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State Board Report

April 2015

Reviving a joint event last staged approximately a score of years ago, the executive directors of State Boards of Accountancy met with the executive directors of State CPA Societies, March 24-25 in Tampa, FL. Executive Directors Committee Chair Russ Friedewald (IL) reported the 33rd NASBA Annual Conference for Executive Directors and Board Staff was the largest ever. It included 64 State Board staff and 22 State Society CEOs. The 20th Annual Conference for Board of Accountancy Legal Counsel, which was held concurrently in Tampa, had 43 attendees, including 14 first-time attendees. NASBA Manager of Regulatory Affairs Stacey L. Grooms explained that this year Board investigators as well as attorneys were invited to attend as a large part of the conference’s agenda was focused on investigations. Some of the highlights of those meetings are covered in this issue of the State Board Report.

Boyd E. Search, chief executive officer of the Georgia Society of CPAs, summarized how within a few years the Georgia Board of Accountancy was strengthened through cooperation between the Society and the Board. The Georgia Secretary of State had proposed bringing the Accountancy Board under one consumer board that would cover 43 professions. The Georgia Board, aided by NASBA, worked with the Society so that the Accountancy Board became a standalone agency under the State Accountancy Officer. This was accomplished through having an active working group meeting via phone, or in-person, every week including State Board and State Society representation.

John W. Johnson, NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs, reported the NASBA State Society Relations Committee had recently conducted a survey of the State Boards and Societies which drew responses from 45 executive directors of State Boards and from 40 executive directors of State Societies. They expressed high recognition of the worth of working together on legislation, he observed. James T. Ahler, CEO of the North Carolina Society of CPAs, said it is really helpful to have the State Board Executive Director attend the Society’s board’s meetings. Mr. Johnson said the survey found 27 State Societies never miss a Board of Accountancy meeting, and 32 Societies meet with the Board to seek concurrence before moving forward on legislation. Suggestions from the survey participants for improving Society Board cooperation ranged from attending each other’s meetings, to touring college campuses together to educate students about licensure requirements, to having the executive directors "get together for a beer or two at least once a month."

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