I have noticed a number of changes over the years at the AICPA. Overall, I have been impressed.

The Institute is paying much more attention to the bread and butter issues of accountants and the financial concerns of the general public. In the past, the leadership and staff seemed to spend a great deal of time launching a number of initiatives that, at best, were slightly ahead of their time, or once unveiled, didn't receive the necessary interest and support. That has changed.

What has also been good is that the AICPA appointed a respected individual, James Metzler, to represent small firms' interest. In addition, the Institute is successfully working with a number of organizations and groups. A recent example is in its development of standards and other efforts regarding valuation engagements. The exploration of the advisability of "Big GAAP" for public companies and "Little GAAP" for closely held companies is further proof that the AICPA has the right focus.   

The fact that some aspects of the AICPA haven't changed isn't bad. In fact, it is very good. For instance, the efforts of the volunteer CPAs continue to amaze me. Notwithstanding their busy workloads, they still contribute significant time and effort in virtually all of the massive operations of the multi-faceted AICPA.

Then there is the fact that president and CEO Barry Melancon has always shown an incredible understanding of the issues facing CPAs and he is extremely adept at citing relevant information and speaking knowledgeably on every topic and question affecting the profession.

With regard to press matters, I deal with a number of individuals within the Institute, especially when a press release comes out. All the press and staff contacts at the AICPA are extremely cooperative. I however do note that the AICPA likes information to come out in the form and manner they decide. I often see this in their newsletters and other publications, and the similar statements made by those quoted in a press release or in AICPA presentations.  It almost as if talking points are distributed to those parties and they make sure they don't depart from the written script.

In a similar vein, the AICPA appears to be highly structured in how it deals with its members and operates its meeting, committees, and task forces. There seems to be a desire for control.

In these areas, I am hopeful there will be a change. If that occurs, I believe many AICPA members would be able to receive valuable information they are not currently getting. In fact, the debate of critical issues facing the profession, which there seems to be more and more of, will be greatly improved.

So, the AICPA overall is doing a very good job, but as with all of us, there are still some areas in which to improve.

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