The New York State Senate and Assembly have unanimously passed a groundbreaking bill that would amend the laws governing CPAs and provide greater public protections for their clients.

The legislation, A.11696-A/S.7497-B, was sponsored by Assembly member Deborah Glick and Senators Kenneth LaValle and Toby Ann Stavisky. The bill was passed by the Senate on Monday night and returned to the Assembly to be submitted to Governor David Paterson for signature into law.

Once signed into law, the legislation will expand the scope of the CPA profession to include tighter regulation of management advisory, financial advisory and tax preparation services, including CPAs in industry, government and academia.

The bill will also require all New York State CPA firms to register and those that provide attest services will have to undergo peer review every three years (exempting sole proprietors and firms with two or fewer accounting professionals, except if they perform state or municipal governmental audits).

In addition, the legislation will enable 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 comparable to New York's.

The legislation to update the state's accounting laws, which have not been substantially changed since 1947, has been considered by the Senate and Assembly for 10 years. The bill also had strong support from Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly member Ron Canastrari.

"We are thrilled that the Senate and Assembly have addressed this issue to protect the public," said NYSSCPA president Sharon Sabba Fierstein (pictured) in a statement. "The law has not been changed in 60 years and the world we live in has changed dramatically during that time. The law will bring CPA practice and protection of the public in step with the reality of today's international-oriented and technology-driven world."


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