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State Board Report

October 2016

When I started my term as your Chair, I told you that I envisioned us as having a ladder of success which needs to rest on a solid foundation and, a year later, I hope you agree that we have added to the foundation and climbed several rungs. My focus as Chair of NASBA was in three areas that I believed would help us all become more successful Board members. They were to: build trust; be forward thinking; and enhance use of all tools available for success.

Build Trust
As we all know, trust is a powerful thing. This past year, we have strived to continually open the lines of communication with you, the Boards of Accountancy. We have taken every opportunity to meet individually with many Boards to: understand your needs; assist you with understanding of all the available tools from NASBA; keep you abreast of all aspects of regulation that affect your board; and work together to tackle the issues we face as regulators of the accounting profession.

This past year, we have also taken steps to enhance relations with State CPA Societies, who are an integral part of the Boards’ stakeholder group. NASBA’s State Society Relations Committee continued to strengthen relationships, as evidenced by both State CPA Society executives and Board of Accountancy executive directors holding a joint conference, that will take place again for the third time this year. With the assistance of NASBA’s Communications team a number of State CPA Societies and Boards of Accountancy work collaboratively to communicate to common stakeholders, i.e., Examination candidates, licensees and the public.

NASBA continued to advocate for the Boards of Accountancy with other crucial stakeholders, such as: federal regulators, accounting educators, the AICPA and national and international accounting bodies. We have been positive, transparent and trusting on the Boards’ behalf. We were willing to compromise, but we never hesitated to disagree when it was in the public’s best interest.

This year we proactively advocated against the use of potentially misleading credentials. As I said to you during my inaugural address, one major step in protecting the public is to ward off confusing titles. The U.S. CPA continues to be the first and foremost credential for quality, credibility and ethics.

Be Forward Thinking
My second initiative was to be forward thinking. James Johnson, our 2015 Annual Meeting’s keynote speaker, told us that with the “browning of America” the public we protect are not only changing, but have changed. NASBA’s Diversity Committee continued to develop strategies for diversity at the State Board level. NASBA allocated additional resources to work closely with a number of organizations, universities and institutions to strengthen opportunities for diverse candidates to enter into the accounting profession and teach others. I strongly believe this is the right thing to do because achieving diversity will provide better outcomes for our Boards and the public we serve.

Use Tools for Success
The last of my objectives was for the Boards of Accountancy to use all the tools available for success. Currently, 50 jurisdictions are providing data to the Accountancy Licensee Database (ALD), which contains information on more than 98 percent of the Boards’ licensees.

In March, we signed one of the largest contracts in NASBA’s history to build an intuitive, safe and reliable CPE audit tool for all interested Boards of Accountancy, at no cost to the Boards. We also completed a major renovation to “reboot” our Nashville office, focusing on light, transparency, collaboration and opportunity, and to quote Ken Bishop, “It will allow us to ramp up our capabilities to provide greater service to the Boards of Accountancy.”

A major concern voiced by our Boards was the threat of anti-trust financial liability due to the North Carolina Dental Board case. We have endeavored to provide the Boards with tools so they could successfully deal with this important issue: we presented speakers at our Regional Meetings; produced a webinar on the implications of this case; added a webpage on nasba.org; provided constant communications with the states who had legislation and litigation; and joined a coalition with other professional licensing boards to spearhead a federal effort to eliminate the threat.

I hope that during my tenure as Chair, NASBA gave the Boards the tools they needed to be successful. Because if NASBA is to “enhance the effectiveness and advance the common interests of the Boards of Accountancy,” we cannot be successful unless the Boards are successful.

Thank you for all of your great collaborative efforts this past year to keep climbing that ladder.

– Donald H. Burkett, CPA, Chair

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