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State Board Report

August 2016

Yesterday I received a telephone call from a member of our Board of Directors, Tyrone Dickerson, who serves as chair of what I consider to be one of NASBA’s most important committees, the Diversity Committee. I have had calls from other committee chairs with similar expressed messages about the accomplishments of their groups. As is often the case, I was surprised, especially since the Diversity Committee has achieved significant results in the past two years. I am so proud of how NASBA has reached out to minorities and women to encourage them to serve on Boards of Accountancy, and to have those new Board members seek leadership positions in NASBA. The outcome of the Committee’s efforts is apparent with the current makeup of our board of directors, committees and task forces. We have come a long way since my President’s Memo, entitled "Photos on the Wall," was four years ago.

The above paragraph may seem to conflict with the title of this Memo, but I wanted to demonstrate the contrast with another recent issue. Earlier this month I received a letter from the co-chairs of a working group of the Public Accounting Oversight Board’s Investor Advisory Group (IAG), Professor Parveen Gupta and Lynn E. Turner. They requested that NASBA report on the progress of the recommendations to NASBA contained in the October 6, 2008 Final Report of the Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession (ACAP), from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

As 2008 was several years before my watch, I had to do some digging to reconstruct our activities. I was somewhat dismayed when I read some of the very credible recommendations in the report and realized that several had never been achieved – or even seriously considered. My initial reaction was that NASBA and other organizations named in the report may have dropped the ball, and missed a opportunity to augment the regulatory structure of the U.S. that could have possibly precluded some of the challenges for the profession that have occurred over the last decade.

NASBA’s committees, task forces and work groups, like the members of the 2008 ACAP work group, are made up of highly qualified individuals, with specific knowledge and skill sets, who do valuable work as volunteers. After receiving the IAG Working Group’s letter, I had the opportunity to speak with Gaylen Hansen, a NASBA Past Chair who was a member of ACAP’s Subcommittee on Firm Structure and Finances. Mr. Hansen, who is one of the country’s premier technical experts and an extremely articulate leader in the profession, expressed his disappointment that some of the critical recommendations of the ACAP report had not been accomplished. I share his concern.

In response, I have called on some of our top folks to review the 2008 ACAP report. We will be developing in the coming weeks a summary of the achievements accomplished, but, more importantly, we will review and identify recommendations that should be resurrected and considered for implementation.

The message of this Memo is not specifically about the ACAP report, but about how incredibly important it is to respect and give serious consideration to the work done by our volunteers. The type of individuals who rise to become State Board members, committee chairs and members of bodies like the ACAP bring tremendous knowledge, skills and abilities to activities in the public interest. The value of having such men and women devote time and energy to their volunteer efforts is incalculable.

The outcomes and recommendations of these volunteer-centric groups need to be treated as precious gifts. If we don’t, we will have dropped balls and missed opportunities!

Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)

— Ken L. Bishop
President and CEO

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