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California Board of Accountancy

Highlights of the New Law Taking Effect in 2020: What You Need to Know

We are working hard to support our licensees and stakeholders by modernizing our operations and pursuing changes in the law that help ensure the CBA has the resources necessary to carry out its mission of consumer protection. Assembly Bill (AB) 1521, effective January 1, 2020, has some key provisions that support and improve CBA operations. Below is an overview of what you can expect in 2020:

  • Electronic distribution of the UPDATE newsletter
  • License renewal and initial licensure fee increases
  • Collection of email addresses from all licensees and applicants

Electronic Distribution of the UPDATE Newsletter

Starting in 2020, the UPDATE newsletter will be posted to the CBA website and an email notification will be distributed to all CBA licensees and applicants regarding its availability. You will have the option to request a hardcopy be mailed to you after each UPDATE issue is published on our website. Throughout 2020, we anticipate increasing the interactive features to provide a better reader experience.

License Renewal and Initial License Fee Increases

To ensure the CBA has the resources necessary to carry out our consumer protection mission and provide appropriate services to you and other stakeholders, the reduced fee levels will be ending on December 31, 2019.

Effective January 1, 2020, the renewal and initial licensure fees are $250. The CBA has offered reduced fees to its licensees for nearly 10 years. During this time, the renewal and initial licensure fee levels were as low as $50, an extremely low amount, especially when compared to other professions regulated in California and other states. Previously, the renewal and initial licensure fees were $120.

As a result, the CBA has been operating with an annual negative cash-flow, where expenditures exceed revenues, which has decreased its reserve fund. We understand this may be viewed as a significant increase; however, this amount is only slightly higher than the $200 fee level that existed prior to 2011. Additionally, the $250 fee amount is significantly less than many other professional licensing fees in California.

Although this increase will help the CBA’s bottom line, unfortunately, even at the $250 fee amount, the CBA is unable to generate sufficient revenue to establish a strong reserve. The CBA’s reserve provides a safeguard for unanticipated expenses and maintains the resources necessary to ensure licensees practice in accordance with established professional standards. With this in mind, the CBA will be pursuing an additional increase in the coming year.

Collection of email addresses from all licensees and applicants

Beginning in 2020, we will increase our use of email to improve and streamline communication with you. To collect email addresses, the CBA is mailing a letter to licensees in late January with instructions how to provide through the CBA website. After you receive the letter, please follow the instructions and complete this process by February 28, 2020. Your letter will include a PIN to be used during the registration process. Please save this PIN so you may update your email address online within 30 days of any change.

The CBA looks forward to a productive and successful 2020 as it continues its work to regulate the practice of public accountancy and fulfill its consumer protection mission. For more information on these and other topics, please visit the announcements section of our website, subscribe to our E-News, or email questions to

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