It might feel like spring this week, but it’s still early in this year’s legislative session at the State House.

BillThat’s important this year here at the Society office. Monitoring House Bill 1467 has become a daily activity for INCPAS staff. It’s given us a constant reminder of the process for a bill to become law in Indiana, a journey that could last more than three months. But it’s also reminding us of the steps it has taken to get to this point. That’s a much longer journey – seven years in the making.

If the bill is enacted as enabling legislation, it would represent a major achievement for the Society in its effort to modernize the professional development system for CPAs in Indiana. Simply put, it would begin to remake a system that has seen little change in nearly 50 years. That’s truly transformational.

It all began back in 2010 with our first Knowledge Management Task Force. That group determined members would benefit from knowledge sharing and collaboration. A second Knowledge Management Task Force continued exploring and building on their recommendations. Then came focus groups, surveys and discussions at Leadership Cabinet/Emerging Leaders Alliance meetings to provide further feedback and support.

By 2012 we had a clear direction as to where we were headed, and that direction evolved into the CPA Center of Excellence® in 2014. We were also guided by the AICPA’s Future of Learning Task Force report published the same year. Since then we’ve developed cutting-edge competency-based course modules, skill assessment tools, and collaboration opportunities. Ground breaking stuff. Along the way, the Center’s been recognized locally and nationally as a leader.

But despite the momentum, the professional development model lagged behind until now. There’s been some progress like the pilot program with the Board of Accountancy that gives a waiver for taking our competency-based courses. And the ethics rule change last fall gives CPAs two new options for meeting the ethics requirement (a competency-based ethics course or experience serving in an ethics capacity).

Those two accomplishments pale in comparison to what this proposed legislation could mean. Though it would not eliminate the current model, it would give the Board of Accountancy the ability to include competency-based education as an option for any portion of a CPA’s professional development based on an approved learning plan. Why’s that a big deal? Because competency-based learning has proven to be a much more effective learning method.

Back to the bill process. Where does it go from here? Well, it’s gotten through the House and was just referred to the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee. If it passes, it’s on to the Senate floor. Upon Senate approval, it goes on to the Attorney General and ultimately to Gov. Holcomb. This would all happen before the session ends April 29, and if the bill becomes law, it will be effective on July 1. Then new rule making by the Board of Accountancy would begin as the law is implemented.

And you thought you learned all you need to know about how a bill becomes law in seventh grade!