2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
March 29, 2017 - Introduced by Senators Marklein, Cowles, Olsen and Risser,
cosponsored by Representatives
Kooyenga, Ballweg, Berceau, E. Brooks, R.
Brooks, Doyle, Katsma, Kuglitsch, Loudenbeck, Novak, Ripp, Tranel,
Tusler and Wichgers. Referred to Committee on Economic Development,
Commerce and Local Government.
1An Act to renumber
442.04 (5) (b) 3., 442.083 (title) and 2
442.087 (4); and to create
442.01 (4), 442.04 (6), 442.083 (2) and 442.087 (5) of 3
the statutes; relating to: educational requirements for taking the accounting
4examination or receiving a certified public accountant certificate; continuing
5education requirements for accounting license renewal; data-sharing
6programs related to accountants; peer reviews for certified public accounting
7firms; modifying various administrative rules promulgated by the Accounting
8Examining Board relating to accounting; and granting rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill 1) makes modifications regarding the educational requirements for
taking the certified public accounting (CPA) examination or for obtaining a CPA
certificate; 2) requires the Accounting Examining Board to promulgate rules
establishing continuing education requirements for accountants; 3) modifies
provisions related to peer reviews for CPA firms, including to allow the board to
participate in an interstate program for sharing peer review results; and 4) allows
the board to participate in certain other interstate data-sharing programs regarding
persons currently or previously licensed by the board.
Current law provides that a CPA certificate may be granted only to a person
who has completed at least 150 semester hours of education in accounting and
business subjects, as determined by the board, which issues CPA certificates and
licenses. Current law also provides that a person is not eligible to take the CPA
examination unless the person has completed at least 120 semester hours of
education in accounting and business subjects, as determined by the board.
The current rules of the board specify numbers of semester hours that an
applicant for a CPA certificate must have completed, including at least 24 semester
hours in accounting at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours at the graduate
level, including at least one course in each of six specified subjects, and at least 24
semester hours in business courses other than accounting courses at the
undergraduate or graduate level, including at least one course in each of six specified
This bill modifies the rules of the board specifying these semester hours and
course subjects required in order to be granted a CPA certificate or to take the CPA
examination, as follows:
1. The bill specifies methods for satisfying the 150 hours requirement for
obtaining a CPA certificate. The methods differ depending on the degree received by
the applicant and how the educational program, department, or educational
institution from which the applicant earned the degree is accredited.
2. The bill provides that a person may satisfy the 120 hours requirement for
taking the CPA examination if the person already satisfies the 150 hours
requirement for obtaining a CPA certificate described above, the person otherwise
satisfies the course content and semester hours required for a CPA certificate, or the
person has completed course work that the board determines is reasonably
equivalent to those requirements.
The bill also allows the board to promulgate rules to allow for certain military
service to count toward the 150 hours requirement.
Additionally, the bill requires the board to promulgate rules establishing
continuing education requirements for the renewal of licenses held by individuals to
practice as certified public accountants. The bill provides that the board may not
require an individual to complete more than 80 continuing education credits during
the two-year period between license renewal dates. For continuing education credits
earned based on the amount of time spent participating in an activity, one credit is
earned for every 50 minutes engaged in an eligible activity. The bill allows up to
one-half of the amount of continuing education credits required by the board by rule
to be completed by various informal, self-directed learning activities. Under the bill,
the earliest license renewal date for which individuals are subject to the continuing
education requirements is December 15, 2021. Under current law, continuing
education is not required for the renewal of certified public accountant licenses held
Current law requires a CPA firm, as a condition of renewal of its license, to
undergo a peer review at least once every three years. Current law provides that a
person approved by the board to conduct peer reviews may not disclose any
information obtained or document produced during the course of or as a result of a
peer review unless the firm undergoing the review consents to the disclosure. The
bill allows the board to require an individual CPA or a CPA firm to provide certain
peer review documents to the board, and allows a CPA or firm to comply with such
a directive by submitting the requested documents to the board or by allowing the
peer review program administrator to make the documents available to the board
through the Facilitated State Board Access program operated by the American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FSBA). In addition, the bill allows the
board to make documents submitted to the board available to the FSBA and provides
that information or data obtained by the board through the FSBA is not subject to
disclosure under the public records law, except as the board otherwise provides by
Finally, the bill requires the board to participate in data-sharing programs
operated or otherwise sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of
Accountancy and to share information or data regarding current or former licensees
as needed in order to participate in those programs. The bill provides that
information or data obtained by the board through such a program is not subject to
disclosure under the public records law, except as the board otherwise provides by
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
442.01 (4) of the statutes is created to read:
The examining board shall participate in data-sharing programs 3
operated or otherwise sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of 4
Accountancy and shall share information or data regarding persons currently or 5
previously licensed under this chapter as needed in order to participate in those 6
programs. Except as otherwise provided by the examining board by rule, 7
information or data obtained by the board through such a program is not subject to 8
the right of inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1).
442.04 (5) (b) 3. of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) 3. The person has, except as provided in sub. (6),
completed at 11
least 150 semester hours of education at an institution that include course work in
accounting and business subjects, as determined by the examining board, and has 2
received a bachelor's or higher degree.
442.04 (6) of the statutes is created to read:
The examining board may promulgate rules pursuant to which the 5
examining board may, in its discretion and on a case-by-case basis, do all of the 6
(a) Consider certain military training and service of a veteran, as defined in s. 8
45.01 (12), who was honorably discharged to be substantially equivalent to semester 9
hours of education completed at an institution.
(b) Apply training and service described in par. (a) to satisfy a portion of the 150 11
semester hours required under sub. (5) (b) 3.
442.083 (title) of the statutes is amended to read:
(title) Renewal; continuing education.
442.083 of the statutes is renumbered 442.083 (1).
442.083 (2) of the statutes is created to read:
(a) The examining board shall promulgate rules establishing 17
continuing education requirements for renewal of licenses granted to individuals 18
under this chapter. The rules promulgated under this paragraph may not require 19
an individual to complete more than 80 continuing education credits during the 20
2-year period immediately preceding the renewal date specified under s. 440.08 (2) 21
(b) For continuing education credits that are earned based on the amount of 23
time spent participating in an eligible learning activity, one credit shall be earned 24
for every 50 minutes spent engaging in the eligible activity. One-tenth of a credit 25
may be earned for every 5 minutes spent participating in an eligible activity.
(c) Up to one-half of the amount of continuing education credits required by 2
rule under par. (a) may be completed by informal, self-directed learning activities, 3
including reading, teaching, researching, serving on a board or committee, viewing 4
a video, listening to an audio recording, or participating in other experiential 5
learning activities that are determined by the board to be relevant to competency to 6
practice as a certified public accountant.
442.087 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
442.087 (4) Confidentiality. A Except as provided in sub. (5), a
approved by the examining board to conduct peer reviews may not disclose to any 10
person, including the examining board or the department, any information obtained 11
or document produced during the course of or as a result of a review unless the firm 12
undergoing the review consents to the disclosure.
442.087 (5) of the statutes is created to read:
442.087 (5) Peer review documents.
(a) The examining board may require a 15
certified public accountant or firm to provide any of the following peer review 16
documents to the examining board:
1. A peer review report.
2. Any letter of response to a peer review report.
3. An acceptance letter.
4. A letter signed by the reviewed firm accepting the peer review documents 21
with the understanding that the firm agrees to take certain actions.
5. A letter notifying the reviewed firm that certain required actions have been 23
(b) A certified public accountant or firm may comply with a directive under par. 25
(a) by doing any of the following within 45 days after the date of the directive:
1. Submitting the requested documents to the examining board, either by mail 2
2. Allowing the peer review program administrator to make the documents 4
available to the examining board through the Facilitated State Board Access 5
program operated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
(c) The examining board may make documents submitted to the examining 7
board under par. (b) 1. available to the Facilitated State Board Access program 8
operated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
(d) Except as otherwise provided by the examining board by rule, information 10
or data obtained by the board through the Facilitated State Board Access program 11
is not subject to the right of inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1).