Metrics show that the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing (ARPL) is making a difference, reported Skip Braziel, AICPA Vice President of State Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, during a webinar for the State Board executive directors held on March 31. NASBA is a member of ARPL, along with eight other organizations that in total represent over 700,000 licensed professionals. ARPL’s advertising campaign has reached millions of people and there are more than 23,000 users of its website. The Alliance is developing content, including talking points, letters to the editor, testimonials, videos and targeted geographical messages, to drive its message that professional licensing is different from other types of licensing.

Thirty-seven State Boards of Accountancy have been in existence for more than a century, John Johnson, NASBA Director of Legislative and Government Affairs, told the webinar’s audience.  He explained that anti-regulation groups have been half-telling stories: “What they view as barriers, we view as standards.  The standards provide a level playing field and should not be viewed as barriers: It would be dangerous to do so,” he remarked. 

In 2019 ARPL conducted a survey asking people what they thought about professional licensing.  While 75 percent of the respondents felt insuring qualifications for certain professionals is important, when asked how they felt about changing professional licensure, 43 percent replied they did not know.  Mr. Braziel said the key takeaway from the poll was that although the respondents appreciated professional licensing, most did not understand how the boards or licensing works and are open to persuasion.  “We need to connect our stories to people’s everyday lives,” he advised.  There is a need to: (1) continue to remind the public of unintended consequences, (2) to back up the message with data, and (3) when talking to legislators to have research-based arguments. 

Mr. Braziel recommended the Boards check ARPL’s material on   Mr. Johnson reminded all that current state-by-state information on anti-regulation and other legislation can be found on NASBA’s website support/legislativetracking. 

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