The American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy have proposed to create a “Retired-CPA” status to deal with the wave of Baby Boom retirees in the profession.
The boards of both the AICPA and NASBA approved for exposure changes to the Uniform Accountancy Act and the UAA Model Rules that would provide for the creation of such a status for aging CPAs.
In the proposal, the organizations noted that for several years, there has been a discussion of whether to add a Retired-CPA status to the UAA. There already is an Inactive-CPA status, indicating that a CPA has chosen not to maintain the required amount of continuing professional education and can no longer hold themselves out as a CPA while their CPE is not current. However, some state boards of accountancy have approached NASBA seeking advice on how to recognize inactive and retired CPAs.
With no uniform approach, many states have adopted a retired status in their own statutes and rules. But that has led to variations in state policies and inconsistencies in expectations and treatment of this class of CPAs.
“Coupled with these national differences in policy, demographic changes—in particular the wave of Baby Boomers retiring or preparing to retire—are further driving the debate about the need for a Retired-CPA status,” said the proposal. “Indeed, the AICPA estimates that approximately 75 percent of its members will be eligible to retire by 2020. Many of these retirees are well-respected business leaders in their communities who would like to find ways to continue to be of service, without necessarily remaining an active CPA in practice.”
The UAA Committee has debated and reviewed the matter and is recommending the creation of a uniform Retired-CPA status. It would like to allow Retired-CPAs to offer a limited set of voluntary, uncompensated services to the public.
The UAA Committee is recommending that Inactive CPAs, of at least age 55, be allowed to refer to themselves as Retired-CPAs and register as such with their state board of accountancy. They would be able to offer volunteer tax preparation services if they are competent, and participate in government-sponsored business mentoring programs, also if competent. They could also serve on the board of a nonprofit organization if they are competent.
All of these activities would be uncompensated. They are also activities that can currently be offered by non-CPAs. Some examples of such volunteer programs include the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and the Small Business Administration’s SCORE business mentoring program. Under no circumstances, however, could a Retired-CPA provide services that require a signature and use of the CPA title.
Retired-CPAs would be required to affirm to their state board of accountancy that they understand the scope of limitations on what services they can offer, agree not to use their retired status in any way that might be misleading, and maintain professional competency, without a specific CPE requirement, when offering any of the permitted volunteer services.
The AICPA and NASBA are asking for comments on the proposal to be submitted by Feb. 2, 2016.
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