Sherman Oaks, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2003) -- The grassroots activist group, CPAs Reforming Our Profession, sent a white paper to American Institute of CPAs’ council members this week, outlining four key concerns they hope will be addressed at the fall meeting later this month.

The e-mail was sent to all council members and signed by all six CROP executive committee members. It urged council to pay close attention to issues related to the AICPA specialization credential programs, the basic framework of governance of the AICPA, a member survey conducted by the AICPA during the fall of 2002, and the current dilemma of standards for CPAs who provide accounting services to non-public companies.

“Although the issues are complex, we recognize the demands upon your time,” the letter stated. “Relative to the issues affecting our profession and covered in this Paper, CROP’s intention is to assist you in ensuring an open and full discussion of important issues, not to sell a particular perspective.”

That said, CROP did offer some opinions about the above issues and how they should be addressed. 

One of the hot-button issues facing this month’s council meeting, and first on CROP’s list of concerns, was the specialization credential programs. Council will decide whether to keep, alter, or jettison all three specialty credentials at the meeting later this month. The group said that any resolution needs to be “evolutionary rather than revolutionary,” and “incorporate continued, direct involvement from the stakeholders and the general membership in a relevant manner.”

The group also wants the AICPA to release the findings – pro and con -- of a member survey it conducted last year regarding attitudes toward the organization and its operations.

The standards issue also drew some relatively strong comments from CROP, which stated the AICPA must determine “how it can and should respond to members’ needs for professional guidance in accounting for the traditional small business and the attest services these businesses along with their owners, managers, and credit grantors require.”

CROP also noted that council should consider the legal consequences of a dual “standards” environment between “big audit” and “small audit” procedures.

Several CROP members will be in attendance at fall council.

The AICPA confirmed that council members had received the letter, but declined to comment.

-- Seth Fineberg

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