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State Board Report

April 2017

New Orleans was the site of NASBA’s 35th Annual Conference for Executive Directors and Board Staff and 22nd Annual Conference for Board of Accountancy Legal Counsel, March 14-17. For half of the Executive Directors Conference they were joined by the chief executives from 27 State CPA Societies. Thirty nine State Boards were represented at the Executive Directors meeting and 25 states at the Legal Counsel. Their programs covered topics being debated and researched by State Boards, as well as administrative concerns. In welcoming the meetings’ participants, NASBA Executive Directors Committee Chair Wade Jewell (VA) pointed out this was the third Executive Directors conference that has been held with the State Society CEOs. Ralph Thomas, Executive Director of the New Jersey Society of CPAs told all: “At the end of the day, we have a mutual interest in making sure the public is protected.”

NASBA Chief Relations Officer Alfonzo Alexander, NIES Manager Matthew Wilkins and Vice President – Strategic Planning and Program Management Ed Barnicott kicked off the conference with a session on building the profession. Noting that many promising business students chose to go into finance rather than seeking the CPA, Mr. Alexander described the efforts being made to reach out on college campuses to involve students and faculty members in discussions of the rewards of the CPA profession. He encouraged State Boards to hold campus meetings and have their members speak about their professional experiences at student meetings.

Anything we can do to make the process easier to take the Uniform CPA Examination is good, Vice President Barnicott commented. Currently 22 states are participating in the candidate dropout research project to identify factors impacting candidates’ ability to successfully complete the Uniform CPA Examination. Focus groups were held in eight locations from December through February, and in March on-line focus groups were held, with a larger survey scheduled for this spring. The results of these efforts are expected to be ready in late summer or early fall 2017.

The preliminary results of this project have shown that cost of the testing was not a major issue for the former candidates, but more problems were encountered because of work schedules, family obligations and lack of employer support, Mr. Barnicott said.

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