State Board Report
During my 2014 inaugural address in Washington, D.C., I asked everyone to recall the television characters on "The Jetsons" and "Get Smart." Although fictional, they were way ahead of their time, as they embraced new technologies without question. In D.C., I asked the Boards of Accountancy to "embrace the future without seeing it." Your accomplishments this past year are a true testament that you have. You have focused on the three E’s I set before you when I began my term in office: "Enforcing Our Rules," "Educating for Optimization" and "Engaging Talent."
Enforcing Board Rules
The diligent work of the Accountancy Licensee Database (ALD) Committee, chaired by Laurie J. Tish (WA) and assisted by staff, has brought the current ALD/CPAVerify system to participation by 50 states, capturing licensing information of more than 98 percent of all licensees. In addition, federal regulatory agencies have shown great interest in adding their disciplinary outcomes to the ALD. The Enforcement Resources Committee, chaired by Harry O. Parsons (NV), finalized the "Enforcement Resource Guide" to assist Boards of Accountancy reach a common standard for enforcement, as required for mobility under "No notice; No fee; No escape." And the Compliance Assurance Committee, chaired by Janice L. Gray (OK), held the largest Peer Review Oversight Committee Summit in its history in August.
Boards of Accountancy and NASBA have been working closely with the AICPA and the Department of Labor to significantly decrease the number of failed audits. Eleven specific recommendations were laid out in the DOL’s report on deficiencies in the employee benefit plan audits they surveyed. One recommendation in particular was to work with NASBA and the AICPA to improve the investigation and sanctioning process for those CPAs who perform significantly deficient audit work. And we are doing that.
Educating for Optimization
The Education Committee, chaired by Robert J. Cochran (VA), embraced the future by studying how national education accreditation bodies are evaluating nano learning, blended learning and credit for life experiences. The CPE Committee, chaired by Maria E. Caldwell (FL), worked closely with providers of CPE to understand and develop new CPE standards that would let CPAs benefit from the latest in learning techniques. The revised CPE standards were released for comment and responses from the State Boards and other stakeholders are now being studied.
We have also offered the State Boards’ views to standard-setters, regulators and others, who set ethical, educational and technical guidance for the CPA profession, through our Regulatory Response Committee, under the chairmanship of Mike Fritz (OH). They have done an extraordinary job in addressing numerous exposure drafts and white papers this year.
Accountancy Boards are educating and communicating with their constituents in new and more effective ways. Today, assisted by NASBA’s Communications Department and Communications Committee, chaired by Janeth Glenn (NE), more Boards of Accountancy are using electronic newsletters, digital brochures, video messaging and white-boarding to reach their publics faster and better. They are also embracing the future by reaching out through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
As I stated during my inaugural address, engaging talent is an initiative that is very near to my heart. This year, the Diversity Committee, chaired by Tyrone Dickerson (VA), took this initiative very seriously by reaching out to other organizations and benchmarking their efforts to achieve diversity. They have begun an effort to increase our involvement and visibility with organizations as part of NASBA’s program to increase the diversity on Boards of Accountancy. Diversity on Boards of Accountancy will bring different perspectives which will make us stronger, better, more effective and more relevant.
Future Thinking and Collaboration
Boards of Accountancy have truly embraced the future this past year, but they have done so while maintaining respect for the past. This is very significant to Boards of Accountancy and all that we do to protect the public. I have mentioned the work of just a few of the many committees that have worked diligently this year to meet our charge and I thank them all. Boards of Accountancy must continue to embrace the future to monitor the ever changing landscape of regulation and use latest technologies to fulfill the mission of public protection while maintaining the solid foundation that Boards of Accountancy are built on.
This past year, as your Chair, the days were long but the time flew by. It has been a truly exciting, informative and enjoyable journey. I am humbled by all of the hard work you put forth. You are truly incredible volunteers who give back to your profession as you protect the public.
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