Author: Andy Goldstein, NASBA Electronic Media Specialist and Webmaster
Regarded as a cornerstone of support within the organization, NASBA appoints as many as 30 committees and task forces each year. Through the work of these committees, NASBA volunteers and staff address current and emerging issues affecting Boards of Accountancy across the 55 jurisdictions. Topics range from ethics, education and global regulation in accounting principles to the development of model rules for the member boards’ consideration.
Throughout the year, we will feature each of our committees to highlight their role in carrying out NASBA’s mission, the duties and functions they perform and focus on their initiatives for 2013.
We continue our series on NASBA’s committees with a look at the Board Effectiveness and Legislative Support Committee.
Recognizing that Boards of Accountancy have an increasing need for assistance and support on legislative matters, NASBA formed the Legislative Support Committee in the 2011-2012 committee year.
From 2009 – 2011, the Committee was called the Enforcement Assessment and Best Practices Committee, and its charge was to develop a Best Practices state board manual for seeking and managing complaints and conducting investigations, hearings, sanctions and appeals together with dispositions. In 2012, the Committee name was changed to the Legislative Support Initiative Committee, but did not begin meeting officially as the Board Effectiveness and Legislative Support Committee until 2012-2013.
The Board Effectiveness and Legislative Support Committee’s current charge is to develop strategies to assist Boards of Accountancy in efforts to improve effectiveness and support the Director of Legislative Affairs in developing an effective legislative strategy.
Committee staff liaison John Johnson was hired by NASBA as the Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs in May 2012 to begin working with the Committee to lay the groundwork for legislative support efforts on behalf of Boards of Accountancy. Before coming to NASBA, Johnson was the director of the department of governmental affairs at the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA), where he monitored and lobbied for all key legislation affecting Florida’s accounting profession, as well as fundraising for and directing its CPA/Political Action program.
Johnson said he believes the Board Effectiveness and Legislative Support Committee is important because so much of what determines the rise and fall of professions depends on the governmental area and legislative process.
“Legislation proposed by lawmakers either enhances or undercuts professions, and with a profession like accounting, the public trust invariably follows,” said Johnson. “Because NASBA plays such a vital role in ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of our profession, governmental interaction becomes a natural, necessary extension of our mission. By providing support and guidance, we directly serve the public which itself depends on our vigilance in making the profession the most principled it can be.”
A huge piece of NASBA’s legislative support groundwork was completed in April 2013, when NASBA launched its online Legislative Tracking System to assist Boards of Accountancy in monitoring legislative bills that affect the regulation of the accounting profession, as well as any amendments made to a bill during the legislative process.
Johnson said the Legislative Tracking System is an enormous step in fulfilling the goals of the Committee because it enables NASBA to become that much more nimble and responsive to legislative efforts that strengthen the field, as well as ones that might weaken it.
“Suddenly, with the Tracking System, we have eyes and ears on what we need to, which in turn, amplifies our collective voice as a profession when we need to take action,” Johnson said.
The Committee is currently looking at ways to further enhance the Legislative Tracking System, including adding a communication function within the system that would automatically notify boards of relevant legislation and allow them to become self-sufficient in monitoring those bills.
“We’re also involving the Committee’s ‘Board Effectiveness’ subcommittee to study other tools available to improve the legislative effectiveness of state boards,” Johnson added.
To see a list of participating Committee members, please visit the Board Effectiveness and Legislative Support Committee page in the Committees section of this website. To read up on legislation currently affecting Boards of Accountancy, take a look at the Legislation Tracking System.
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