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Author: Andy Goldstein, NASBA Electronic Media Specialist and Webmaster
Posted: September 26, 2013

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 2013, we will share features about each of our committees to highlight why they were established, the duties and functions they perform and to focus on some of the things they hope to accomplish in the near future.

We continue our series on NASBA’s committees with a look at the Ethics and Strategic Issues Committee.

Serving as the “conscience” committee of NASBA, the Ethics and Strategic Issues Committee’s charge is to promote the development and maintenance of high-quality standards of ethical practice to protect the public interest, and to consider significant forward-looking issues and their strategic relevance to both Boards of Accountancy and NASBA.

Raymond Johnson

Raymond Johnson, Ph.D., CPA, Ethics and Strategic Issues Committee Chair

Dr. Raymond Johnson, CPA, NASBA Director-at-Large and Ethics and Strategic Issues Committee Chair, said the Committee’s work is so important because ethics is the cornerstone of the accounting profession.

One of the main points of focus for the Committee this year is to promote harmonization of ethics standards between Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Dr. Johnson spoke about this subject at NASBA’s 2013 Eastern Regional Meeting in Chicago, IL.

“What sets professions apart from other occupations is a profession’s commitment to the public interest, and its willingness to subscribe to a code of professional conduct,” said Dr. Johnson. “Each state board has its own code of professional conduct in its rules, or sometimes in statute. In an era of mobility, the challenge for state boards is to ensure that we have relatively consistent codes of professional conduct from state to state that honor the public interest. While we don’t expect every state to be the same, it is important for licensees that significant differences from state to state are rational and transparent.”

The AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) restructured the Institute’s ethics standards to improve their Code of Professional Conduct so that members and others can apply the rules and reach correct conclusions more easily and intuitively.

The Proposed Revised AICPA Code of Professional Conduct was exposed for comment on April 15, 2013. In a comment letter released August 14, NASBA offered its support of the Codification. In the letter, NASBA Chair Gaylen Hansen, CPA, and NASBA President and CEO Ken Bishop wrote:

“We are pleased to communicate our full support of the Proposed Revised Code of Professional Conduct (Ethics Codification). PEEC reached out early to the Boards of Accountancy during the pilot testing phase with the appointment of a Codification Project State Board Advisory Group, and by sharing the pilot draft with the NASBA Ethics and Strategic Professional Issues Committee. We were very pleased with the responsiveness of PEEC to the group’s and our comments during the pilot testing as well as subsequent exposure.”

Another initiative of the Committee focuses on state-specific Continuing Professional Education (CPE) that emphasizes ethics. Dr. Johnson said a number of states believe that their required CPE on state rules and ethics is very effective in preventing rules violations.

“If a number of states believe that their rules and ethics CPE is effective, it is important to understand the benefits of this CPE in being proactive about improving ethical behavior of licensees,” he said.

Dr. Johnson added the Committee is also concerned about finding an efficient pathway to ethics CPE for licensees who must maintain multiple licenses in multiple states.

To see a list of participating Committee members, please visit the Ethics and Strategic Issues Committee page in the Committees section of this website. Below is Dr. Johnson’s full presentation from the 2013 Eastern Regional Meeting.

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