Audience members at the December meeting of the Accountancy Board of Ohio got to hear first-hand the priorities of guests Tom Sadler, Chairman of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA,) and David Costello, NASBA’s Executive Director.
Topping Sadler’s list is peer review – obtaining peer review as a statutory requirement in states that don’t have it, and achieving state board oversight in states that do (Ohio already has statutory peer review and state board oversight). NASBA also aims to look “under the curtain” for reviews administered at the national level, which have no state board oversight, including achieving an oversight process for desk reviews conducted at AICPA to “ensure independence and that peer review is truly a public interest process.” Sadler noted that he was pleased with AICPA and state society cooperation toward this objective.
This priority was followed by the “Four E’s”:
- Exam – Renegotiating the contract for the computerized CPA exam, and addressing international candidacy for the CPA exam
- Education – Protecting the 150-hour requirement to sit for the exam
- Ethics – Is there opportunity for convergence in state ethics requirements and the AICPA code of professional conduct?
- Enforcement – As governmental agencies increasingly refer cases to the AICPA, how can these be transitioned to state board enforcement?
Sadler commended Ohio’s reputation for enforcement, but noted that nationwide, “we will not be disrespected.”
Costello spoke to state boards’ response to the prospect of international standard-setting, noting that NASBA had concerns at this time about committing state boards to everything promulgated by international standard-setters. A committee had been formed to address implications of global strategies, including international standard-setting, international candidacy for the CPA exam, and convergence of ethics requirements.
A controversial issue within the profession has been movement by some states to allow candidates to sit for the exam with 120 hours of education, but still requiring 150 hours for state licensure. NASBA research finds no detriment in passing rates for sitting at 120 hours, but the topic will be discussed in 2009 regional meetings.
Contrary to NASBA’s views, proponents of retaining the 150-hour requirement to sit for the exam criticize the 120/150 model for chipping away at the intent of the original 150-hour legislation, and communicating the wrong message to the public about the level of education and preparation required to become a CPA. Some critics also question the validity of the NASBA research.
Costello again commended Ohio as a leader in adopting model accountancy law, particularly in the area of mobility for CPAs practicing in multiple states.