State Board Report
The significance of accounting firm names (as recently brought up by the firms of Crowe Horwath and Virchow, Krause & Co., several recent court decisions and a draft non?authoritative white paper by the AICPA/NASBA Firm Name Study Group) was the topic of Regional Meeting breakout sessions co?moderated by Study Group Chair Gaylen Hansen (CO), NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act Committee Chair Laurie Tish (WA) and NASBA UAA Committee Past Chair Andrew DuBoff (NJ).
Mr. Hansen presented some of the background material considered by the joint study group:
While 37 State Boards have approved the name change of “Crowe Chizek” to “Crowe Horwath LLP,” the North Carolina and Kansas Boards have not approved the change.
“Virchow Krause & Company, An Independent Member of Baker Tilly International” has announced it is seeking regulatory approval to change its name to “Baker Tilly, LLP,” stating: “The firm will maintain its independent member status and will not assume any management responsibilities within the network as a result of the name change.”
US District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in two cases involving Parmalat denied summary judgment to Deloitte (January 27, 2009) and Grant Thornton (February 25, 2009) as he considered the use of the firms’ names evidence of control of foreign affiliates.
Mr. Hansen said the joint AICPA/NASBA Firm Name Study Group is still editing its paper (a draft was distributed at the meetings and is available on www.nasba.org with the other Regional Meeting materials), and he invited the State Boards’ input on the topic. The study group is recommending that guidance pertaining to “fictitious names” in the UAA’s Model Rules and State Boards’ rules and regulations be deleted and reference be made to “misleading” names instead. The boards should focus on what are misleading names and permit names if they are not false or misleading, he advised.
The AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee is expected to release shortly its Interpretation 101?17 under Rule 101, Definition of Network and Network Firm ET Section 92. It specifies characteristics that if shared by associated CPA firms define them as part of a network and the independence requirements for such networked firms.
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