What's wrong with me? I passed up an all-expense company-paid trip to Maui, Hawaii. Why didn not I cover the AICPA Fall Council in person? Quite simply, I didn't think our readers would get much out of me attending.

I have to agree with the comments of my esteemed colleague Tracey Segarra, editor of Electronic Accountant, in her "A New Beginning?" column that the inaugural address at the Council Meeting by new AICPA chairman William Ezzell's was impressive. I particularly liked his reference to "We, as a profession" and his statement "We must make sure CPAs everywhere--including those yet to enter our profession--truly understand and live by the core values that make us great."

The only other interesting thing that happened in Hawaii was an update on CPA2Biz. As reported on Electronic Accountant, CPA2Biz losses are greater than expected for fiscal year 2002. Its president Navin Chaddha indicated that as of June 30, the portal had about $11 million cash on hand, and that while results for the quarter weren't final, the portal's cash balance at the end of September was probably between $8 million and $9 million. He said CPA2Biz plans to raise $10 million over the next six to nine months from outside investors and is aiming to achieve profitability in the next 18 to 24 months. But, what really caught my fancy was his statement that the portal reduced its burn rate to about $500,000 per month, down from $1 million per month last year.

I find it remarkable that the incoming AICPA chair could say all the right things and ask that CPAs show a unified front, and at the same time, there is a matter-of-fact mention of a half a million a month burn rate for the AICPA created for-profit portal.

The AICPA leadership failed to recognize the impending problems with companies like Enron and WorldCom and therefore, didn't take proactive action to protect the reputation of accountants. Was it partially because the AICPA leadership was busy with its self-developed initiatives? I wonder how much attention CPA2 Biz and its burn rate will get in these all important months following the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley.

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