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State Board Report

February 2016

At NASBA we have made it through the winter holidays, a rare snowfall in Nashville and a virtual blizzard in New York, and are now "up to our elbows" in preparing for upcoming meetings, including the Executive Director and Board Staff Conference, Legal Counsel Conference and the 2016 Regional Meetings. The process begins with the consideration and development of agendas that reflect what is going on now and what is anticipated for the coming months – and even years. The staff and volunteers developing the topics and focuses of NASBA conferences take seriously the attendees’ expectation of value for their time spent at these meetings. In a time of rapid change, potential threats and new opportunities in public accounting and its regulation, identifying and settling on the elements of the agendas is a complicated process. As one might expect, the resulting conference agenda items will closely mirror the prioritization of NASBA’s organizational focus for the coming year.

In December, in my President’s Memo: It’s All Good, I laid out several important topics that will be a part of our agendas in 2016. These topics include the evolving education delivery models, confusing credentials and their impact on the CPA candidate pipeline and potential modifications in recognition of international professionals. We will also be focusing on the updated standards in peer review and continuing professional education. The potential impact on State Boards of the Supreme Court’s decision in the North Carolina Dental Board case and other challenges in enforcement and legislative threats will remain key issues for NASBA meetings. I would suggest that all of these topics not only be on NASBA’s agenda, but should be on the agenda of every State Board of Accountancy.

NASBA intends to be well prepared to respond and act on each of these identified issues. We have engaged in virtually every one, and some significant progress has been made. Since the start of the new year, several significant discussions have occurred, including the Accreditation Forum, the AICPA/NASBA Summit, and meetings of the NASBA/AICPA International Qualification Appraisal Board (IQAB) and the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) Committee. While we never want to be overly optimistic, I believe these discussions produced positive momentum.

The Accreditation Forum was well attended by major accreditation bodies, education associations, academics, and a mix of volunteers and staff from NASBA and AICPA. Although the next steps for the Forum are just being developed, the open dialog, frank discussions, and the accreditation leaders’ willingness to consider change and improvements will hopefully lead to a mitigation of many of our education delivery concerns.

The NASBA/AICPA Summit was a valuable opportunity to openly discuss challenges and opportunities wherein the organizations can work together. One primary outcome of the Summit was the mutual dedication to preserving the value of the CPA credential and recognizing its direct relationship to the CPA candidate pipeline. Specifically, we agreed to consider how we can coordinate our work in a joint effort. Finally, the IQAB and UAA Committee are making headway as to how recognition of well qualified non-U.S. professionals can best be achieved.

Attendees at this year’s NASBA conferences will have the opportunity to gain a good understanding of major issues that may impact their Board now or in the future. It is imperative that all states and territories are represented at NASBA meetings during this pivotal time. As in previous years, we know that attending meetings and conferences is challenging to some states because of limited budgets and/or arbitrary travel restrictions. NASBA will continue to do all it can do to provide support, resources and guidance to any Board that faces obstacles in having its representatives at these meetings.

It may not be easy, but "It’s agenda time!"

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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