Author: David Costello, CPA, NASBA President and CEO
When NASBA launched the CPAverify.org website on October 24th, we knew it would help our member boards not only showcase their states' accountants, but also the strong oversight they provide to those individuals. This is one of the most important things the boards do, and CPAverify showcases those efforts to the public.
As a public-facing side to NASBA's Accountancy Licensee Database, or ALD, CPAverify provides anyone with the opportunity to quickly and easily research a CPA and find out if they are up to date with their licensing requirements, as well as discover if there have been any disciplinary actions taken against them. This information has been compiled at NASBA for years as a part of the ALD. We are now turning that data outward to achieve what we feel is our No. 1 mandate, that of protecting and promoting the public interest.
We were able to initially launch the site with data from more than 20 of our 55 member boards of accountancy. We knew that some boards weren't able to come on at the outset due to some technological limitations, and we have been working diligently with them to get those issues resolved. In other cases, it's been a matter of having the resources to invest in the needed IT, and we've been helping out there as well.
Still, some boards may be reluctant to take part in ALD and CPAverify. They feel that this information is available from them, and that the public can obtain it by contacting them directly. That may be true, but giving the public an easy way to get to the data about a CPA's credentials across state lines is a great way to highlight the boards' oversight role to the public at large. We have the technology; why not put it into the hands of the people who are supposed to be benefiting from the regulations on our industry? Let them determine quickly, and on their own, if this CPA they're looking to hire has been behaving.
We encourage all of our boards to fully participate, providing all the data that both ALD and CPAverify need to be most effective. This is a very high-profile project, and its benefits are many. Perhaps most importantly in today's climate, there's a lot of pressure on legislatures to get rid of what's seen as unnecessary oversight and regulatory bodies. If boards want to be relevant, they need to get what they do out to the public that they're supposed to protect. CPAverify does that.
In the final analysis, CPAverify is only about making sure the public has a way to find out whether or not a CPA that they wish to engage, or that they have questions about, is in good standing with his or her state board. There is nothing sneaky about it. The information exists; this just gives the public access to it.
The boards are very proud of their CPAs. This is a way to show not only that these CPAs can be trusted, but that the state boards are actively involved in making sure that the accounting profession is operating as effectively, efficiently and honestly as possible.
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