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State Board Report

December 2016

I always enjoy writing the December President’s Memo because it requires a time to reflect. Throughout the year my job involves a considerable amount of speculation and forecasting to insure that NASBA is prepared to meet its mission obligations to the Boards of Accountancy. Those activities really don’t stop at the end of the year, but it is important to annually take measure of what has been accomplished.

At NASBA’s 109th Annual Meeting in Austin, entitled “Evolve”, we discussed the importance of insuring that accountancy regulation keeps pace with an evolving profession in a changing environment. My lookback assessment is that we did a good job this year in taking substantial steps to identify and mitigate issues that could impact public protection and potentially diminish confidence in the U.S. accounting profession.

Thanks to the depth, breadth and capability of our volunteer committees and task forces, with quality staff support, we have worked through a myriad of significant challenges including: modifications to peer review administration, confusing and misleading titles, changes in education methodologies, expiring international agreements, questionable reliance on education accreditation, and increasing incorporation of data analytics in accounting and auditing. While all of these issues are still in various stages of development or implementation, we have laid the groundwork for addressing each of them. More importantly, we have faced them in deliberative and measured ways.

There will be many changes in the coming year, including the launch of the new Uniform CPA Examination, which have been well vetted and communicated to stakeholders. Other potential changes will require the same thorough review and forethought. Post-election banter suggesting the elimination of the Dodd-Frank Act, changes to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, sustainability concerns and significant revisions to the IRS code will certainly have an impact on the profession and regulation. Similarly, the new Administration will have impact on the leadership of regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

NASBA will be tracking, analyzing and communicating significant changes and their potential impact on Boards of Accountancy. Some changes will be indirect. For example, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) receives its funding under Section 978 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The forecasted elimination of Dodd-Frank’s support for GASB and other areas are critically important matters on which we will need to respond. NASBA committees, including the Standard-Setting Advisory Committee, International Qualifications Appraisal Board, Regulatory Response Committee, Education Committee, Compliance Assurance Committee, Uniform Accountancy Act Committee, Relations with Member Boards Committee and Legislative Support Committee will be monitoring these developments and speaking up for the Boards.

On a personal note, when you are reading this, I will be completing my fifth year as President and CEO of NASBA. It is unbelievable how quickly five years have gone by. As I end this year, I feel truly blessed and grateful for the wonderful support I have received from our leadership, Board of Directors, and you, the State Boards. I wish each of you a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and joyful holiday season, and a very safe, happy and successful New Year! I hope you give yourself a time to reflect on the importance of what you do for the public and the profession.

Semper ad meliora (Always toward better things).

– Ken L. Bishop
President & CEO

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