The Indiana Board of Accountancy has approved a proposed rule change that would amend the ethics requirements for CPAs in the Hoosier state, promising to pave the way for competency- or experience-based ethics education in Indiana.

The proposed rule change would keep the current ethics requirement for CPAs in effect, under which they must complete a minimum of four hours of ethics education in a classroom setting. However, it adds two new options for meeting the requirement: 1) completion of a competency-based ethics course; or 2) achieving verified, relevant experience in ethics through a non-compensated role with a professional or trade organization. The Indiana CPA Society supports the change.

“I commend the Board of Accountancy for their foresight and innovation,” said Indiana CPA Society president CEO Gary Bolinger in a statement. “This action is the first step in changing and improving a learning model for CPAs that is no longer relevant, effective or applicable to the business environment that Indiana CPAs work in and serve.”

The action coincides with the development and release of a competency-based online ethics course module by the Indiana CPA Society’s CPA Center of Excellence, which was established last year to provide new learning opportunities, resources and tools for intelligent collaboration for Indiana CPAs.

Currently, CPAs in Indiana and all other states that require continuing professional education, have their education measured by the number of hours they sit in a classroom or spend online. Alternatively, with competency-based education, participants need to demonstrate mastery of subject material before advancing through or completing a course.

The ethics rule proposal began as a Notice of Intent, which was approved by the Board of Accountancy in August. After Indiana Governor Mike Pence approved an exception to the rule moratorium, the Notice of Intent was filed with the Indiana Register by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency on Nov. 13. Now with the Nov. 20 approval by the Board of Accountancy, the proposal enters the rule promulgation process. That will include consideration first by the State Budget Agency and then by the Indiana Economic Development Council. Following that would be a public hearing, and then ultimately approval by the governor. The rule would become effective 30 days after that.

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