Chicago (July 7, 2004) — Illinois has passed a law that toughens the ethics requirements and disciplinary enforcement for CPAs in that state.

S.B. 2108 passed in a 43-6 Senate vote Thursday 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.

"The accounting scandals of the past two years prompted us to take a long hard look at our profession. While the majority of our members have always upheld the highest ethical and professional standards, we felt it was important to take proactive action to address areas of potential concern for the public, especially when it comes to possible corporate and financial misconduct," ICPAS CEO Elaine Weiss said.

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.

The law also provides a form of regulation for CPAs who don't do audits. 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 would 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 (those with more than 500 employees or more than $50 million in annual revenue), must be certified in writing by both the CPA and the president or chief executive  of the company.

ICPAS said the law reversed legislation passed in 2001 that would've moved the licensing and discipline of CPAs out of the DPR, which it said had been criticized for failing to adequately regulate public accounting.

The full text of the bill is available online at

— WebCPA staff

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