-jurisdictional practice. With their feedback, and the anticipated final outputs from the national groups, we expect to put forth a bill for passage in 2025. 

Licensure Pathway 

A: No, the primary pathway to CPA licensure would remain unchanged. The law would still include completing 150 hours of education, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and gaining one year of general work experience. The proposed amendments to 40-2-35(C)(2) are not about creating a new licensure path. Instead, these changes aim to define the educational options more clearly within our existing framework, particularly focusing on the additional 30-hour requirement.  

It’s important to note that the South Carolina Board of Accountancy has the authority to evaluate and approve various educational programs under current law. This authority includes determining any changes or timelines for implementation. Given the Board’s traditional reliance on NASBA’s guidance and its consideration of practices in other states, it’s highly unlikely that the SC BOA would adopt a solution without these influential inputs. The newly proposed language precisely delineates the SC BOA’s authority, particularly in approving various means to achieve the additional 30-hour educational requirement. 

A: No. The educational requirements for licensure remain the same, but the proposed legislation offers more clarity and delineates SC BOA’s authority, particularly in approving the additional 30-hour educational requirement. The proposed legislation does not create or provide an alternative pathway to CPA licensure.  

A: Yes, the existing law allows the SC BOA flexibility to approve various forms of education, particularly for the additional 30 hours beyond a bachelor’s degree. The newly proposed language precisely delineates the Board’s authority, particularly in approving various means to achieve the additional 30-hour educational requirement. 

No. The three tenets for CPA licensure, 150 hours of education, passage of the CPA exam, and one year of general work experience, remain unchanged. The proposed legislation offers more clarity and delineates SC BOA’s authority, particularly in approving the additional 30-hour educational requirement. The proposed legislation does not create or provide an alternative pathway to CPA licensure. 

A: No. The SC BOA already has the ability to approve non-accredited programs. The proposed language precisely delineates the SC BOA’s authority, particularly in approving options for the additional 30-hour educational requirement. Given the SC BOA’s traditional reliance on NASBA’s guidance and its consideration of practices in other states, it’s highly improbable that the Board would adopt a solution without these influential inputs. The SC BOA has continuously demonstrated its dedication to the challenge and rigor of education required to earn the CPA license.  

A: Absolutely not. The master’s degree path remains a solid avenue to gain professional knowledge and meet the 150-hour requirement for licensure. The proposed legislation delineates the SC BOA’s authority to approve non-accredited sources of education, like certificate programs, to also satisfy that requirement. This authority exists in statute today, and the proposal better defines what that authority could be. 

Mobility 

A: “No Fee” means that out-of-state CPAs would not be required to pay a fee to practice in South Carolina. “No Registration” means out-of-state CPAs would not be required to register with the SC BOA to serve South Carolina clients. “No Escape” means out-of-state CPAs are subject to the jurisdiction and regulatory authority of the SC BOA. In other words, they cannot “escape” the regulatory oversight and ethical standards set by the SC BOA, even if they are not required to register or pay fees. This triad is essential to ensure CPAs can work in South Carolina under the jurisdiction and authority of the SC BOA.  

A: No. Currently, and under the proposed changes, out-of-state CPAs would not be required to pay a fee to practice in South Carolina. The goal of the proposed changes is to protect the public and allowing CPAs from any state to practice under the concept of inbound mobility. Inbound mobility manages out-of-state CPAs through three components: No fee, No registration, and No escape. “No Fee” means that out-of-state CPAs would not be required to pay a fee to practice in South Carolina. “No Registration” means out-of-state CPAs would not be required to register with the SC BOA to serve South Carolina clients. “No Escape” means out-of-state CPAs are subject to the jurisdiction and regulatory authority of the SC BOA. In other words, they cannot “escape” the regulatory oversight and ethical standards set by the SC BOA, even if they are not required to register or pay fees. 

South Carolina’s current law says out-of-state CPAs may practice via inbound mobility if their home state meets substantial equivalency requirements. As states may increasingly broaden their CPA licensure language, our existing language falls short of accommodating potential changes. This oversight risks the South Carolina Board of Accountancy losing its jurisdictional authority over out-of-state CPAs serving our residents, posing a public protection liability that demands immediate resolution.  

A: No. Currently, and under the proposed changes, out-of-state CPAs would not be required to register with the SC BOA to practice in South Carolina. The goal of the proposed changes is to protect the public and allow CPAs from any state to practice under the concept of inbound mobility. Inbound mobility manages out-of-state CPAs through three components: No fee, No registration, and No escape. “No Fee” means that out-of-state CPAs would not be required to pay a fee to practice in South Carolina. “No Registration” means out-of-state CPAs would not be required to register with the SC BOA to serve South Carolina clients. “No Escape” means out-of-state CPAs are subject to the jurisdiction and regulatory authority of the SC BOA. In other words, they cannot “escape” the regulatory oversight and ethical standards set by the SC BOA, even if they are not required to register or pay fees. 

South Carolina’s current law says out-of-state CPAs may practice via inbound mobility if their home state meets substantial equivalency requirements. As states may increasingly broaden their CPA licensure language, our existing language falls short of accommodating potential changes. This oversight risks the South Carolina Board of Accountancy losing its jurisdictional authority over out-of-state CPAs serving our residents, posing a public protection liability that demands immediate resolution.  

A: Yes, even without the need for registration or fees, out-of-state CPAs practicing in South Carolina will still be subject to the jurisdiction and professional standards enforced by the SC BOA. The goal of the proposed changes is to protect the public and allow CPAs from any state to practice under the concept of inbound mobility. Inbound mobility manages out-of-state CPAs through three components: No fee, No registration, and No escape. “No Fee” means that out-of-state CPAs would not be required to pay a fee to practice in South Carolina. “No Registration” means out-of-state CPAs would not be required to register with the SC BOA to serve South Carolina clients. “No Escape” means out-of-state CPAs are subject to the jurisdiction and regulatory authority of the SC BOA. In other words, they cannot “escape” the regulatory oversight and ethical standards set by the SC BOA, even if they are not required to register or pay fees. 

South Carolina’s current law says out-of-state CPAs may practice via inbound mobility if their home state meets substantial equivalency requirements. As states may increasingly broaden their CPA licensure language, our existing language falls short of accommodating potential changes. This oversight risks the South Carolina Board of Accountancy losing its jurisdictional authority over out-of-state CPAs serving our residents, posing a public protection liability that demands immediate resolution.  

A: They don’t. The amendments are not about creating a new licensure path. Instead, these changes aim to define the educational options more clearly within our existing legal framework, particularly focusing on the additional thirty-hour requirement. As the tenets of initial licensure remain unchanged (150 hours of education, passage of the CPA Exam, and one year of experience), South Carolina’s substantial equivalency status remains in place. This means South Carolina CPAs may practice via mobility in states that allow inbound mobility (most except Hawaii).  

Regarding inbound mobility for out-of-state CPAs wishing to practice in South Carolina, the proposed legislation ensures they may continue to do so with the privilege of no fee, no registration, no escape. As states may increasingly broaden their CPA licensure language, our existing language falls short of accommodating potential changes. This oversight risks the South Carolina Board of Accountancy losing its jurisdictional authority over out-of-state CPAs serving our residents, posing a public protection liability that demands immediate resolution.