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State Board Report

June 2014

May 16, 2014 was a milestone for accounting legislation that was reached through the collaboration of regulators, professionals and legislators. The last major amendment to Chapter 5 of the U.S. Virgin Islands Accountancy Act was made in 1957. Since that time, there has been a significant evolution of the practice of public accountancy in the United States. The movement to update VI accountancy regulation began in December 2012, when representatives from NASBA and the AICPA, in conjunction with members of the U.S. Virgin Islands Board of Accountancy (including staff from the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs) and the U.S. Virgin Islands Society, invited all licensed CPAs from the three islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John) to participate in a day-long discussion of their current laws and rules with the goal of replacing them with the Uniform Accountancy Act. During that week, meetings were held with several legislators and their staff members, along with a group of educators from the University of the Virgin Islands, to provide an overview of the proposed legislation.

Eighteen months later, Bill No. 30-0279 passed through all committees of reference unanimously, and was signed into law by Governor John de Jong, Jr., on May 16, 2014. By signing bill No. 30-0279 into law, the Virgin Islands became the 55th and final jurisdiction to have a pathway to become substantially equivalent. Furthermore, this legislation also enacts peer review, individual mobility and a CPE requirement.

The Virgin Islands are the third jurisdiction to have made legislative news this spring, as Georgia and Wisconsin were also successful in their efforts. The Georgia State Board of Accountancy and the CPA profession in Georgia faced real challenges when it came to achieving a strong and effective accountancy board. To overcome these challenges, the Georgia Society of CPAs, Georgia Board of Accountancy, NASBA and countless others working behind the scenes, pursued a legislative agenda to make the Board more rigorous. On April 30, Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation into law that provides the Georgia Board with the tools needed to properly regulate the profession. In addition to giving the Board a dedicated Executive Director and other dedicated staff, HB 291 removes the Georgia Board of Accountancy from the Secretary of State (the Georgia Board was one of 42 other professions that shared resources within that agency) and places the Board under the purview of the State Accounting Office. In the May SBR we reported on Wisconsin’s legislation that ensures their CPA candidates meet the educational requirements to take the Uniform CPA Examination.

“These three jurisdictions’ victories represent an emerging trend in the CPA profession to engage the legislative apparatus collectively in order to elevate the effectiveness of their efforts,” observes NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs John Johnson. To learn more about NASBA’s legislative programs, please contact Mr. Johnson.

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