The concept of a technology pathway for acquiring the CPA was discussed at the 36th Annual Conference for Executive Directors and State Board Staff and the concurrent 23rd Annual Conference for Board of Accountancy Legal Counsel held March 13-15 in Destin, FL. NASBA Chair Theodore W. Long, Jr., and President Ken L. Bishop told the 167 attendees that enough positive response had come from the Boards to encourage a joint NASBA/AICPA task force to continue considering what such a new pathway might entail. Attendees at the conferences were urged to share their ideas about the concept with NASBA leadership, as will those attending the June NASBA Regional Meetings (see President’s Memo).

“Two things are certain,” NASBA Vice President – State Board Relations Daniel Dustin reported, “the pathway will be equally rigorous to what is required for the current CPA pathway, and the credential will be equivalent for those who would come through either pathway. A CPA will continue to be equal to a CPA.”

Mr. Long and Mr. Bishop reported on NASBA’s recent activities to the attendees, covering the negotiations with international professional groups to develop mutual recognition agreements, the completion of the new Guam testing center, and the successful launch of the new Gateway system early in March. All but three states had a smooth transition to the new system and states that experienced a temporary delay in their score releases had their problems corrected within a few days. Chair Long and President Bishop thanked the Boards’ executive directors and staff for the important part they continue to play in achieving NASBA’s goals.

Matthew P. Bosher, chair of the Virginia Board of Accountancy, gave his views on “Board Leadership from a Public Member’s and Chair’s Perspective.” He described the need for Boards to recognize their role resembles a seesaw – balancing the need for the Board’s independence to protect the public interest with the need to work with the profession to create meaningful regulation in a changing business environment. His message was particularly valuable as the first two days of the executive directors’ conference were also attended by chief executive officers from 26 state CPA societies. This was the third year that the state societies were asked to attend.

All heard a report on legislative trends from NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs John Johnson and on recent legal cases from NASBA outside legal counsel Noel L. Allen. Mr. Johnson noted that active supervision legislation, stemming from the Supreme Court’s decision in the North Carolina Dental Board case, was introduced in state legislatures in 2016 and 2017 and continues to be introduced in 2018, having passed in seven states. Mr. Allen told attendees that the increasing use of blockchain raises public protection questions about liability, ownership and regulatory compliance. Although what the first State Board blockchain case will look like is uncertain, he encouraged the Boards to consider the outcomes of two recent cases involving blockchain: United States v. Ross William Ulbricht (2017) and re Dole Food Company, Inc. (2017).

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