State Board Report

December 2011

An Irishman, Joseph Kirby, a bricklayer whose death was mistakenly noted in the obituary column of the Hartford Courier was understandably upset. So the next morning Joseph (the “corpse”) rushes down to see the editor to vehemently protest the error.

“I’m awfully sorry Mr. Kirby,” apologized the editor, “but it’s too late now to do much about it. The best I can do for you is to put you in the ‘Birth Notices’ column tomorrow — and give you a fresh start.”

Our work, our service, our recreation and life itself are replete with “do-overs,” mulligans, new beginnings, second chances and fresh starts. You perhaps have experienced or observed it with one of your clients or friends–a bad business judgment which later seemed to be mitigated by the lessons learned, as a second chance redeemed the previous misadventure.

As golfers we love the mulligan, that wonderful invention attributed to a fellow named Mulligan who chose not to count a stroke on his first attempt at hitting the golf ball. It’s the ultimate do-over, that on the spot opportunity to quickly correct an errant drive, iron shot or chip (no self-respecting golfer would take a mulligan on the green). Some have accused me of being too creative in the use of mulligans, a charge which of course is groundless.

NASBA’s history is sprinkled with…no, it’s full of successes which represent the do-over, the new beginning, the fresh start. In the late 1990s the concept of “substantial equivalency,” the bedrock of our current mobility provisions throughout the country, was introduced as we together with the AICPA sought to remake and significantly improve the Uniform Accountancy Act. The past three years have seen tremendous progress in mobility legislation in 48 states, a success which began out of a fresh start mindset on the part of the profession, State Boards and NASBA.

A new beginning ushered in a dramatic change in the development, scoring, delivery and administration of the Uniform CPA Examination in 2002. A unique three-party agreement among the AICPA, Prometric and NASBA supported by our Boards and the profession brought the examination into the world of technology, and established the accounting profession and the State Boards as thought leaders for a high stakes professional examination.

We experienced the necessity of make-overs as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board it created reminded public companies that corporate officers and their respective auditors must tell the truth, be more transparent and be more accountable.

NASBA’s Center for the Public Trust was a new beginning to positively display CPAs, CFOs, CEOs and other professionals and company officers who have lived and served by ethics principles so that the public could simply trust again after major financial frauds.

This time of year is filled with resplendent evidence of fresh starts with great joy expressed, songs and music heard everywhere, gifts exchanged and hopeful anticipation of the new year, everyone’s new beginning. And whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah or other celebrations for you, the joy, peace and hope themes abound and permeate our work places, our worship sites and our homes.

As I am soon to begin my fresh start, my re-firing, I simply want to thank all of you, my readers, for 17 plus wonderful years of new beginnings and do-overs. And let us all in the spirit of the season go boldly, expectantly and positively into our futures where fresh starts are simply approaches to enhancing whatever we’re about and whomever we hope to be. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Peace to all!

Ad astra, Per aspera

— David A. Costello, CPA
President and CEO

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