State Board Report
Participants in the 28th Annual Conference for Executive Directors and State Board Staff and the 15th Annual Conference of State Board Legal Counsel were welcomed to NASBA’s Nashville headquarter offices on March 22 to meet the Association’s staff and learn about their activities. Besides providing up‐to‐date information on the services NASBA provides, the office tour was an opportunity for the NASBA employees to showcase their creative abilities as departments took on the roles of cheerleaders, emergency room personnel and even gangsters to humorously depict their work. State budget restrictions on travel were evident this year, as the conferences had decreased attendance, with only 34 states represented at the executive directors’ conference and 18 at the legal counsel conference. Dan Sweetwood, executive director of the Nebraska Board and chair of the NASBA Executive Directors Committee, observed: “Many states are facing difficult times, including restrictions on travel to meetings even with the offer of a NASBA scholarship. I believe it is even more important that we come together now to work with other regulators and the AICPA. We must prevent the crazy ideas that are being thrown around the halls of government in this environment from becoming reality.”
NASBA President David A. Costello told the Boards’ executive directors and legal counsel: “The key element is for state boards to remain relevant. When we stay relevant, the public looks to us and puts trust in us. Boards want to be operationally independent and not to have their funds swept out. Once our committee decides what a model Board should look like, we will push that model and enlist the state societies and AICPA to get together and push it with us.”
Many of the states’ highlight reports presented at the Executive Directors’ conference noted the financial problems states are experiencing: The Arizona Board is facing a budget sweep of $500,000 with pay being reduced 5 percent. The Nebraska Accountancy Board had $100,000 in cash funds transferred to the state’s general fund and also had a 7.5 percent reduction of state appropriations to its budget for the two‐year budget cycle. The Minnesota Board has experienced a 3 percent budget cut. On a more positive note: The Wyoming Board reported it was not required to cut its budget. While having to curtail its spending, the Missouri Board feels it is in a strong defensive position to ward off having its money swept into the general fund. For the upcoming fiscal year, the Idaho Board will receive a lump sum appropriation which will give it more control of its personnel costs, operating expenses and capital outlay.
Running with a staff of two full‐timers plus one part‐time employee, technology is “viewed as another staff person,” the Nevada Board’s Executive Director Viki Windfeldt told the conference. She explained that the Board began improving their information technology when they started to look into disaster recovery. As a result of the systems put in place, “I can see all of my documents wherever I am and I can run my office without being physically present,” Ms. Windfeldt stated. As of January 2008, the Nevada Board has only electronic files, and had scanned its paper documents going back to 1913. The Board does on‐line renewals, e‐mail blast renewal reminders, sends out notice of selection for CPE audit, only prepares an on‐line newsletter, and receives all peer review documents through its Web site. There are about 200 licensees without electronic access, and for them the Board sends out paper renewal forms, but promptly scans those forms once they are submitted. The only communication the Board regularly mails to CPA candidates is their Uniform CPA Examination grades. Already a participant in NASBA’s Accountancy Licensee Database, the Board’s next project is to get more of its enforcement information on‐line, Ms. Windfeldt said.
NASBA Chief Technology Officer Ed Barnicott told the conference that NASBA has brought all its Microsoft Sharepoint services hosting in‐house. He told the conference attendees that he would be communicating with the Boards on how they can gain access to the NASBA Sharepoint installation to support their Board’s work.
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