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OSCPA legislative update

January 20, 2022

Blaine PetersonBy Blaine Peterson, CPA, J.D.

Oklahoma’s 2022 legislative session formally begins on February 7 and extends until adjournment on May 27. Despite the continuing challenges created by COVID-19 and its variants, the OSCPA advocacy efforts continue to expand the influence of the CPA profession in Oklahoma and prepare us for long-term growth.

The 2021 session operated primarily in a virtual environment, which created unique challenges and complexity to the OSCPA’s advocacy efforts. Despite these challenges, we rallied support from our members and other stakeholders in passing legislation protecting the CPA credential from anti-licensing efforts. Our CPAs also served as key resources providing professional insight on issues such as tax reform, economic development and fiscal policy.

We were also fortunate to have fellow CPAs serving in the House and Senate. Sen. Tom Dugger, CPA, (Stillwater) and Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, CPA, (Altus) both have a keen understanding of the issues affecting CPA professionals as well as our state’s economy. We look forward to working closely with them again this year and beyond!

Our focus this year is to continue modernizing the CPA profession for optimal market position and equip us for future growth. This multi-year process will involve making changes to the Oklahoma Accountancy Act to reflect recent and upcoming trends in our profession.

Our primary effort this year is to update the definition of the CPA Examination to accommodate upcoming changes in the examination format taking effect in January 2024. While the actual change to our Act is relatively minor, the reformatted CPA exam and resulting emphasis on technology curriculum is expected to yield future CPA candidates having deeper learning and experience with technology-based skillsets.

We also support the Oklahoma Accountancy Board’s efforts to update the composition of the board members and cease issuance of future Public Accounting (PA) licenses. Oklahoma is one of the last states still recognizing the PA license with the last license having been issued in 2001. This change will create more efficiencies for our state board and further establishes CPAs as the licensed credential for accounting, tax and related matters.

The Oklahoma legislature is also expected to continue exploring tax reform and related financial measures focused on recruiting more business to our state. Our goal is to position our members as invaluable resources to our state legislature with the ability to apply our expertise to these important issues.

We are also committed to identifying issues that might harm the CPA profession as we review legislation and proposals in the upcoming session. In recent years, we have encountered legislation threatening data privacy, sales tax on services and challenges to the CPA licensing structure and successful joined in efforts to avoid their enactment.

The CPA profession maintains a strong, influential voice with our legislature. However, the effectiveness of our advocacy is dependent on one thing: the commitment and participation of our fellow OSCPA members.

You can support these activities through financial contributions to our CPA-PAC, participating in the Legislative Contact Program, attending events such as CPA Day at the Capitol or simply developing a relationship with your legislators.

Our goal is to equip you with information and guidance necessary to simplify this process and, ultimately, raise the collective voice of the CPA profession.

Blaine Peterson, CPA, J.D., is the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs. He has been an OSCPA member for more than 20 years and previously served as a director at large for the OSCPA Board of Directors and board liaison to the OSCPA’s Taxation, Personal Financial Planning and Business Valuation/Forensic & Litigation Support Committees. Peterson is also a member of the AICPA and Oklahoma Bar Association.