- This page, Board Policies and Guidelines (Accountancy), is offered by
- Division of Occupational Licensure
- Board of Public Accountancy
Policy Advisory Board Policies and Guidelines (Accountancy)
Table of Contents
Board CORI Policy
Policy#17-001 Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy’s Position Statement
Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy’s Position Statement on Legal Marijuana
The decision to provide professional services to the marijuana industry is a business decision for individual licensees and registered firms. The Board cautions that those licensees or firms that choose to provide services of any kind to this industry should diligently address the potential risks and uncertainties involved, including but not limited to the continued uncertainty surrounding enforcement of applicable federal drug laws and related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
After careful consideration, the Board has determined that Massachusetts licensees and firms that elect to provide services to the marijuana industry legalized in any state in which the licensee practices will not face action by the Board based solely on the fact that the licensee or firm is providing such services. However, licensees are reminded that the federal government views such activity as a federal criminal offense. The Board’s position does not negate the possibility that disciplinary action may be taken by the Board should a licensee be found guilty of a federal criminal act.
All licensees should be reminded that any and all professional services provided are subject to the same professional standards, laws and rules applicable to all other professional services provided by the licensee or firm.
The Board of Public Accountancy unanimously approved this statement on January 19, 2017
Mandatory Professional Education for the Practice of Public Accountancy
These rules may be cited and referred to as the "Public Accountancy Continuing Education Rules." They are subject to amendment, modification, revision, supplement, repeal or other change by appropriate action in the future. The purpose of these rules is to require all certified public accountants and all public accountants registered under the Massachusetts Public Accountancy Act to comply with continuing education requirements. This rule encompasses registered staff accountants in public practice. The Board anticipates that registrants will maintain the high standards of the profession in selecting quality educational programs to fulfill the continuing education requirement.
The Continuing Education Rules become effective July 1, 1979.
During the two-year period immediately preceding re-registration, applicants for biennial permit renewal who will engage in "public practicd must complete 80 hours of acceptable continuing education, except as otherwise provided by the Board. Effective for all licenses expiring on or after June 30, 2007, four hours of acceptable continuing education shall be in the area of professional ethics. Although 80 hours acquired in one of the two years covered by the registration period qualifies a registrant for the two-year period, no carryover is permitted from one two-year period to another Only class hours or the equivalent (and not student hours devoted to preparation) will be used to measure the hours of continuing education submitted by individual candidates to the Continuing Education Committee, appointed by the Board.
- The overriding consideration in determining whether a specific program qualifies as acceptable continuing education is that it be a formal program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competence of a registrant in public practice. It will be left to each individual registrant to determine the course of study to be pursued. Thus, the auditor may study accounting and auditing, the tax practitioner may study taxes, and management advisory services practitioner may study subjects related to such practice.
- The following are deemed to qualify as acceptable continuing education programs, provided the standards outlined in Rule 15D (3) are maintained:
- Professional development programs of national and state accounting organizations.
- Technical session at meetings of national and state accounting organizations and their chapters.
- University or college courses:
- Credit courses - each semester hour credit shall equal 15 hours toward the requirement.
- Non-credit courses - each classroom hour will equal one qualifying hour
- Programs in other organizations (accounting, industrial, professional, etc.)
- Other organized educational programs on technical and other practice subjects.
- In order to qualify under Rule 15D (2) a program must:
- require attendance,
- be at least one class hour (50-minute period) in length
- be conducted by a qualified instructor or discussion leader,
- require a maintained record of attendance, and
- require a written outline to be retained.
- Formal correspondence or other individual study programs which provide evidence of satisfactory completion will qualify with the amount of credit to be determined by the Continuing Education Committee. The Continuing Education Committee will not approve any program of learning that does not offer sufficient evidence that the work has actually been accomplished.
- Credit for one hour of continuing education will be awarded for each hour completed as an instructor or discussion leader to the extent that the particular activity contributes to the professional competence of the registrant as determined by the Continuing Education Committee.
- Credit may be awarded for published articles and books. The amount of credit so awarded will be determined by the Continuing Education Committee.
Candidates for biennial permit renewal must provide a signed statement, under penalty of perjury, supported by documentation disclosing the following information pertaining to the educational programs submitted for qualification under the Public Accountancy Continuing Education Rules:
- school, firm or organization conducting course,
- location of course,
- title of course or description o, content,
- dates attended, and
- hours claimed.
The Committee on continuing education will verify on a test basis, information submitted by registrants. If a Continuing Education Statement submitted by an applicant for biennial permit renewal as required by this Rule is not approved, the applicant shall be so notified and he may be granted a period of time by the Continuing Education Committee in which to correct the deficiencies noted.
The Continuing Education Committee will make exception from the Public Accountancy Continuing Education Rules where:
- reasons of health, certified by a medical doctor, prevent compliance by the registrant,
- the registrant is on extended active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States, or
- other good cause exists.
No exception shall be made solely because of age.
The Board shall establish a biennial fee not to exceed $20.00 for processing and maintaining registrants for Continuing Education Statements and other related documents.
Policy Regarding Approval of Continuing Professional Education Hours for Correspondence or Individual Study Programs and for Presentations
The Board of Public Accountancy (“Board”) issues this policy to clarify its standards for approval of formal correspondence or other individual study programs and for time presenting programs as Continuing Professional Education (“CPE”) under 252 CMR 2.14. Although the Board does not require preapproval of CPE, it offers this guidance to help licensees determine what activities qualify and for how many hours.
Formal Correspondence or Other Individual Study Programs
Under 252 CMR 2.14(3)(d), any “[f]ormal correspondence or other individual study programs which provide evidence of satisfactory completion may qualify [for CPE hours]. . . . The [Board] will not approve any program of learning that does not offer sufficient evidence that the work has actually been accomplished.”
To receive approval of CPE hours for a formal correspondence or other individual study program, the licensee must show to the Board’s satisfaction that:
- The program is “a formal program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competence of a licensee in public practice.” 252 CMR 2.14(3)(a).
- The licensee actually completed the program. For example, a licensee may pass an examination at the end of the program.
- That the work was actually accomplished. To claim a specific number of hours of learning time from a formal correspondence or other individual study program, a licensee must log the subject matter studied, the number of hours spent studying that subject matter, and the date(s). This log then must be submitted to the Board. The licensee also must obtain a guideline for the amount of time a student should study for the program from the program provider. If a log and guideline from the program provider are not submitted to the Board, the Board only will grant a maximum of 20 CPE hours for any one program.
If the formal correspondence or other individual study program is offered by a national or state accounting organization that designates the number of CPE hours awarded for completion of the program, the Board will not award more CPE hours than what is designated.
Licensees may receive CPE hours for presenting “a formal program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competence of a licensee in public practice,” 252 CMR 2.14(3)(a), and for preparing to present such programs for the first time. Licensees may receive a maximum of two CPE hours of preparation time for each hour of presentation time. Licensees may receive CPE hours for preparing for and presenting a specific hour of a program the licensee previously claimed CPE hours for if the content of that program hour has substantially changed.
In no event will a licensee be granted more than 40 CPE hours each renewal period for presenting or preparing to present programs.
This policy is effective on July 1, 2019.
Guidance Regarding the Practice Privileges of Individuals and Firms Licensed by Other States
Guidance Regarding the Practice Privileges of Individuals and Firms Licensed by Other States
The Board of Public Accountancy ("Board") issues this Guidance to notify the public that individuals and firms licensed by other states may practice public accountancy in Massachusetts without obtaining a license from the Board if they maintain a valid license in another state and do not have a principal place of business in Massachusetts.
Please be advised that:
The 2020 “Act Modernizing Public Accountancy” permits individuals and firms that are not licensed by the Board to practice in Massachusetts without obtaining a Massachusetts license, so long as the person or firm maintains a valid license issued by a state in which licensing qualification requirements for Certified Public Accountants are substantially equivalent to Massachusetts and the person or firm does not have a principal place of business in Massachusetts.
All states have been deemed “substantially equivalent” and the 2020 Modernizing Act removed the last barrier to “mobility” for individual licensees of other states to practice in Massachusetts without obtaining a Massachusetts license, so long as their principal place of business is not Massachusetts.
Out-of-state firms for which mobile individuals are working may also provide accountancy services without obtaining a Massachusetts license if they do not have a physical office or principal place of business in Massachusetts and maintain a valid license in another state. A mobile individual CPA may act as an agent of an out-of-state firm that is not licensed in Massachusetts. Both the individual CPA and the firm are deemed to accept the jurisdiction of the Board and the Massachusetts courts, and they must cease practicing in Massachusetts if they no longer hold a valid out of state license. Firms that have a physical office or principal place of business in Massachusetts must be licensed by the Board.
The Board encourages the public to report to the Board any violations of law or the Board’s regulations by any individual CPA or CPA firm practicing in Massachusetts.
This Guidance is issued pursuant to a determination made by a majority of members present at the duly called meeting of the Board of Public Accountancy on January 19, 2023.