State Board Report
The speed of change is scary for a profession that is rooted in so many things, AICPA President Barry C. Melancon told the NASBA Annual Meeting. However, he pointed out, “Today the profession is more trusted than at any other time in our history. Our negatives are at the lowest.” Mr. Melancon said he does not lose sleep over the changes, but he does over how to bring these new capabilities to the mid and smaller size firms. “I expect you will not be able to recognize the profession in ten years – but I really mean five,” he said.
Five years ago NASBA held its Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, and Mr. Melancon spoke there asking that the definition of “attest” be amended in the states’ laws. Now approximately 75 percent of the states have made that change, and he thanked the Boards. One of the new services covered under that definition is cybersecurity, which Mr. Melancon compared to the attestation that the public was calling for in the 1930s and 1940s. Just as the audit evolved to fill that demand: “Cybersecurity is that element today – the public is demanding it. The public is asking how do we know when the management team says they are doing all that is needed in cybersecurity.” The AICPA is coming out with a new cybersecurity guide in the beginning of 2018.
Among the issues AICPA is working on with NASBA is the candidate pipeline. Mr. Melancon said the AICPA has developed an honors course in accounting which it is working to have colleges accept for advanced placement credit.
He stressed the need for strong and effective State Boards to maintain the regulatory structure, and that the profession must continue to evolve. “Change is always hard – but the profession comes out more successful when it embraces change,” Mr. Melancon observed.
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