Chicago — Illinois has passed a law that toughens the ethics requirements and disciplinary enforcement for CPAs there.

S.B. 2108 passed in a 43-6 Senate vote in early July and was signed by the governor the same day. The bill’s passage was lauded by the Illinois CPA Society, which actively promoted the legislation.

Under the law, beginning in 2005, CPA candidates will have to pass a professional ethics exam before being awarded a CPA certificate. All licensed CPAs will have to take a minimum of four hours of continuing education in professional ethics every three years.

Also, beginning in 2006, all CPAs who don’t provide audit or other attest services but who use the CPA title are required to register with the Department of Professional Regulation and will be subject to disciplinary action for illegal or unethical actions.

Beginning in 2010, anyone who wants to become a CPA will be required to obtain a license. Those who are registered prior to 2010 but don’t have a license will be “grandfathered.”

The bill also borrows a concept from Sarbanes-Oxley by requiring that the provision of both audit and certain non-audit services to large privately held businesses must be certified in writing by both the CPA and the president or chief executive of the company.

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