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Chair's corner.

We continue to work on many important programs and initiatives: fraud prevention and detection, new business reporting models, student recruitment, etc. At the same time, we are working closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission as it continues the difficult task of issuing regulations to implement Sarbanes-Oxley. In addition, at the request of the newly appointed Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, we have begun to provide information that we believe will be helpful as it transitions into its new responsibilities.

The AICPA strongly supports the goals of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and believes it is a major step forward on the path to reform. The real work to restore our profession's reputation as a steadfast guardian of the public trust, however, will be done by each and every one of us during the course of fulfilling our daily responsibilities. The members of the AICPA--both corporate accountants and outside auditors--will be the ones who ultimately determine whether the reforms contained in the new law succeed or fail in restoring the public's confidence in financial reporting.

As the PCAOB begins its important work, one of the decisions it will have to make is whether it will set audit standards itself or participate with other standard-setting processes in the private sector. We firmly believe that standards should be set by calling on the experience and expertise of the men and women who are practicing auditors, active in the field, and who recognize that the accounting profession operates in an increasingly global environment. Audit standards historically have been set in the "sunshine" with ample opportunity for all interested parties to actively participate, and that should continue. In addition, we must encourage more active participation by users of audit reports in this process.

In these times of rapid change, the AICPA is playing an important role as an advocate and a liaison for the members. We are taking your concerns to the regulators on a vast array of issues. At the state level, we are working in support of your state CPA society to continue efforts to bring greater consistency to state-based regulations. We will continue to monitor implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley for provisions that would be beneficial and appropriate to emulate in the private-company audit arena. However, we will also work with the state societies to register appropriate concerns where proposed extensions of Sarbanes-Oxley provisions to private-company audits would not be in the best interest of users of private-company financial information. We have formed a special committee to assist the states on this issue which we have referred to as the "cascade effect" (see page 8).

All of the reforms and changes that are under way require cooperation and communication with diverse organizations with varying areas of expertise and responsibility. We continue to have frequent and fruitful dialogue with the SEC and the PCAOB.

I believe we will achieve restoration of our shared sense of purpose, our reputation and our commitment to core values. We will be universally recognized as consummate professionals, serving the public good, who can be counted on to do what is right. We will reclaim with pride the title of CPA, a title which unquestionably stands for integrity and honor.
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Title Annotation:American Institute of Certified Public Accountants contributions
Author:Ezzell, William F.
Publication:CPA Letter
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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