Bill Would Require Comptroller General to be a CPA

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The American Institute of CPAs said it strongly supports recently introduced legislation requiring the comptroller general, who leads the Government Accountability Office, to be a CPA.

The bill, H.R. 4410, was introduced Dec. 19 in the House by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Mike Conaway, R-Texas. Conaway is a CPA.

The bill would require that the comptroller general be a licensed CPA, and that he or she meet several minimum qualifications, such as significant management experience, including experience in government service; significant government accounting and auditing experience; a post-graduate degree; and professional accreditation issued by a professional association.

“The comptroller general should always be a professionally qualified person who will lead the GAO effectively as an advocate for taxpayers and a steward of federal resources,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement.

The comptroller general position has been vacant since March 2008 when former comptroller general David Walker, who was a CPA, resigned to become president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The previous comptroller general, Charles Bowsher, also was a CPA. Bowsher was appointed in 1981 and served a full term of 15 years. The current acting comptroller general, Gene Dodaro, is not a CPA, but he holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa.

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