New York Governor David Paterson has signed a bill expanding the regulation of CPAs throughout the state.

The legislation allows the state to regulate a larger scope of services provided by CPAs, including management advisory, financial advisory and tax preparation services. The legislation also expands the scope of regulated CPAs beyond public practices and encompasses CPAs in industry, government and academia.

The law also requires all New York state CPA firms that perform attest or compilation services to register. Those firms that provide attest services will have to undergo quality review every three years. However, the law exempts sole proprietors and firms with two or fewer accounting professionals, unless they perform state or municipal governmental audits.

In addition, the law enables out-of-state CPAs to practice attest and compilation services in New York through a temporary practice permit if the CPA’s home state has licensure requirements significantly comparable to New York’s, and the CPA is in good standing in the state of licensure.

The laws regulating accountants in the state have not been substantially changed since 1947. The New York State Senate and Assembly have been considering the legislation for a decade, and it received additional impetus from the financial crisis and reports of accounting fraud at various companies.

Assembly member Deborah Glick said that after seeing other bills die after being accepted by both legislative bodies, she made sure to stay on top of the long-awaited accountancy reform legislation. “Now with the hard work behind us, I am elated and relieved,” she said.

The New York State Society of CPAs worked with her and other legislators on the bill, which was sponsored by State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. “We are thrilled that the governor has signed this legislation to protect the public,” said NYSSCPA President Sharon Sabba Fierstein in a statement. “The law has not been changed in 60 years and the world we live in has changed dramatically during that time.”

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