Alabama and Washington adopt CPE reciprocity

In 2019, The Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy and the Washington Board of Accountancy adopted rules to allow non-resident CPAs to meet Alabama and Washington’s CPE requirements as long as the CPAs meet the CPE requirements in their home states.

The CPA profession's successful individual mobility campaign allows many CPAs to hold one CPA license instead of multiple reciprocal licenses in various jurisdictions. However, in certain circumstances, a CPA may prefer to continue to hold more than one license.

For example, certain jurisdictions require a CPA to have an active in-state license if they are performing certain types of specialized attest work. Other CPAs may work near a state border and find it important to hold a license in the CPA's home state as well as in the state where the firm maintains a second office.

Given that CPAs may still hold multiple state licenses, CPE reciprocity provides a reasonable accommodation for multiple license holders' CPE requirements across state lines.

Under CPE reciprocity, all CPAs are required to obtain 120 hours of CPE every three years as a condition of licensure renewal. These hours must include four hours of ethics-specific training and not fewer than 20 hours of CPE in any given year. However, a CPA is exempt from meeting multiple jurisdictional CPA requirements as long as the licensee meets the CPE requirements of his or her home jurisdiction.

The AICPA supported the Alabama Society of CPAs and the Washington Society of CPAs’ efforts to work with their boards of accountancy on this important initiative. Alabama Society of CPAs president & CEO Jeannine Birmingham commented, “Because so much of the work provided by CPAs extends beyond state lines and even internationally, CPE reciprocity removes the barriers that CPAs once had in complying with multiple state CPE requirements.  For Alabama licensees who choose to hold a CPA license issued by another state, this new rule will certainly make their CPE life much easier.”

This rule is a logical and helpful exemption, ensuring CPAs are continuing their CPE while also avoiding complex multi-state compliance regimes. Thirty-two jurisdictions have adopted the provision so far. Washington's Board of Accountancy is working to adopt the provision through rules. If you are interested in working on CPE reciprocity legislation in your state, please reach out to your state CPA society.