CPA Competency-Based Education approved by Gov. Pence

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Indiana Rule Change Adds New Options for CPA License Renewal

Ethics education is very important to CPAs and all professionals. These new options for ethics training are highly engaging, relevant and timely, and they will make CPAs better equipped to serve clients and employers.

On September 22, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Vice Presidential running mate for Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, signed a new rule - initially proposed by the Indiana CPA Society - that has the potential to begin the transformational process of updating the professional development model for Indiana CPAs.

This ground-breaking event paves the way for competency-based education to replace the decades-old hours-based model, not only in Indiana, but to have carry-over effects nationally. It represents the first time in the nation's history that competency-based education has been approved for CPA license renewal, and signifies the first major change to the CPA profession's education model since it was introduced in the late 1960s.

"The Governor's signing of this new rule is a landmark event for the CPA profession in Indiana,” said former Crowe Horwath CEO Mark Hildebrand of Carmel, Ind. "The Indiana CPA Society has worked long and hard to begin the process of transforming the professional education model for CPAs, and this is a significant step in that journey."

When Gov. Pence formally signed the rule change for Indiana CPAs recently adopted by the Indiana Board of Accountancy, it represented a major step in a rule change proposal process that began in the fall of 2015. The Governor's signing brings the new rule to its last two steps before becoming official. It now will be published in the Indiana Register, and then becomes effective October 22.

The new rule adds two options for meeting the ethics education requirement for Indiana CPAs. The first is successful completion of a competency-based ethics course. The second is gaining experience serving in a non-compensated ethics role for a professional organization. The third option remains as participating in a traditional four-hour classroom or online course.

Competency-based education differs from hours-based education (simply measuring hours spent sitting in a classroom) in that participants in competency-based courses must demonstrate mastery of subject material before they are eligible for a completion certificate or form of alternate credentialing such as a digital badge. This is accomplished through various check points and interactive features in which participants must engage in and respond to successfully before they continue on to other sections of the course, or complete it.

"Ethics education is very important to CPAs and all professionals. These new options for ethics training are highly engaging, relevant and timely, and they will make CPAs better equipped to serve clients and employers," added Hildebrand, a long-time influential figure in the CPA profession and a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of CPAs.

In response to the imminent rule change, the CPA Center of Excellence® has developed a new competency-based online ethics course that will be available as soon as the rule goes into effect. The course is based on the profession's Code of Professional Conduct and includes case studies and other interactive elements such as online discussions, videos, podcasts and scenarios that make it uniquely different than traditional classroom-style training. It has received rave reviews from Indiana CPAs who have previewed it.

"The Indiana CPA Society established the CPA Center of Excellence® in 2014 after four years of planning and development," said John Sauder, chairman of the board for the Indiana CPA Society. "The Center's top priority has been to promote competency-based learning, and lead in transforming the profession from hours-based to competency-based. Although there is still a long way to go to fully achieve that goal, we have started down the path to major change, not just in Indiana, but throughout the country."

The CPA Center of Excellence® is a recognized leader in competency-based learning and intelligent collaboration for professionals. It will receive the prestigious Power of A Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives on October 5 in Washington, D.C. The Indiana CPA Society is the first state CPA society to receive a Power of A Summit Award in the 17 years that the award has been in existence.


About the CPA Center of Excellence

The CPA Center of Excellence, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indiana CPA Society. Its mission is to enhance vital business skills for the success of CPAs and other professionals.

It consists of five components: the Insight HR & Career Development Toolkit for skill assessment, a handbook titled CPA Excellence A Quick Start Guide to Defining and Mastering Vital Skills for Success, a series of online interactive competency-based courses based on vital business skills, a multi-featured online community, and member networks in which CPA colleagues interact with each other in person and online.

For more information about the CPA Center of Excellence®, contact Dave Shatkowski at (317) 726-5022 or dshatkowski(at)incpas(dot)org.

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Elise May

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