AB-298: California CPA Exam Education Changes

4 min read
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Imagine you are just getting off work at your new accounting role and your coworkers are going out to relax and unwind. Instead of going out with your coworkers, you may be going home to begin a long night of studying to pass all four parts of the CPA Exam. However, this does not need to be your reality! If you plan on taking the CPA Exam in California, the bill AB-298 may make your exam timeline less strenuous.  While this bill was enacted in 2022, the California Board of Accountancy recently added additional language to eliminate confusion when it was initially passed. 

What is AB-298?

This bill allows candidates in California to sit for the CPA Exam 180 days (6 months) prior to completing their education requirements if you are enrolled in a degree-granting university, college, or other institution of learning. Within 240 days (8 months) of applying for the license, you must provide the California Board of Accountancy with satisfactory evidence that you have completed the educational requirements. Failure to comply may result in the loss of any credit received for passage of any part of the CPA Exam before the requirement was met.

Does AB-298 affect the current CPA Exam education requirements in California?

Prior to AB-298, CPA candidates had to have their bachelor's degree with a minimum of 120 semester hours, including 24 semester hours in both business and accounting subjects before applying to sit for the CPA Exam. With AB-298 in place, you can get a jump start on taking the CPA Exam as long you are within six months of graduation. 

Take a closer look: Learn about the California CPA Requirements

What is the timing of AB-298?

AB-298 was first introduced on January 25, 2021 and was signed into law on September 24, 2021. The provisions of AB-298 went into effect January 1, 2022.

Should you begin studying for the CPA Exam prior to graduation?

Although it may seem tempting to put off taking the CPA Exam until you’ve graduated, you may find yourself with a new career that may be overwhelming (especially during busy season) or other personal situation, and you may not have as much time as you planned to study for the exam. Becker’s best advice is to take the CPA Exam as soon as possible, to get it out of the way and have one less thing to worry about.

What next steps should California CPA Exam candidates take?
  1. Check to ensure that you will meet the set of education requirements upon graduation, as mentioned in above.
  2. Refer to the California Board of Accountancy website to apply to take the CPA Exam. 

We hope that eligible CPA candidates in California can take advantage of this update and pass their CPA Exam earlier in their careers. However, no matter when you take the CPA Exam, Becker is here to help prepare you to pass.

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