“I Feel All Too Relevant Again”

That’s what AICPA Chair Randy Fletchall, CPA said in introducing the Fall session of AICPA’s governing Council on October 19. Discussing the current state of the economy, Fletchall emphasized the role of the CPA profession in addressing recent events.

Responding to charges that fair value accounting may have played a role in the economic downturn, Fletchall said that fair values capture economic realities, and any standard that works to obscure reality isn’t transparent or beneficial to capital markets. While the AICPA supports a timely review of FAS 157 by the SEC and the profession’s participation in that review, they don’t believe that fair value should be suspended .

Instead, Fletchall’s view is that heightened interest in accounting for financial institutions points all the more strongly to a need for one consistent, global set of accounting standards.

Fletchall thanked the members of the profession for all they do to protect public trust and confidence.

Accepting the AICPA’s Gold Medal Awards for Distinguished Service, Robert Bunting, CPA, former Chair of the AICPA, and David Walker, CPA, former Comptroller of the United States and head of the GAO, echoed the theme of the profession’s commitment to core ethical values.

Walker noted that a reputation that took 90 years to build can fall quickly if CPAs lose sight of their core values. Walker urged that what policy makers do and fail to do in the next 5 years will have a profound impact on the country, and challenged CPAs to take up the priorities of fiscal responsibility and government accountability.

The economic crisis makes a business case for the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy and Feed the Pig campaigns. “I’m convinced the profession is part of the solution,” said Carl George, CPA, chair of AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

George noted that savings deficits and financial leverage are “the critical issues of our time,” and presented results of research that indicates that the “Feed the Pig” message is very sticky. Based upon “financial wishful thinking,” the ads emphasize personal responsibility, through taking simple, achievable actions.

The new campaign will launch November 20, 2008.

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