Flying in the face of pundits who said nothing substantial would happen on accounting reform this year, both Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission pushed forward hard-hitting plans to overhaul regulation of the profession this week.

In Congress, the Senate is moving closer to passing a strict measure that would force accountants to be overseen by an independent board, and would also severely curtail consulting work for audit clients.

Then on Thursday, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt made it clear that self-regulation of the profession is over -- it's just a matter of working out the details.

One thing is all but certain -- a board made up primarily of non-accountants will soon be charged with overseeing and disciplining every CPA and accounting firm that handles public audits.

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