The American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy have reached compromises that could potentially affect both the peer review process and issue of substantial equivalency/mobility.With regard to the 18-year-old peer review process, the institute -- working with state boards and NASBA -- unveiled a new model for transparency, which contains an “opt out” provision by firms for voluntary state board disclosure of peer review results.

In his report during the Fall Meeting of Council in Las Vegas, AICPA president and chief executive Barry Melancon told attendees that the peer review program will soon launch a pilot program with the new guidelines in a handful of states where peer review is a requirement.

Toward that end, Melancon said the institute named Jim Brackens to the post of vice president of peer review.
In regards to mobility, which would allow CPAs to gain reciprocity in other states, the AICPA and NASBA have agreed to remove the prohibition and notification requirement of Section 23 of the 1997 Uniform Accountancy Act, the start of the road to easing substantial equivalency restrictions. Firms that take advantage of mobility would still be subject to enforcement from the state board that it operates within.

NASBA is scheduled to vote on the measure at its annual meeting Oct. 27. If passed, it would be subject to a 90-day comment period.

“But the state legislative process can be difficult,” Melancon told attendees.

In related news:

  • The AICPA appointed Sheri Bango from the AICPA’s Washington office as vice president of practice mobility, a newly-created position.
  • On the ongoing relocation of roughly 400 operations and publishing posts to Durham, N.C., about half had been filled at the time of Fall Council, with the AICPA’s headquarters in Durham officially opening in August.
  • In an update on CPA2Biz, the institute’s sales and marketing portal, chief executive Erik Asgeirsson, said that on the heels of the online venture posting a fiscal 2006 profit of $1.5 million, the site was recently named as one of the top 500 online retail sites in the country. He added that 18,500 CPA firms are enrolled in the site’s business solutions program and the team is developing a workshop training tool titled, “Delivering on your most trusted advisor status.”
    The portal is also readying the spring launch of its next-generation Web site, and the portal has partnered with four companies in areas such as e-commerce, Web traffic, analytics and design.
  • Meanwhile, in a report from Washington, senior vice president-public affairs, James O’Malley, told attendees that in November’s elections, Democrats could wrest control of the House with a gain of 15 seats, while Senate control for the Democrats would require just six seats. At stake would be a change in chairs of two committees vital to the institute’s Washington agenda -- the Ways and Means Committee and the Financial Services Committee.
  • Tom Ochsenschlager, the institute’s vice president, taxation, said that the AICPA’s tax section this year compiled some 32 position papers and testified before Congress on six occasions.

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