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Licensure and Red Tape Reduction

August 02, 2022

balancing public protection with administrative effort

State Regulation Review

State agencies are reviewing laws and rules to revise necessary but over-complicated regulations to simplify compliance, ensuring they are user-friendly and easy to understand.  If you have any recommendations you can submit them here.  

The Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) is working on a review of the rules related to licensure.  The Montana Society of CPAs organized a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras, DLI staff, and other professions to learn more about their efforts.  They are focused on four areas:

  1. Standardization
  2. Governance
  3. Mobility
  4. Board Framework

I would like to focus your attention on two of these items, mobility and board framework.

As a CPA you can move to any other state in the nation and with relatively little effort transfer your license.  Over the past 20+ years we have worked incredibly hard as a profession to create a substantially equivalent set of rules in every state.  This means that while other states may require 80 hours of CPE every 2 years rather than 120 every 3 years, they all require 40 hours per year on average.  This also means that it is critical that our state laws remain substantially equivalent.  If just one state changes rules it puts the entire system at risk.  

Board framework is a more wonky subject.  There are over 30 professional licensing boards in Montana and 150 total boards.  Each of these boards have rules for appointments, meetings, public comment, and more.  The Red Tape Relief effort is looking at each of these boards to determine if they should continue to exist and how they should operate in the future.  Some of these boards could be converted to programs.  A program is when state staff operate under a set of rules without a board of professionals and the public providing oversight and guidance.  For the Montana Board of Public Accountants it is critical that we remain a board and not a program.  

The state is working through a very worthwhile exercise of reviewing their operations. This is important work and something we all need to do from time to time.  We applaud the administration for doing this and greatly appreciate their willingness to include us in the process.  

Protecting the CPA license is at the core of what the Montana Society of CPAs does.  You worked very hard to earn your CPA and we fight very hard to make sure it remains relevant and recognized by others.  The 2023 Legislative Session is likely to bring forward many bills in this and other areas.  If you would like to help us make sure no bill passes that would negatively impact the profession, please consider joining the Legislation & Governmental Affairs Committee