Recently, two bills which allow out-of-state CPAs to embrace their profession here in Hawaii – the only state with no individual CPA mobility law – were heard by the Senate committee. These bills permit out-of-state CPAs with no Hawaii license to srart business in this state. However, both face opposition because these bills will result to the outsourcing of jobs and the lost CPA licensing charges for Hawaii.
One of the two bills is Senate Bill 1266 which is accompanied by Senate Bill 1281. This bill permits out-of-state CPAs to practice their profession in Hawaii, but they are obligated to have a certification of insurance for professional malpractice for over $2 million.
The other bill, Senate Bill 543, was introduced by Kailua Senator Jill Tokuda. This bill allows out-of-state CPAs who were licensed in another state with the same licensing proviso to practice their profession here in Hawaii. Despite the good intentions lying behind passing this bill, it would nevertheless result to outsourced jobs and to the absence of consumer protection as a consequence of lowering the CPA licensing standards. Our local CPAs would have to compete with out-of-state certified public accountants who face lesser restrictions. This bill would therefore increase the supply of labor force in the market. Thus, the slots that were supposed to be made available to local CPAs will also have to cater out-of-state practitioners. This evidently takes a toll on local accountants in Hawaii. Lowering the CPA licensing standards would have adverse effects, especially to our local CPAs. Their chances at earning the position that they desire in a company will be reduced by some degree. They would have to equip themselves with the trainings, skills and knowledge that will help them be at par, if not more competitive than those they would have to compete against just for a position.
Furthermore, Senate Bill 543 would lessen the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy’s power over the present Hawaii licensed out-of-state CPAs. This bill will allow big international companies to take local jobs – sometimes without paying taxes in the process. As a result, Hawaiian jobs might be unfavorably affected. Therefore, even if we consider all of the good intentions behind the bills, we cannot deny the fact that these will still hurt Hawaii jobs in one way or another.