Recently, the California Board for Public Accountancy instituted what has already become a controversial new regulation.Dubbed "Practice Privilege," the regulation requires out-of-state CPAs to pay California a small fee before using the CPA designation in the state, regardless of whether the CPA is preparing a California tax return or simply working for a client in California.

The fee has caused considerable debate, but in my mind, all the hubbub is missing the point. The validity or fairness of the fee masks a deeper issue - an issue the profession needs to seriously consider and resolve.

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