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State Board Report

November 2016

Everyone knows America’s favorite pastime – baseball of course. At least it is my favorite pastime. Do you know how wide a home plate is for, let’s say, Little League? High school? College? Minor league? Major league? It is 17 Inches across. We don’t say: “If Bobby can’t hit the target, we’ll just make it wider for him.” We want him to know there are parameters in which the game operates.

As professionals, what do we do when the quality of the work is not up to standards? Do we hold ourselves and others up to the standards? Do we make them, or ourselves accountable? Or do we widen the strike zone? Unfortunately, we live in a world that changes the rules to satisfy the situation at hand. Others may want us to widen the plate and lower the quality, but we can’t: We are regulators. In my analogy, we are the umpire behind the plate calling the proper balls and strikes, and we are protecting the batter, which is our public. The other thing we are doing is maintaining the integrity of the game.

If you remember one thing from this memo, remember this: If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and if we fail to provide a consequence, or if we simply just look the other way when our profession is not meeting the standards, there is just one thing to look forward to – the game’s end.

As President Ken Bishop has announced, our mission spending for my year as Chair will be at an all-time high. More than $10 million will be spent in direct support for Boards of Accountancy. I can summarize NASBA’s 2016-2019 strategic plan as the four B’s: be trusted; be a community; be relevant; and be influential.

Be Trusted
The U.S. CPA is recognized as trusted and world-class by business professionals. The U.S. CPA’s training and examination standards are viewed as robust and topnotch. We must never deviate from the path that delivers the gold standard. We must continue to educate all stakeholders in the critical importance of high level ethical behavior.

Be a Community
We must build a great and all-inclusive community. We will do more to actively engage Boards in dialogue in order to understand your needs and perspectives on issues that affect the regulation of the profession. We will also pursue changes in the law that serve to strengthen and support the authority and effectiveness of the Boards of Accountancy. Diversity and leadership development will be kept in the front of our minds and on the top of our list.

We will continue to work to have a more diverse CPA profession. The pipeline needs our attention and collaboration with the professional societies on this effort. This is no longer a “their” problem, but rather an “our” problem.

Be Relevant
We need to be relevant. As chair, I will guarantee NASBA will continue to speak as the trusted collective voice for the State Boards on both the national and international levels while promoting ethics and integrity. We will continue to monitor emerging issues and legislation, keep Boards apprised and support related committee activities. We will monitor the professional standard-setting process and keep Boards informed. We will work to ensure there is a thorough, effective and transparent peer review process.

To be relevant, we need to be virtual. We face an increasing speed of technology change. Big data and rapidly advancing audit techniques will alter auditing standards. With this will come expanded attest services. Required education will be more digitally connected.

Be Influential
Lastly, we need to be influential. NASBA will continue to place more key influencers, and continue to have change makers seek out NASBA’s input. We will work with other stakeholders realizing that, at times, we can politely agree to disagree while we pursue solutions that will protect the public and serve the needs of the Boards of Accountancy. These are the drivers we face.

Our influence will expand to the global stage. Moving forward, we will see increased mobility geographically. We have seen individual and firm mobility on the national level, and now we will see mobility on the international level.

As we face these drivers together, being relevant, being a community, being influential and being trusted, we need to keep in the forefront of our minds that moral authority comes from following the universal and timeless principles of honesty, integrity and reverence.

My personal philosophy on life is: Live your life like someone else is watching – because He is.

– Telford A. Lodden

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