State Board Report
NASBA’s 2011 Peer Review Oversight Committee Summit, held August 16 in Charleston, SC, has resulted in the production of an invaluable reference tool for Boards ready to start a Peer Review Oversight Committee (PROC). Compliance Assurance Committee Chair Janice Gray (OK) says Boards will have available a jump drive that will contain: guidance on how to get a PROC started; a sample PROC mission statement; confidentiality agreements for PROC members to sign; checklists for PROC members to use; and reporting mechanisms for communicating findings with State Boards. Ms. Gray explained these sample materials were gathered from those Boards that had PROCs already established prior to the meeting. Previously, when a Board came to the Committee for assistance, the Committee would route the inquiring Board to either the Texas or Mississippi Board for information on their successful PROC programs. Now if the Committee or NASBA is asked how to begin, the Board will be provided the jump drive.
“About seven years ago, when the Oklahoma Board decided to begin its PROC, we gathered information from the Texas and Mississippi Boards, as they were the ones with the most seasoned programs. We used information graciously provided by those programs to develop what we now have in Oklahoma,” she said.
While three years ago, when the PROC Summit was last held, only about a dozen states were represented; this year 21 Boards were there. Ms. Gray said the increase evidences more active State Board participation, but states still have vastly different oversight programs in place. Only about half have developed any forms for the PROC members’ use. The jump drive will be distributed to all states represented at the conference in hopes of gaining more uniformity. Some states do have budget issues, and State Board staff is involved in monitoring compliance with peer review report deficiencies, and some State Boards are restricted in their ability to receive Peer Review reports, but Ms. Gray is hopeful that all Boards can establish strong programs.
This year state societies as well as State Boards were represented among the 60 Summit attendees. NASBA’s Compliance Assurance Committee decided to open this year’s Summit to state societies in order to let them hear firsthand what the State Boards need, Ms. Gray reported. None of the Boards at the meeting complained of problems in getting information from the professional associations, Ms. Gray said. She maintains the societies and the Boards all want the same results: CPAs who follow standards and issue reports with appropriate documentation.
“We will concentrate this year on continuing to provide Boards with assistance in developing PROCs. We’ve talked to the Boards about designing their own PROC questionnaires. At some point we will probably cull out best practices – but we are not there yet,” Ms. Gray said. “We’re talking about the next PROC Summit having both general and more breakout sessions, to allow those with established PROCs to exchange experiences. But that will not be for another 18-24 months.”
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