Can the AICPA adequately represent the interests of CPA IT consultants? Or should consultants turn to another body, such as the Information Technology Alliance, as offering a better chance of addressing their concerns?

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It is my opinion that IT consultants are better served by an organization that is made of and by IT consultants and that has a firm and concrete understanding of what IT consultants are and how they should work. Furthermore, not all credible IT consultants are CPAs, so how can a closed organization such as the AICPA speak for and represent those non-CPA IT consultants? The ITA is the perfect solution. It is an organization that has grown out of the needs of individuals, and is nurtured by like-minded IT consultants (both CPAs and non-CPAs) working for a common goal.

Bruce MacBain
Software First
Lenexa, Kan.

The AICPA has lost touch with the core needs of their members in attempting to branch out into new money- making areas. The state societies and state boards encouraged the move away from an emphasis on the attest function. In addition, the ITA is too broad a brush to meet the needs of many CPAs in the technology area. Most CPAs want to focus on their internal operational needs or on providing good accounting software to their clients that they can also work with. There are obviously some firms that are into providing total technology support to their clients but I think they'll be rethinking that approach with the new emphasis on independence.

Partner Insights

Stephen Morin, CPA, CDP
Software Generation
Bedford, Texas

Today's reality is that accounting and auditing is information technology. So the question really is when and how will the profession and the AICPA integrate IT into its core purpose and existence. For the record, the AICPA and its leadership have taken many steps toward IT, but the majority of grassroots practitioners have not embraced IT. To this day, I hear about practitioners without email and Internet access. In fact I still see some practitioners without their own computers. Thankfully I have not heard of a practitioner without a fax machine, but it wasn't too long ago I heard another CPA boasting he didn't have and didn't use a fax machine. I am hopeful we will see the AICPA successfully lead practitioners, some kicking and screaming, into the IT arena.

Conrad Giedt
C.D. Giedt, CPA
Newport Beach, Calif.

The AICPA needs to step aside and let IT consultants choose their own body (ITA being one logical alternative). Maybe this ÒsplitÓ in governing bodies could be part of the overall plan to split the delivery of services that CPAs offer. The two bodies (AICPA and the future IT org) could still collaborate in many ways, but they should be independent in most respects related to policy making for their constituents.

Keith A. Washburn
Grant Thornton
Kansas City, Mo.

You can't be an IT consultant and a CPA. If you are an IT division at a CPA and you need "political" guidance, then you'd better call BKD or another of the few organizations that have managed to understand that IT requires complete dedication (i.e. separation) to systems integration. The AICPA as a body won't, I believe, provide good guidance. If the CPA firm's concern is whether or not to involve itsslf in the IT field, or its IT division needs peer feedback, then the ITA would be a better place to go. The collective body of experience and information present in the ITA certainly outstrips what's available from the AICPA.

Dan McGuckin
DSD Business Systems
San Diego

The Information Technology Alliance serves a great purpose, but I find that the focus with the ITA is primarily oriented toward consultants who work with and most often resell products. The AICPA provides knowledge to CPA IT consultants to help incorporate the traditional standards of the profession into the consulting practices and provides access to facilitate the closer identification of the needs of the accounting profession for IT services. What the AICPA lacks, and always has, is a clear focus of how to communicate the expertise to the general business community. The CITP is a start. But there needs to be strong marketing support behind this credential.

Mary MacBain
Matrix Integrated
Naples, Florida

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