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State Board Report

June 2015

By the time you read this Memo, the 2015 NASBA Regional Meetings will be starting (June 17-19 Western and June 24-26 Eastern). From time to time, I have written about my concern that a few states are not able to attend NASBA meetings because of some bureaucratic resistance or outright prohibition of allowing State Board members and staff to travel. The rationale is typically not money, as State Boards are usually adequately funded, plus NASBA will provide scholarships to any state that does not have the ability to send a representative to our Regional and/or Annual Meetings. More frequently the travel ban results from the Board’s inability to adequately describe the part the Meetings can play in contributing to their competence as regulators.

As I was watching a special on the recent retirement of late night talk show host David Letterman, with some of his "Top Ten" lists, I began to think of the important reasons why each State Board should attend NASBA meetings during these changing times. While Letterman’s lists were meant to provoke laughter, the "Top Ten" I have compiled might provide talking points that could be used to persuade reluctant State officials to support attendance at these important meetings:

#10: Allows State Boards to keep current with the stream of proposed and adopted changes in standards, regulations, and other accounting related requirements.

#9: Keeps State Boards knowledgeable as to the present state of the Uniform CPA Examination, and aware of any proposed changes in content and delivery of the Exam.

#8: Provides a means for State Boards to be aware of case law and court decisions that can impact disciplinary and regulatory processes in their State.

#7: Gives State Boards insight into the development, maintenance and improvements in regulatory support systems such as the Accountancy Licensee Database (ALD), the Accountancy Licensing Library (ALL) and CPAmobility.org.

#6: Allows State Boards to be aware of activities, issues and opportunities regarding Federal, national and international regulatory bodies such as the IRS, SEC, PCAOB, FAF (FASB, GASB, and PCC), and the IASB.

#5: Informs State Boards of accounting-related issues with Federal Agencies such as DOL, HUD and HEW.

#4: Gives State Boards detailed analysis into proposed changes in processes and systems they rely upon, such as the AICPA Peer Review Program.

#3: Educates State Boards as to changes and amendments being considered and developed for the Uniform Accountancy Act and provides an avenue for the State Boards’ input.

#2: Provides State Boards with details and analysis of specific complaints and violations, with insight into how they are investigated and prosecuted.

Now a drum roll as I point to the feature of the meetings that always draws the most positive comments from participants:

#1: Allows State Boards to interact with and develop relationships with other Boards in their region and nationally, giving them a forum for exchanging ideas and responding to proposed regulatory changes.

NASBA meetings also include a social program that offers good food, entertainment and optional tours for guests, but these are all elements designed to have the total meeting promote relaxed, open discourse among regulators. A Letterman list might go for some laughs based on these lighter aspects of the meetings, but those are not part of my Top Ten. Everyone sees our meetings department does a great job of making sure my Top Ten are offered in a pleasant package.

As we become more successful in getting the vast majority of states attending and participating in NASBA meetings, the relevance, quality and importance of these meetings are continually increasing. This also places a bright light on the remaining states that are unable to attend. Hopefully the "Top Ten" list is a way to begin the conversation in those states, but remember, NASBA is always willing to step in and assist in discussions with a State Board’s oversight department, executives or legislators.

I look forward to the day when every State Board is represented at NASBA meetings. In the meantime, I also look forward to seeing more State Boards’ representatives at the upcoming NASBA Regional Meetings than I did last year.

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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