Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has signed into law a measure that will allow more practical, broad-based professional experience to fulfill the requirements for getting a CPA license.

The legislation, known as House Bill 40, sponsored by Rep. Gordon Denlinger, R-Lancaster, removes the specific requirement of 400 hours of attest activity, which is essentially auditing of financial reports and insuring the reports are presented in the proper form. It replaces that with a requirement that an auditor have provided any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills, which were gained through employment in government, industry, academia, or public practice.

"Governor Corbett is committed to growing jobs in Pennsylvania,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said in a statement Wednesday. “Making the professional experience requirements needed to get a CPA license more practical is a change backed by the accounting profession and will encourage job growth in this business.”

Aichele's agency administers the licensing process for accountants and 28 other professions.

"This more practical approach will permit accountants to demonstrate the skills needed to achieve CPA licensing in a way that better suits today's business environment and supports job growth in this profession," Aichele added. "The need for CPAs is growing as Governor Corbett's economic policies lead to more jobs across the state in general." 

"The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants is supportive of these changes," Michael D. Colgan, the organization's CEO and executive director, said in a statement. "The attest experience requirement was too restrictive and did not reflect the full scope of CPA services. Today, CPAs provide services in numerous areas, including accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, tax and consulting. The new law allows CPA candidates to pursue multiple career paths." 

For example, Aichele recalled speaking to more than 200 Pennsylvania accountants attending a conference in State College in 2011. The conference was designed to help Pennsylvania accountants meet the needs of companies in the growing Marcellus Shale field.

"This law also aligns Pennsylvania's CPA requirements with those of many other states, so it will make it easier for professionals from other states to bring their skills to Pennsylvania, and create jobs to support growing industries such as Marcellus Shale," Aichele said.